Sprint & Vault preview: Stag King

A new show from Liberty Martin comes to the Sprint Festival at Camden People’s Theatre on 10 Mar, and at Vault Festival on 17-18 Mar.

We asked for more information in advance of this performance lecture/drag show, Stag King.

Where: Camden People’s Theatre / Studio at The Vaults

When: 10 Mar at 7.15pm / 17 Mar at 10.40pm / 18 Mar at 10.10pm

Ticket links: https://cptheatre.co.uk/whatson/Stag-King-2023 / https://vaultfestival.com/events/stag-king/

Promotional photo for Stag King

What made you become part of the Sprint Festival?

I’m a big lover of Camden People’s Theatre and I got in touch with them after I worked on the idea for Stag King at Haley McGee’s Solo Show Creation Lab and at an amazing online Drag King workshop with Shut Up and King in Glasgow.

CPT supported the development of the idea along with the Rosemary Branch Theatre, so I did Work In Progress performances of Stag King at both venues last year.

It felt like a natural step to apply for Sprint Festival, and I love seeing the other Environmental Feminist and Drag King shows in the festival like He/He/He and Man is Di Feast.

Stag King is ‘half man, half stag, and halfcut’. Sounds intriguing! What should audiences expect?

The Stag King is a disembodied vibrational being who manifests through my body using the medium of drag. He parties a lot and he struggles with hangovers and so he’s not that reliable, but he can usually make the shows I book for us.

Usually. You can expect him to show up for his drag performances, and for me to do some context about his history and my love life in between using my Overhead Projector.

His drag performances mostly draw on his experience as an internationally renowned deity and more recently as a Stag Night entertainer and Drag King. So you can expect antlers, leather, sequins, and Disco.

The show takes a stab at the rise of automation relating to the world of work – tell me more!

The Stag King is the Ancient Celtic god of the hunt, so he was made redundant by the Agricultural Revolution about ten thousand years ago.

More recently he’s seen how deindustrialisation has affected this country over the past century, and he identifies with that.

The problem, as he sees it, is that we never prepare for these changes, even though they’ve happened before and we can see them coming. We never plan ahead.

It looks like jobs for humans are going to decrease again due to ever increasing automation and AI, and the economic, social and personal implications of that are going to be huge.

The Stag King can’t solve any of that, but the heart of the show is about finding a solid sense of self outside of a ‘traditional’ job (or gender) role.

The drag king industry has become more visible in recent years, although not as much as the huge drag queen industry driven by the media and TV. What do you think its future might be?

I think it’s incredibly exciting. Drag Kings have a fascinating history and have always been around, but we do see an imbalance in representation.

It’s great that there are so many more Kings now than there were just a few years ago, and the scene is incredibly rich, diverse and intelligent.

I don’t think mainstream representation is a bad thing and I’m sure there will be more of that, but I think what’s most exciting is the fact that more and more people who feel drawn to this form are able to express themselves using drag, and find an artistic home in the culture.

What’s next for Liberty Martin after Sprint?

I’ll be hoping the Stag King gets himself along to Vault Festival on Friday, 17th, and Saturday, 18th March. If he shows up in a fit state, we’ll both be performing at the Studio for some late shows.

After that, I’m talking to some exciting venues and festivals on his behalf because he doesn’t do admin, and I’ll be shouting about them once they’re announced via martin.liberty and stagkingdragking on Instagram.