School of English and Drama

Ben Walters


Queer fun, family and futures in Duckie's performance projects 2010-2016



I investigate queer fun, cabaret and homemade mutant hope machines.

My PhD research (completed 2019) grew out of an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award linking Queen Mary University of London and queer performance collective Duckie.

It describes how participatory performance practices can materialise better worlds for marginalised people, especially when they draw on queer understandings of family and fun to create emergent, autonomous and adaptive forms and processes that routinely generate collective hope in more just and pleasurable futures.

That might involve a queer club night, a summer school for young LGBTQ+ performers, an afternoon cabaret for older working-class people at risk of isolation or a drop-in art project for people living with homelessness and addiction.

As part of my research, in 2017 I worked with Duckie to produce Queer Fun, an ivory-tower vaudeville at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. I’ve also presented at various national and international conferences and have a couple of academic book chapters awaiting publication. Beyond academia, I'm also a critic, blogger, producer and filmmaker.

My campaigning work around queer space includes writing the successful application to make the Royal Vauxhall Tavern the UK's first building to be statutorily listed in recognition of its LGBTQ+ heritage.



Catherine Silverstone