York’s ‘drag diva deluxe’ Velma Celli is about to take York Theatre Royal by storm.
Velma will be performing the re-titled show ‘Love is Love: A Brief History of Drag’ at York Theatre Royal on Saturday, 29 May at 8pm. The show will be part of the theatre’s ‘Love Season’.
The cabaret star is the creation of musical actor Ian Stroughair.
“I last performed at the Theatre Royal in ‘Kes’, when I was 14, exactly 24 years ago, and sadly I’ve never been back,” says Ian. “I’ve tried to do shows there but it’s never happened, so it’s great to be back now. I love what Tom [chief executive Tom Bird] is doing there.”
Ian has taken ‘A Brief History Of Drag’ to New York and Australia and on a British tour, as well as staging performances in London and York.
“I wrote it when I was stuck in Africa for a few weeks. I thought, ‘let’s write a show’ and it ended up being about how I got into drag and a celebration of the impact of drag in theatre, music, film and popular culture.
“I’ve been doing it for four years now on and off, and I’m so glad the Theatre Royal wants the show.”
Ian has appeared in such musicals as Cats, Fame, Chicago and Rent – as well as a sassy cameo for Velma Celli on BBC1’s EastEnders – but had to forego a long run in Funny Girls in Blackpool last year because of Covid.
Ian was last seen on a York stage in December as the villainous Fleshius Creepius in York Stage’s debut pantomime ‘Jack And The Beanstalk’ at Theatre @41, Monkgate.
Velma Celli’s regular York residency has moved to Impossible in York, Tokyo Industries’ new tea-room, cocktail bar, restaurant and speakeasy enterprise in St Helen’s Square. It was previously Carluccio’s restaurant.
Ian is also planning the first ‘Drag Brunch’ at Impossible, with Velma, surprise guest drag queens, bottomless cocktails and brunch.
Tickets for ‘Love Is Love: A Brief History of Drag’ can be purchased from the box office by calling 01904 623568 or through the York Theatre Royal website.