There’s a Queer Speakeasy Coming to Brighton Fringe – and you’ve been invited!

Feature by Ray A-J

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An exclusive club-esque night of queer talent and Gender-nonconforming celebration, Crystalz Tavern is transforming the night at Brighton Fringe.

Hidden away in the very depths of Kemptown, lies a place of freedom, a place of liberation, a place of fabulousity and sparkling glitter-clad wonder. And for one week only, you’ve been invited to see it for yourself.

A kaleidoscope of gender, queerocity, and cabaret. A smoky speakeasy that breaks systematic oppression. This is Crystalz Tavern. Bursting with an iridescent collage of queer talent, cabaret, live art, Drag, and guest DJs, the exclusive club-esque showcase is transforming the night at Brighton Fringe.

Crystalz Tavern celebrates all that deviates from the binary, centring on the voices of Queer/Trans/Intersex People of Colour for an extremely erudite night of performance and uprising.

Like a Pearlescent mermaid calling you away from the treacherous depths of today’s suffocating capitalist concerned climate, Crystalz Tavern will offer a safe space for all at The Marlborough. Raining in young designer Jack Poole of Poile Art, the venue will shapeshift into a cabaret party that doesn’t skimp on the talent. As soon as you step inside you’ll be wanting to “Resist man-made monsters like bro-flakes and binaries”, with the help of resident performers: Symoné, Ebony Rose Dark, XANA, Lasana Shabazz, and Astrothot.

Incandescent

Effervescent

Fizzing with beauty and solidarity

Unique to Fringe, the inclusive creation hosts week long residencies for its performers, letting them experience the full thrills of Brighton before they perform each night. A rare offer, this allows opportunity for the queer black and brown artists to thrive in a supportive and welcoming place of freedom.

Speaking of performers, why don’t you meet a few before popping down to the tavern -

Making her debut at The Marlborough Theatre, Symoné is a roller-skating hula-hooping extraordinaire that kicked, bucked and vogued the house down as an underground club dancer. And if that isn’t enough of a promise, Symoné will also be spinning tricks with feel good circus routines, in her new project Cult Mentality.

As an all singing, all dancing, lip syncing V.I.P (Visually Impaired cabaret artist) extravaganza, Ebony Rose Dark is set to sashay her to way to Crystalz Tavern. Challenging “the seeing eye” through her drag clad storytelling, the feisty Brummie explores disability within the LGBT+ community.

Through their upcoming show Swallowing your idols, synthesist, poet and musician Xana delves right into the heart of self-forgiveness, and aims to push past the trepidations of youth. The poignant series explores the coping mechanisms we develop in response to childhood trauma, and the accountability of such struggles, as we develop and live through rage and love.

Host of Batty Mama, and regular at the feisty Cocoa Butter Club, Lasana Shabazz is introducing loud, unapologetic, conversation to Crystal Tavernz. The multi-talented performance artist has performed across the UK and the globe, and is now bringing challenging topics to Brighton Fringe. Warning: will contain colourful conversation starting performances that will always leave you wanting more.

Socially conscious and autobiographical, Birmingham native Astrothot’s performances at Crystalz Tavern is rooted in their life as a neurodivergent working class, and queer human. The interdisciplinary producer and artist is a solidified virtuoso of theatre, performance, dance, installation and AV. Their work spans identities, unifying audiences through ideas of resistance and survival.

Conceived, curated and compeered by co-director of The Marlborough Theatre, Tarik Elmoutawakil (of space-church centred Brownton Abbey), the Afro-Futuristic speakeasy offers a place of solace for queer people, through its empowering collection of cabaret, performance art, video installations, DJs, and Drag. Of course, crystal themed cocktails are on offer too.


Crystalz Tavern performed 24 May – 1 June, 7pm-9pm, with Crystal Disco.

Performances were held at the Marlborough Theatre, 4 Princes Street, Brighton, BN2 1RD


Tickets are available here