Drag Queen Story Time Mayfest 2018 Bristol Review

Drag Queen Story Time
Mayfest 2018
Colston Hall Foyer

Drag Queen Story Time (DQST), has quite rightly gone from strength to strength across the country, having originated at Bristol Pride 2017.

The concept of Drag Queens reading stories originated in the US with the Drag Queen Story Hour programme.

Whilst the British right wing press seem determined to do damage to the group, Mayfest 2018, incorporated two DQSTs into their Bristol arts programme this year.

The aim of the sessions is to provide gender free children’s activities based around books and presented by fabulous queer role models.

According to yesterday’s glamorous Queen Alyssa Van Delle, “fabulous” is what she tells people who ask how she identifies.

Drag Queen Story Time Bristol

Dominating the stage with sass, in sunshine-yellow and sky-high silver heels, we identify with her quite early on. She’s from Brislington, and seems as damaged as us regarding her experiences on the number one bus from Bristol to Broomhill. It’s a service only slightly less bonkers than the 75 to Bedminster.

During the session, we get three stories and three songs which takes about 50 minutes. Alyssa is a great performer and drops humour in for the children as well as the adults.

It’s worth taking children to different sessions presented by different Queens, because you get a different experience at each. Alyssa is witty and dry. Donna La Mode and Lady Windsor Rose who we saw last year were very cabaret.

The sessions are aimed at children aged around 3 -11 years, though 2 – 8 feels about right for Mayfest sessions.

Negative comments I have read about DQST online, tend to come from the kind of people who would whole heartedly embrace the traditions of pantomime. If you enjoy a pantomime dame, you will enjoy a DQST, which is a much classier affair.

Audience reactions showed there were a lot of RuPaul’s Drag Race fans out there. We’re more Priscilla. Must be from getting the number one bus so often.

Bristol is probably one of the more accepting cities in the UK, though it has its moments. It’s great that Mayfest has embraced the fun and ethos of DQST – allowing children to ‘imagine the world in which people can present as they wish’. As an international festival of contemporary theatre, it’s an important message to get out there.

Here’s hoping by featuring gender fluid art forms that less people will waste so much time arguing online about signs on toilet doors.


Drag Queen Story Time will also be at Arnolfini on the 20 May 2PM as part of Mayfest 2018: http://mayfestbristol.co.uk/


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