This Sunday, local event organiser Heart Open welcomes five Drag Kings to Adamstown Uniting Church for a Drag King Workshop at 3pm, followed by a Drag King Show at 7.
The night features Sydney Drag Kings Big Rod, Chad Love and Papi Chulo and Newcastle-based Drag Kings Cockington Black and Orlando Gloom.
Laura Hart (Big Rod) is a Producer, Drag King, Comedian and Improv Teacher.
"I'm really excited to be doing so much in the drag king community at the moment," she says.
Hart's been involved in drama and theatre all her life. Comedy, live events and theatre, standup and sketch led her to the world of drag and the creation of Big Rod.
"He's such a great guy. Doing comedy, I was doing a lot of character work and I was booked to do this festival. I had to come up with a 10 minute routine to perform on a stage. That's how I came up with Big Rod. I just thought 'what would be the best, fun character to get a crowd excited?'" Hart says.
She started performing him at different open mic nights and variety shows, but notes that at the time (five years ago) there weren't a lot of opportunities for drag kings. That's what led to start The Kings, a monthly drag king show.
"Big Rod has evolved over the years. He's charismatic, but he learns things along the way. He changes. That's so beautiful. At first glance he can seem like a fuddy duddy or a drunk uncle at a Christmas party, but then you get to know him and you see that he is so open minded." Hart says. "I want to see people have that journey of changing their mind and being open to new things."
Hart explains Big Rod has seen a lot of drag performances and that has changed him.
"He really allows me to be more confident and to really own and claim space. Because I think Laura struggles with that," Hart says. "He's never afraid and that has been a blessing for me to walk in those shoes through this character."
Hart knows Drag Queens are more common than Drag Kings, though there have been drag king events in the past in Sydney with Heaps Gay and The Sly Fox.
"I think it is due to a lack of awareness. People don't know what drag kings are. I was told when I was starting my show that drag kings aren't commercially viable. 'People don't want to see them.' And I was like I was like 'I just don't think that's right. I think there's a real gap in the market'." Hart says.
Hart believes a Drag King revival is happening and her not-so-secret MO is to get as many kings on stages as possible. Once people see them, they love them.
"I don't know why they're so far behind where queens are. If you look at representation for drag, the biggest form is RuPaul's Drag Race which is a phenomenal show which has done so much for drag, but it doesn't ever feature Kings. If you look at big drag shows and depictions in film and television it is always queens," Hart says.
But Hart thinks Kings are popping up more and more, and anyone can learn to be one.
"The workshop will be a really gentle introduction to the world of drag. We'll look at some character work, some improv, some movement and also give you a little taste of the history of drag kings and some information about the culture and the different kings out there around the world," Hart says.
Hart stresses that while yes the show is created by the queer community and has a big queer following, every type of person is welcome. Her primary concern is entertainment.
"I want you to come along and have a good time and laugh and be taken away into this fantasy world. I think that's what's so beautiful about The Kings, it's just a great variety show," Hart says. "It really is a show that can be enjoyed for everyone."
To book tickets to the workshop and show, search online for Heart Open Drag King Show or Heart Open Drag King Workshop.