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Interview with Ian Stroughair: Iconic – A Brief History Of Drag

ICONIC A Brief History Of DragJoin West End star Ian Stroughair, the man behind the makeup of the sensational Velma Celli, as she drags you on a journey of the most iconic drag moments of film, the stage, and popular culture.

A wonderfully colourful cabaret comprising a collective mix of the music that we all know and love. Velma’s flawless vocals will have you moving from crying with laughter to broken-hearted at the drop of a very stylish hat. This roller coaster of a cabaret really hits every spot!

Velma is the alter-ego of West End performer Ian Stroughair who has recently appeared on Eastenders and in Lucy Rose’s music video, Nebraska, opposite Danny Dyer. Ian has performed in hit shows such as Cats, Fame, Chicago and Rent, where he received critical acclaim for his portrayal as Angel.

Q&A with Ian Stroughair
Q: Why did you decide to write Iconic – A Brief History Of Drag?
Ian: Well I have played quite a few “drag roles” in theatre and with my Velma Celli cabaret show I constantly get asked by fans to sing those iconic drag songs you immediately think of when you think a drag in a musical.
I resisted performing the obvious drag songs for years because I like to give my audience something you wouldn’t expect and to keep it fresh. It took me about six months to have the balls to do it, but I thought why not just whack everything into a monster drag revue and almost rip a band-aid off and do it in one fell swoop. I was in Africa at the beginning of the year and had nothing to do apart from eating my body weight so I decided to sit and write it.

Q: Tell us a little more about what audiences should expect from the show?
Ian: In short it’s a celebration of the most iconic moments in theatre and popular culture jam-packed with an eclectic mix of pop, rock and musical theatre that is all tied together by anecdotes from my drag bible!

Q: What’s your favourite song in the show and why?
Ian: I Want To Break Free by the legendary Queen. We have re-arranged it into a powerful ballad. It’s very emotional and epic.

Q: Who is your drag idol?
Ian: I would have to say the queen on Hugh RuPaul. Such an inspiration in reinvention and drive. I adore her.

Q: When did you decide that drag was for you?
Ian: I have been doing it for 7 years in between theatre, tv and film work. I learnt my skills when in the west end production of Chicago then when I left that show Velma was naturally born.

Q: Why should people come along to Iconic?
Ian: Because it’s fabulous and I said so!
In all seriousness though it has such a wide repertoire of music styles so there is something for everyone. The St James is such a fantastic space so dress up people and let’s have a wine together! Post show of course…

Iconic – A Brief History Of Drag
4th to 5th November 2016
This show contains strong language and the age recommendation is 16+
Running time: Approximately 1 hour 50 minutes
St James Theatre
12 Palace St, Westminster, London SW1E 5JA


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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1 thought on “Interview with Ian Stroughair: Iconic – A Brief History Of Drag”

  1. Chris littlewood

    Ian you knock the socks of them, you are so special and you will go with a bang.

    Love Chris littlewood.xxx

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