Queen Victoria wasn’t Black / Alice wasn’t trans
Modest has been created to explore Elizabeth Thompson’s real-life story through a modern lens, rather than as a faithful and accurate telling. As with all Middle Child productions we are keen to ensure our work speaks to today’s world, reflecting and representing the diversity of the United Kingdom. Our casting decisions were made following a rigorous auditioning process through which we are in no doubt that we found the cast most suitable for the story we wanted to tell to ensure a story about Victorian England resonates deeply with audiences across the UK.
Is Modest rewriting history?
Modest has been created to explore Elizabeth Thompson’s real-life story through a modern lens, rather than as a faithful and accurate telling. As with all Middle Child productions we are keen to ensure our work speaks to today’s world, reflecting and representing the diversity of the United Kingdom and the issues that affect us today. Our creative decisions were made with great care to ensure that we add to Elizabeth’s experience in a way that ensures a story about Victorian England resonates deeply with contemporary audiences across the UK.
Why do you use drag kings?
The use of drag performers to portray male characters is a conscious decision that uses humour and satire to undercut attitudes, dialogue and beliefs that are deeply misogynistic. By using such a creative approach, we create an environment in which audiences laugh at these characters, rather than with them, in turn protecting the performers and other audience members who would otherwise be targeted by such men.
Modest is making people gay or trans
It is not possible to make people become LGBTQIA+ and who we love and how we identify are not decided by choice. What we do know is that in data collected by Stonewall discovered that almost half (48%) of trans people in the UK have attempted suicide. Introducing people to LGBTQ+ identities and experiences will not make them LGBTQ+, but it will make LGBTQ+ people more welcome in theatre and the arts.
Modest is not age appropriate
The recommended age guidance of 14+ is based on the use of strong language and detailed descriptions of combat injuries. The themes presented in Modest include being yourself, misogyny and racism, feeling different to other people and celebrating all-kinds of love. These are all issues that teenagers are likely to have experience of themselves. It’s therefore important that people of this age are able to access theatre that addresses these themes, presented in a manner that uses a visual, musical and textual language familiar to such an audience.
The costume and dancing are sexualised
The form of Modest has been crafted to authentically reflect the arts of drag and cabaret, made by and with some of the UK’s top talent. Our focus is on creating a show that celebrates queer joy and gives an audience a great night out, with nothing in the show that we believe to be gratuitous. There is nothing in Modest that can’t regularly be found in music videos, at music festivals or other live performances. We are confident that the recommended age guidance of 14+ is fair and in line with the content of the show.
If you have any questions about this production, please don’t hesitate to contact our audience development manager, Jamie Potter.