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The House of Deviant is a trailblazing learning disabled drag troupe in Wales, dedicated to nurturing self-esteem and self-efficacy among adults with learning disabilities in South Wales.

Through dynamic drag performances, this collaborative project serves as a platform for exploration and self-discovery, empowering individuals who often grapple with challenges like social isolation and limited representation.

Since its inception in Autumn 2020, The House of Deviant has captivated audiences at prestigious venues such as:

Pride Cymru

Riverfront Theatre

Wales Millennium Centre

Electric Umbrella TV

Hijinx's Unity Festival with Drag Syndrome

Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru

As well as Television appearances on ITV News, BBC News, and in the upcoming TV Drama series Lost Boys and Fairies.

Guided by the expertise of seasoned drag artist Ernie Sparkles, the Queens of The House of Deviant have embraced newfound confidence, viewing themselves more positively and asserting their voices.

 

This groundbreaking initiative is led by Fflamingo CIC, inviting you to explore more about their work at www.fflamingocic.com.

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HISTORY

The House of Deviant started in 2020 as a small scale pilot project forming part of professional drag performer Ernie Sparkles' (Gareth Pahl) Masters degree in Drama.

We were interested in how inclusive arts practice (and in particular drag performance) can be used as a tool for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism to use for self discovery and improve the way we see ourselves.

The project ran online with 6 participants for a month with a 2 hour weekly workshop focussing on different aspects of drag performance. Participants were also encouraged to complete weekly challenges.

We discovered that after the 4 weeks the participants reported that they felt more confident and could notice changes in themselves. We found out that drag performance helped them to:

- see themselves differently and more positively

- get their voices heard and be more assertive

- find answers to real life situations

After the project ended participants made it clear that they wanted to continue with the project. After lockdown restrictions were eased we began meeting at Chapter Arts Centre to explore what the project could become. Despite it coming out of Gareth's Masters it was always important that the participants had control over how the project should work moving forward. We moved to a coproduction model and started working towards live performance work.

COPRODUCTION

Co-production is a strengths based approach that puts professionals and project users on an equal footing, sharing power, decision making and responsibility. 

It’s about doing things together. Not doing things FOR, but WITH. We share spaces. We grow together. It may sound simple, obvious even, but when people do things for people, it stops them developing the skills to do it themselves. True inclusion is about making sure people are given opportunities to be included, to grow and learn and develop. We are not just a drag troupe, we are a place where we grow together, we learn, we develop, we reach our potentials and we shout about it.

Our queens are equipped with the resources and skills to access the world of drag performance. They do their own makeup, tell their own jokes, design their own routines, create their own performances. Together we build these skills and provide the spaces to practice them.

The result - fierce, funny, independent queens with more sass than any episode of RPDR!

In terms of project management, every decision is made as a group together, and every voice and opinion is listened to and respected. This leads to some pretty unique and wonderful discussions! 

For more information on coproduction look at Coproduction Network for Wales.

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