Katherine Warman and Rhiannon Scutt have been bringing people together to celebrate queer culture as Andro and Eve since spring 2016. They started relatively small, screening things like 90s cult classic But I'm a Cheerleader and a documentary on butch identities between the wood panels of Cafe #9 in Nether Edge. From there, they moved on to cabaret nights, drag king workshops, poetry readings, and brunch socials. An immediate success, Andro and Eve's events were clearly just the kind of thing the city's LGBTQ+ community and their friends were hungry for – friendly, positive, and above all lots of fun.
Ahead of their second birthday event in May, Katherine and Rhiannon spoke to us about what inspired them to start showcasing diverse and exciting queer sights and sounds in Sheffield.
How would you describe your work?
The aim of Andro and Eve is to create feel-good events to celebrate queer culture and bring the community together in Sheffield. We programme excellent film, performance and music that explores queer stories, often focusing on voices that are otherwise marginalised, reflecting and celebrating the diversity that exists within the LGBTQIA community. Each of our events is unique – we pop up in a range of venues across the city, often transforming them with our handmade decorations so when the audience arrives they know they're part of something a little bit special. To date we've produced several themed film screenings, a film and poetry event to celebrate queer women of colour, Sheffield's first drag king cabaret (The Kingdom Come), and a party strand with queer cabaret to platform emerging talent (A Reyt Queer Do).
What inspires you?
We've been inspired by queer arts festivals such Scotts Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF) in Glasgow and Queer Contact in Manchester, as well as trips to cities such as Berlin where you can be so immersed in queer culture. We're inspired by the work of artists like Bishi, Travis Alabanza, Kate Bornstein, DYLEMA (who performed at our Women and the Word event), Ani DiFranco, Perfume Genius, and the drag kings we work with such as Zayn Phallic, Benjamin Butch and Oedipussi, who use drag in such a creative and exciting way. In short, we want to see better representation of queer lives in arts and culture, and are passionate about making space for these artists to be seen and heard.
What are you currently working on?
We're in the planning stages for our next event in May – it'll be our second birthday so we're hosting a second A Reyt Queer Do with new drag kings performing alongside more established acts. We work pretty far in advance, but we've still got plenty of decorations to make and marketing to do!
What’s your workspace like?
We've worked out of a huge range of venues in Sheffield, from Cafe 9 to Theatre Deli, The Old Workshop at Kelham Island, and of course our base for The Kingdom Come, Walkley Community Centre – they have been very supportive of our aims and it's a really charming place to turn into a cabaret venue.
What do you love about Sheffield?
We love the way people are willing to help you out in this city – we often collaborate with independent businesses in Sheffield and there's a sense of shared community here that is perhaps lacking in bigger cities. It's a cliche, but we also love being so close to the Peak District. Sometimes you just gotta get out in nature to switch off and recharge. We also love Sheffield for its coffee shops, we spend lots of time time tracking down the best vegan cake and coffee combos!
What would you do to improve the city?
We'd like to see more independent businesses in the city centre, as well as a bigger range of clothes shops. It's a shame that much of the retail in Sheffield is concentrated over at Meadowhall. We'd love to see more culture in the city centre too – as LGBT+ identified individuals, you feel more at home in cities like Manchester that have a more diverse offering in the city centre.
- Words by
- Kathryn Hall