Drag returns to UW in person for the first time since beginning of pandemic

University of Waterloo’s Mathematics 3 building was the home of UW Drag Club’s first in-person drag show since lockdown started. 

This Halloween-themed drag show on Oct. 29 was a welcome reprise of the beloved club and their fans, although there was limited capacity due to COVID restrictions. Chloe Acton, Drag Club president, performed alongside the troupe of local drag monarchs. In an interview, Acton spoke about how COVID-19 affected her as a drag performer and the Waterloo queer scene as a whole. “COVID has given me time to improve my craft and think about what direction I want to go in. There was plenty of time to think of and gather items for new outfits, songs, and performances.” Acton said. 

She performs as Aria Arachne, and has been doing so for the past 3 years. Most of Drag Club’s activities since the pandemic started have been hosted virtually and run by the club’s executive team. Events include makeup tutorial nights, watch parties of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and game nights that would occur weekly. Being able to perform in person however was always the most coveted club activity. When asked how it  felt to perform after almost 2 years, Acton said;

“It was a little scary but it didn’t feel any worse than usual. If anything, it was a little less worrisome since the audience was just happy to be there after so long. COVID didn’t particularly have a huge personal impact on performing for me.” Acton and her team of Drag Club executives started planning this show in the beginning of October. “It was a bit stressful with all the new rules for health and safety. But luckily it all came together nicely in the end.” said Acton. 

The night also marked a first for performer Susan Birch, also known as, Steven Adams. Birch made her drag debut during Friday’s show and was excited to tell the Community Edition how itall went. “This past performance was my first time ever doing drag, so COVID-19 hasn’t had an impact on that aspect of my life. I started watching RuPaul’s drag race during last year’s lockdown, which inspired me to do drag. If it wasn’t for the pandemic I don’t think I would have found drag until later in life. It was hectic for me to plan the show because I am a perfectionist. I had a vision for what I wanted to do and how I wanted to achieve it. It was stressful but I love performing and have a ton of crazy ideas for the future.” Birch said.