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Drag, Musicals, and Spice Girls: In Conversation with Divina De Campo

From drag to opera, Divina De Campo can do it all. We got to talk drag and musicals with her.

From taking centre stage as part of the Queer Contact festival to hanging out with Spice Girl Geri Horner, it’s all go, go, go for Divina De Campo right now.

We caught up with Manchester’s finest operatic drag star during her busy schedule to talk about music, her new musical Dancing Bear, her love for the drama, and her new prime-time Saturday night BBC show.

In February, you’ll be appearing in Dancing Bear, a brand-new musical headlining the Queer Contact festival. Can you tell us a bit more about the production, and your character in it?

It’s a new musical that’s been in development for a little under 3 years so for it to get its world premiere at The Palace Theatre is extremely exciting.

It’s directly linked to the performers personal experiences with gender, sexuality and christianity. It sounds pretty heavy I know but there’s lots of warmth and joy running throughout the show with some great tunes and some beautiful dancing. So Divina is pretty much Divina but with her secret alias, Owen, also mixed in there.

If you could describe the show in five words, what would you say?

Fun, thoughtful, beautiful, challenging and hopeful.

We’ve seen your face plastered on all the posters and brochures for the event, how does it feel to be the poster girl for the festival?

I’ve been working in drag, mixing commercial and more artistic work, for most of my career so to finally be not only a part of Queer Contact Festival but a face for it is extremely exciting.

We saw you appear on The Voice a couple of years ago. We reckon there’s certainly a market for an operatic drag star – any plans for an album?

Well, I’m having a hiatus of sorts in order for me to explore some of the avenues I’m interested in, like recording some more of my own material. I’m also flying to Vienna to shoot for a short project which is opera crossover based. So who knows what will happen but I would certainly not say no.

If you could duet with anyone, who would it be?

I’d like to say someone like Maria Callas or Dame Joan Sutherland but that’s unlikely, if you know what I mean. I think someone like Tori Amos would be amazing.

Will you be watching All Stars 3? If so, who are you rooting for?

I certainly will! I know a lot of the girls having worked with them and more than anything I hope all of them make the most of their opportunity at a second crack.

Who has been your favourite Ru girl to work with?

To be honest, nearly all of them are lovely. My favourite was Bianca purely because whatever is going on with her she always gives 100% and has her Schtick down every time. Professionalism means a lot to me.

You’ll also be seen back on our TV screens in BBC’s All Together Now. What was that like? Any backstage stories from working with Geri Horner?

It was great! I absolutely loved every minute. An incredible bunch of people for the 100 all headed up by my favourite Spice Girl. She was a darling, made sure she spent time saying hello and chatting to people. It would be great to say she was a diva but she was honestly lovely.

We can remember many a time where we’ve drunkenly confessed our love for you in Manchester’s clubs… what’s your favourite thing about Manchester’s queer scene?

The diversity! That’s what I love most about Manchester’s scene, high art, low art, cabaret, gender fuck, all different shapes sizes and styles of LGBTQ+ people all having a ball and expressing their whole selves. Plus it’s a genuinely friendly, no-attitude scene in my experience.

Would you change anything about it?

There isn’t much i’d change. I love the drama, as long as I’m not involved, same with all the politics. Nowhere is perfect but to me, Manchester has something very few other places in the world can even hope to replicate.

You’ve also been involved in Drag Queen Story Time, which sees drag queens read stories to children. How’s that experience for you?

It was sooooooo cute! I love working with kids and in my other life I’ve worked a lot as a teacher so to be able to do this was great fun. It’s just about having fun and children seeing that clothes are just that. Wear what you want.

Lastly, what’s next on the agenda for Divina?

Apart from having moved to Gran Canaria it’s going to be full steam ahead this year. All Together Now, Dancing Bear at the Palace and later again this year at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, then the project in Vienna which will hopefully be on our screens later in the year. There’s plenty going on and more in the pipeline. I’m really excited for this year!

Dancing Bear takes place at the Palace Theatre Tues 6- Wed 7 Feb, 8pm, as part of Queer Contact Festival 2018. Tickets are on sale now priced £21.25/£8.25 concessions (plus booking fees) from atgtickets.com/manchester* or by phone on 0844 871 3019* Please note this show is for over 16s. Both shows are BSL interpreted and audio described.

*Fees apply. Calls cost up to 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

Written by Adam Maidment

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