Library Dissertation Showcase

Living with Pride: how Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a positive and progressive portrayal of queer identities and drag performance

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

From the 1980s onwards, there are examples from live performance, television and film in which queer lives and drag performers have been negatively represented. There is an unhealthy emphasis towards competition based drag performance which promotes conventions conforming to heteronormative ideas that can be understood and are arguable present in examples such as RuPaul’s Drag Race (2009-2019). In other examples there are limitations placed on the individual gender expression of two members in a homosexual relationship — including the fulfilment of the heteronormative dichotomy of masculine and feminine — or the removal of People Of Colour from historical queer roles such as in the movie Stonewall (2015). These issues are contested and resolved in the 2017 production of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie written by Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae. The story is based on the real life experience of Sheffield native, Jamie Campbell, who attended his Year 11 prom in a dress. The use of song to facilitates the creation of a collective identity, solidarity and education of audience members, the shameless portrayal of non-normative gender expression and the decision to cast a person of colour (POC) in an originally white role are all contributors to creating a progressive and positive portrayal of queer lives and drag performance. This dissertation will examine how Everybody’s Talking About Jamie1 combats the negative effects of the aforementioned issues associated with the portrayal of queer lives and drag performance. Firstly, it explores how this musical accomplishes the creation of audience solidarity and education through the use of established practises associated with drag performer’s employment of song. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will also be compared to past examples in popular media from the 1980s onwards in terms of the portrayal of queer lives and drag performers conforming, or not, to heteronormative ideals of gender expression. Finally, the past practises and effects of the white washing of queer history will be examined, then the positive consequences of casting a non-white actor into the previously white role of Jamie New will be outlined.

PLEASE NOTE: You must be a member of the University of Lincoln to be able to view this dissertation. Please log in here.