Monday, April 09, 2018

Kindness and collective creativity with Queen Jesus in Dumfries

We took Queen Jesus to Dumfries yesterday.

Dumfries is a handsome town, with a rather sad town centre full of empty properties.

Somehow it was no surprise to find our venue, The Stove, was at the heart of a community initiative for urban renewal. As well as being a crucial centre for the LGBTI community

That made it very good to be performing there. Our performance was part of an incredibly important collective effort to create a community.

And i could feel it as I sat on the first floor landing of the venue in my costume, ready for the call to begin. There was a great buzz of engaged conversation and a beautiful vibe floating up the stairs.

It was especially good to hear it, because we'd only had about 4 hours in the venue to prepare.

Queen Jesus turns up at her venues with some bread, some tea lights, and very little else.And we tailor the shape of the performance to the shape of the space.

The Stove is basically a shop that's used as cafe. We decided to put all the tables into a long line and have the audience sit at them, as if at the Last Supper. There was just about enough space at each side for me to move around, perform at either end and sometimes in the gap in the middle that we needed for the fire exit.

I operated one set of light switches, our director St Susan of the Light Switches the other. The windows were more or less covered with blinds. We had time for one stagger through, working out where I would be more or less in this performance layout we had never tried before... and we were off.

It all looked lovely. The tea lights, the candles, the daffodils in glass jars, the beautiful attentive face of the capacity audience... I felt safe and happy and I think everyone felt the same.

And we were looked after so beautifully by Leo Juniper Barrett, of Lavender Menace, Dumfries who had invited us.

It was one of those days when hospitality and kindness and human warmth and collective creativity all come together and create something especially beautiful

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