DCU Drag Race 2023 returns with larger venue, production value

Matthew Joyce

The annual event takes place on Thursday, 9th March in the Helix.

The LGBTA Society’s annual Drag Race is returning in a week’s time, with a move to a larger venue, translating to a bigger production value.

The annual event takes place next Thursday, 9th March in The Helix on DCU’s Glasnevin Campus.

DCU Drag Race is the largest student run drag event in Europe, according to LGBTA Society Chair Maddie Smyth, who said she is looking forward to the event.

“It is some of the best fun and best craic you’ll ever have. It is hectic, it is chaotic, but it is one of the best nights you’ll ever have in DCU,” Smyth said, adding that “it is an event for everyone, really chill, really relaxed, and good to let off a bit of steam”.

Special guests at the event include previous winners Celtic Tigress and Dr. Count Evil, along with performers Paul Ryder and Regina George.

“It’s great to see queer people getting represented in not exclusively queer spaces”, Maddie said.

Last year, the event was held in The Venue in the U Building, but this year the event is moving to the 350-person capacity Helix theatre, with promises of a bigger production value.

“It’s a much bigger stage, it’s not your typical Helix stage where there’s things draped around – there is a proper box office, there’s a proper bar,” Smyth said.

“The fact that it’s in the Helix is such an achievement, because at the end of the day, we are a college society. For us to be able to put on a performance with the likes of bigger production companies, it’s a challenge, but it’s very rewarding,” Smyth added.

Maddie also recognises where the event has come in the past few years, especially with Covid restrictions – where the event had to be held online – adding that “we’ve come in leaps and bounds and got back on our feet”.

This year, the event is in aid of LGBT hotline The Switchboard, which Smyth says was “one of those services [during Covid lockdowns] that was there for queer people when no one else was”.

Next year, Switchboard will be celebrating it’s fiftieth year in operation, after opening in 1974.

Gillian McInerney, the Chairperson of The Switchboard, said that they are “thrilled and honoured” to be the chosen charity for this year’s Drag Race.

“As an alumnus of DCU and a former chairperson of DCU LGBTA, I am proud to see the event stronger than ever,” they said.

“The money raised through Drag Race will go towards training new phone volunteers later this year and will provide The Switchboard with the option to cover all costs for new volunteers so we can facilitate people from all backgrounds joining our team”.

McInerney also said that they hope to offer chat support again “in the near future”, and said that donations like this are “vital in helping us to continue to operate and grow as we head into our 50th year in 2024”.

Tickets for DCU Drag Race are still on sale online – more information can be found on DCU LGBTA’s Instagram account.

Matthew Joyce

Image Credit: DCU LGBTA