go drag! is an original concept and represents an event that has not taken place before. The intention of this festival is to bring together many different European gender artists and to celebrate their work. We are creating a network of performers, in order to facilitate and develop cultural exchange between gender-transforming artists throughout Europe.

As part of go drag! Festival there will be performances by artists from 8 European countries. The performances will range from short cabaret vignettes to full length evening theatre performances.

The multidisciplinary aspect of go drag! is unique. We aim to show a wide range of art forms dealing with the same themes. As well as international performers, the festival includes a film program, photographic exhibition, workshops and lectures.

For several years the ‘Drag King’ phenomena has been given much media attention. With this festival, we want to show that Drag Kings aren’t just a fashionable Zeitgeist peculiarity covered by popular media.

The strength/power, intensity and quality of women performing as men will be made visible in a concentrated way. Far away from the media’s superficial sensations, we are inviting professional international female artists from various disciplines and backgrounds to perform a variety of exciting, original productions. Women who’ve been exploring the "female-to-male cross-dressing” genre for many years. Wit and humour are important elements of these transformative performances.

The go drag! Festival shows the fun women have performing male characters. How performing is fun and how it’s fun also for the audience. Through performing men on stage Drag Kings widen gender boundaries and question the ownership of masculinity.

  International Tour

Participating performers come from: Scandinavia, Italy, Austria, Germany, Great Britain and the US.

The plan is to bring the festival on tour throughout Germany and other European Countries.
We are specifically looking for contacts to venues in countries the other performers come from.

  Cultural Meaning

The fact that go drag! explores exciting new paths within the gender debate/discourse will have an enormous cultural impact for each city that hosts the festival. Within contemporary gender discourse the area of female to male gender transformation is a hot topic and thus is reflected in the culture by increased public interest as represented by the popularity of such movies as ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and by contemporary fashion design and photography (e.g. world famous fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh shooting super models Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista and others in male drag).

Higher education is also responding to this increased public awareness in gender by introducing Gender Studies Departments or expanding the Women Studies Department to include Gender Studies.

The theme of female-to-male cross-dressing in performance, film and in the visual arts is a subject of serious engagement. go drag! Festival will invariably bring in interested specialists of many different fields.

Consequently the gender debate will be immensely furthered by the go drag! festival and it’s anticipated aftermath – a continued dialogue on female-to-male cross-dressing and gender transformation performance.

This artistic forum is much needed.


Diane Torr has created and performed drag performances since 1982 and began teaching Drag King workshops in 1989 in New York. By touring her Drag King workshops throughout Europe: Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Amsterdam, London, Manchester, Bolzano, Zurich, Bern, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Portugal, Athens and Istanbul a Drag King culture began to emerge.

Bridge Markland is one of the main protagonists of gender transformation performance in Germany. She organized the first Drag King event in Berlin on Fathers Day in 1994, organized a ‘Men’s Evening’ tour of five major German cities in 1996 and initiated a previous much smaller incarnation of go drag! Festival in 1997 at STÜKKE Theatre in Berlin. Her most famous performance "The most beautiful woman in the world" has thrilled audiences in Europe and the US. Her full evening shows have toured in Germany, France and New York.

  "You have a lot more credibility as a man in this world. You walk into a room as a man, people immediately pay you attention. You walk into a room as a woman, they check out if you are sexy, that’s the first thing, men and women. Then they check if you are a certain age. If you are over 35-40, forget it. Only if you are a particularly elegant looking woman, then people could be curious.”
  Diane Torr in the movie "Venus Boyz"
  "I think that we are very much in the tradition. In African and Native American societies people have always done cross dressing and lived with aspects of both genders. Most of the times those were the spiritual people, the medicine people, the healers. By showing our comfort with living both gender aspects we bring a healing to people, to society.
…Now the world doesn’t believe we should wear hair in our faces, before they didn’t think women should wear trousers or drive cars.…I think the world is changing.”
  Storme Webber (singer, writer), in the movie "Venus Boyz”:
  "…Martin was the Action Man of oxymorons. Even though in my head I knew he was female, the way she performed Martin’s masculinity was lewdly compelling and to me, incredibly seductive.”
  Del LaGrace Volcano talks about Shelly Mars/Drag King & Performance Artist from New York; "The Drag King Book", Del LaGrace Volcano, Judith "Jack" Halberstam, Serpent’s Tail, 1999
  "Clothing has a specific significance, which makes it a specific form of language predestining it for transporting societal changes and lifestyles...how is it possible, by a change of dress to also change the original meaning of clothing.
The biological sex is the effect of a sociocultural construction of societies definition of gender. Through the split the basic identity of gender and sex are disturbed. Because exactly these two categories collide with cross dressing.”

Adolphe Binder/ Susanne Benedek, "Von tanzenden Kleidern und sprechenden Leibern", edition ebersbach, 1996

  "You’re born naked and the rest is drag."
  "Lettin It All Hang Out", An Autobiography by RuPaul (bekannte New Yorker Drag Queen), Hyperion: New York, 1995
  "Masculinity is for everyone, it is not limited to a biological gender, the same is true for femininity.”
  Judith "Jack" Halberstam, Gender Theorist
  Del LaGrace Volcano when asked: "What is a Drag King?” replies "Anyone (regardless of gender) who makes a conscious performance out of masculinity.”
"…It was only by making a performance out of femininity that I was able to inhabit a female persona…”
  "…It was only by making a performance out of femininity that I was able to inhabit a female persona…”
  Del LaGrace Volcano, Judith "Jack" Halberstam, "The Drag King Book", Serpent’s Tail, 1999