Real Journalism by Leeds Hacks

Drag queen Dolls Nest describes COVID-hit industry as ‘heart-wrenching’

drag queen
Emmie Penkett
'Crystal Methyd' runner-up on Rupaul's Drag performing at Revolucion de Cuba in Leeds

Drag queen Daniel Duckworth (also known by stage name ‘Dolls Nest’) has worked in the drag queen industry for four years and described his experience as ‘heart-wrenching’ after the drag industry has collapsed due to the coronavirus

‘’Pre-Covid I did a lot. I had residencies in Bradford, Leeds, and Keighley. I’d done a lot of amazing things; I’d been on Jordie Shore, worked with Charli XCX, and hosted Crystal in Huddersfield. I went from working 5 nights a week to now working ever so often when the opportunity presents itself

‘’One of our main residencies in Leeds – Tunnel – has closed down. It was a heart-wrenching kind of thing. Tunnel was one of the main reasons why I’ve had a lot of experiences, and so to adapt to that I did the unthinkable and got a day job”

After the government came under criticism for rebuking the arts, many creative workers like drag queens felt ‘a lot of negativity’ had been brought to an already struggling sector.

In Leeds, venues like Tunnel which provided drag queens with opportunities for career growth have since collapsed.

Bars Fibre and Viaduct who hosted shows have also gone into administration, with Mission closing completely.

Viaduct club and rainbow bridge in LEeds
Emmie Penkett Viaduct pictured

‘’Drag queens have lost a lot,” explains Daniel, “I’ve had the ability to move on, but I have a lot of sisters in Leeds who have lost their jobs, homes and livelihoods [because of the pandemic].”

West Yorkshire will be subject to tier 3 lockdown beginning 2nd Nov 00:01GMT, which will cause further disturbance to the lives of artists within the county. As cases rise and neighbouring countries go into second national lockdowns, Coronavirus poses a risk to viable jobs in the arts sector everywhere.

Video by Emmie Penkett
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