Looking Back at JOAN - DT Memory Box
For this week's Memory Box, in recognition of June being Pride Month and celebrating LGBTQ+ members of our communities and our brilliant associate company, Milk Presents, we are looking back at our co-production of JOAN.
JOAN first played at Derby Theatre in 2015 and was an absolute smash-hit with our audiences and the press alike. The show then went on to become an Edinburgh, smash-hit sensation and also played at venues in Sydney and Malta.
JOAN starred the immensely talented Lucy Jane Parkinson, who revisits the show from home with this filmed recording of the song 'Summertime Blues' . A song that should resonate with us all at this time. Enjoy!
Key Facts and Memories
- JOAN was part play, part drag king cabaret - and Lucy Jane Parkinson was the UK's Drag Idol Champion in 2014.
- Derby audiences adored JOAN - with many seeing the show 2 or more times.
- In addition to the Theatre, JOAN was also performed in Ryan's Bar in Derby city centre. There was a part in the show where Joan asks the audience for some bail money, an audience member gave Joan a quid and Lucy (Joan performer) went directly to the fruit machine mid-show and won!
In the same show, at the emotional end, sun suddenly came streaming through the pub window and the church bells from next door began to chime. You couldn't have planned for it!
- It's amazing to think of the variety of venues Milk have performed JOAN in! There's been village halls, country pubs, hipster bars, shopping centres, state theatres, festival stadiums, churches, community centres, the list goes on... Plus the global journey the show has been on from Derby Theatre Studio to Mardis Gras in Sydney via Valetta Malta and of course Edinburgh!
Photography © Robert Day
- Lucy had a habit of being a bit cheeky with the audience... she once jokingly took a bag of sweets off a child in the audience, pinched a few and then gave them back!
- For the production and creative team, we remember the hours spent in Derby Theatre's Green Lane rehearsal room making the show, the many, many get-in's and the nervous wait as the audience streamed in for each show - hoping someone would sit in the sacred Catherine seat...
All the seats looked the same but one was secretly the seat Joan was going to 'reserve' for St Catherine. If an audience member sat in this seat, Lucy would say 'excuse me but I don't know if you know but this seat is actually reserved' and then place a sign on it and move them to another seat. It was a nice way of loosening the audience up and introducing the audience participation used later in the show!
- JOAN returned to the city to play at Sinfin Community Centre, as part of a Your Place, a project to take work out into, and engage with, the community.
A Derby Theatre Production in association with Milk Presents Part of Derby Theatre’s RETOLD series Written and...
About the Show
Part of Derby Theatre’s RETOLD series - new plays that crack open classic tales and see the story afresh from a new perspective.
JOAN is a fearless show about what it means to stand out, stand up and stand alone.
1420's France - ravaged by war and occupation, with a population divided. 18-year-old Joan is a farmer's daughter, a freedom fighter and a girl dressed as a boy.
But what happens when a disguise becomes something a lot more real, and you have to fight for who you really are?
Packed with guts and heart, JOAN fuses lyrical new writing with drag king cabaret for the very first time. An earthy story of courage, conviction, hope, survival and love, this is Joan of Arc - quite possibly the world's first drag king.
JOAN is written and directed by Leo J Skilbeck, Derby Theatre’s BBC Performing Arts Fellow 2014, and made in association with Milk Presents.
Performed by Lucy Jane Parkinson aka LoUis CYfer, Drag Idol Champion 2014.
Derby Theatre's commitment to trans and non-binary audiences and artists
Derby Theatre would like to make a commitment to trans and non-binary audiences and artists.
When you come to our Theatre, as an audience member, actor or artist, we will do our best to support you fully and welcome you into our community.
We will cast trans people in trans roles, and also in roles outside of those. We endeavour to always use correct pronouns. We will apologise if we mess up and work to improve our industry with you.
We recognise that representation is just one part of a bigger conversation and therefore, will continue to support trans artists to create and centre their own stories, as actors, yes, but also as makers, directors, facilitators, designers, producers and stage managers.
We recognise we are on a journey. We are a learning theatre and we intend to keep learning. We hope others will join us.