Education & Family

Students offered lessons on art of drag

Drag artist Mark Edward Image copyright Edge Hill University
Image caption Actors have been cross-dressing since Shakespearean times

Drama students are being offered lessons in the art of drag, at a university in north-west England.

Edge Hill University is offering the course to third-year students on performing arts or dance and drama degree courses.

The university said it was the first higher education institution to offer a module dedicated to drag.

Senior lecturer Mark Edward said there was a lot more to drag studies than "wigs, make-up and high heels".

Those taking the subject would examine the relationships between performance, gender, sexuality and identity, the Ormskirk-based institution said.

The course will also look at topics such as drag performance, lip-synching, costume, the use of humour and the theories and histories of areas such as gay and lesbian theatre, transgender identities, HIV and Aids and activism.

'Highly camp'

Mr Edward said: "Despite the fact that performers have been 'dragging up' since Shakespearean times, this module is completely unique in exploring the crossing of boundaries in terms of gender and performance.

"The 2010 Education Act meant that providers of education, including universities, must go beyond non-discrimination based on gender, and in fact, promote equality, and Edge Hill has a fantastic reputation in promoting minority groups in terms of sexual identities."

Mr Edward said the module would also look at complex theories of gender, feminist and sexual identity to explore the social and political implication of "doing gender" in performance.

"Drag as a performance art form has seen a relative decline in the past decade, yet there are new and exciting emerging forms coming through which makes this module all the more relevant to performance contexts," he added.

"There's a lot more to drag studies than wigs, make-up and high heels."

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