Thursday, September 29, 2022

Radical acts of celebration

Peri Winkle the Drag Clown hosts NonBinary Finery, a variety show featuring acts from nonbinary and gender-diverse artists at this year's Halifax Fringe Festival.

Peri Winkle the Drag Clown hosts NonBinary Finery, a variety show featuring acts from nonbinary and gender-diverse artists.

Cisgender/heteronormative society likes to say that nonbinary people do not exist.
I can tell you with full positivity: we exist. We exist, and we are vast. We are beautiful. We are talented in many things.

We learn more in this Q&A with Peri Winkle.

Non-Binary Finery plays at the Bus Stop Theatre on September 2 & 10. Visit tickethalifax.com for tickets and information.

This interview has been edited.

Tell us about NonBinary Finery. What can audiences expect?

Variety! I have the pleasure of hosting 22 acts by 21 nonbinary identifying artists, ranging from drag of all kinds to live singing, to original written works, some PG13 burlesque, a presentation, live performance art, and more.

What was the inspiration for NonBinary Finery?

It started a little over a year ago when I thought, “How beautiful would it be to be a part of a show with all nonbinary and gender-diverse artists?” I have been out and proud as a nonbinary human for a few years, but I have a hard time finding inclusive opportunities within arts sectors.

After sharing an experience I had with a rude person online, wherein he implied that I should be committed to “an asylum” for identifying as nonbinary, I found a group of people who validated me and the vision of a safe space to show off how unique and beautiful nonbinary people are.

Why this particular show now?

Cisgender/heteronormative society likes to say that nonbinary people do not exist.
I can tell you with full positivity: we exist. We exist, and we are vast. We are beautiful. We are talented in many things.

Even with drag, a celebrated queer art form, the bias is always skewed to the “mainstream,” which often platforms cis-male drag queens. But this invalidates how many drag artists fit outside of this box. Trans, nonbinary, and AFAB performers work just as hard (sometimes harder) to get in front of an audience, and we often don’t get space unless we make it ourselves.

Transgender and nonbinary people deserve space because we feel less alone when we see ourselves in the spotlight. We feel it’s possible to be ourselves without fear of changing who we are to have that space. With lawmakers debating our validity, and right to safety and healthcare, this show feels like a radical act of celebration.

What do you hope audiences leave NonBinary Finery talking about?

I want audiences to see us. To see that it is possible to cast a show with all nonbinary talent. My aim is not education at this moment but visibility. I’m sure there will be people who come to see the show who do not know a nonbinary person in their life. I want them to leave with some new favourite artists to support or at least a new perspective on how we see the world around us.

Why should someone come to see NonBinary Finery?

Both shows have two completely different casts, so both are their own experience, and I hope ticket buyers are excited to get tickets to one or both shows. All the ticket money goes directly to the artists and any tips from the show. Besides, when was the last time you saw a show with entirely nonbinary talent?

NonBinary Finery plays at the Bus Stop Theatre on September 2 & 10. Visit tickethalifax.com for tickets and information.

The Halifax Fringe Festival returns to live in-person performances from September 1 through September 11, with more than 55 productions taking place at venues across the downtown and North End neighbourhoods.

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