BPREVIEW: Dragpunk’s Ghoul School Grand Final @ The Nightingale Club 20.09.19

Words by Ed King

On Friday 20th September, the Grand Finale of Dragpunk’s Ghoul School will be held at The Nightingale Club.

Doors open for this devilish delectation from 8pm, with tickets priced at £5 advance and more on the door. For direct event information, including online ticket sales, click here to visit Dragpunk’s Ghoul School Facebook event page.

Hosting heats 1 & 2 in August, the time has come for the Grand Finale of Dragpunk’s Ghoul School – the celebration competition where fledgling kings and queens get to ‘push the boundaries of drag’ and possibly run home with a huge bag of cosmetics and a ‘giant handmade Dragpunk gothic crown and trophy’. That and a paid up performance slot at Dragpunk’s Halloween Drag Me to Hell Part II at Eden Bar on 11th October, which ‘aint to be sniffed at no matter how much dried blood you’ve got stuck round your nostrils.

Always inclusive, Dragpunk have emphasised in the application process for Ghoul School that the competition is ‘alternative’ and open to any gender, age, ability or style. You can be political, you can be subversive, you can be a comedy or tragedy – indeed, in their own promotional words Dragpunk ‘believes competitions should be fun and creative, full of learning and guidance… It’s all about the taking part and putting on a show for you the audience.’ And if you’ve ever been to a Dragpunk event before, it’s usually quite a spectacular.

But it is a competition, after all, and battling to out-spook each other on stage will be some impressive acts from the August qualifying heats. Emily Doyle, Birmingham Review’s resident drag writer and illustrator, has been watching the Ghoul School unfold…

Ghoul School set out to create a platform for Birmingham’s up-and-coming alternative performers,” explains Emily, “and they’ve certainly delivered on that so far. In the heats of Dragpunk’s inaugural talent contest, we’ve seen everything from mime and juggling to facial stapling and microwave lasagna – it’s hard to imagine what the final could look like. It will without a doubt be the place to see the rising stars of Birmingham drag, although it’s worth noting that the first few rows may get wet…

Dragpunk’s Ghoul School Grand Final comes to The Nightingale Club on Friday 20th September, as promoted by the Dragpunk Collective. For direct event information, including online ticket sales, click here to visit the Dragpunk Facebook Page.

For more on the Dragpunk Collective, visit www.dragpunkcollective.wordpress.com

For more from The Nightingale Club, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.nightingaleclub.co.uk 


‘I pick my way through the dressing room, stepping over debris from previous performances – a toy guitar, a picked-over sheet of stick-on moustaches, and a slowly deflating blow up doll. The front of my shirt is damp from where I tried to sponge out a pale purple stain from the Dark Fruits. I slip on my coat, grab my umbrella, and make for the stage with what I hope is an air of masculine confidence.’

Watch out for Emily Doyle’s Diary of a Short Lived Drag King, a 24 page A4 ‘zine recanting her own experiences of when she manned up and got on stage – with illustrations from Emily and photography from Eleanor Sutcliffe. 

Diary of a Short Lived Drag King will be available through Review Publishing from 7th October, click here for more details and links to online orders.


NOT NORMAL NOT OK is a campaign to encourage safety and respect within live music venues, and to combat the culture of sexual assault and aggression – from dance floor to dressing room.

To learn more about the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here. To sign up and join the NOT NORMAL NOT OK campaign, click here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues surrounding sexual violence – or if you want to report an act of sexual aggression, abuse or assault – click here for information via the ‘Help & Support’ page on the NOT NORMAL NOT OK website.