Gays in Space | National Student Drama Festival

Every year, final year students from the Drama, Theatre and Performance department set up their own theatre company and devise a show. Drama alumna Rhiannon Kay recently returned to Roehampton to perform with production company Gays in Space and it just so happened that the judges of the National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) were in town. Rhiannon reflects on her experience…

Rhiannon Kay in performance

Lis Austin, esteemed faculty member of the Drama, Theatre and Performance department asked us if we wanted to enter our production into the running for NSDF. And as a group of egotistical thespians, how could we refuse?

Every theatre maker knows that heavy feeling you get once you have finished a production and can’t help but pick apart everything you could have done differently; what line would have been perfect there or which song would have completed that scene? Being given the opportunity to make all of these corrections and alterations and reinvent the show was a way for us all to get back in touch with our creativity and make the show even better than before.

The Gays in Space team came together in the Group Project Production module of the Drama Studies (now Theatre Practices and Production) course at Roehampton, where we were given total freedom to create anything, no guidelines. The group was comprised of the glorious Jay Isley Stewart, the outstanding Kai Merlynne Shona Davis, the captivating Mia Lily Battle-Welch and, of course, me: the groundbreaking and stunning Rhiannon Faith Kay. Give a bunch of flamboyant theatre kids the chance to do or say whatever they want on stage and Gays in Space is born: a mish-mash of queer culture, over-sexualisation, self-deprecating comedy and ’80s lesbian sci-fi. Honestly, this is the most outrageous and exhilarating production I have ever been a part of, so when we were contacted to revive the show and bring it back to Roehampton, we polished off our dance moves, perfected our gay puns and headed back to Jubilee Studio 3.

Wanting to expand our crew and allow ourselves to further develop our production, we set out to find some new recruits. Tamara Fairbairn graced us with her hypnotising voice, while Stanley Miles allowed us to make an absolute mockery of his heterosexuality. With these new additions to our squad, we were able to gain a fresh outlook on some of the scenes we wanted to keep from our original production, helping us to fix any small things that didn’t quite work or push us to take things even further. Soon enough we had a show, something we were all so proud of and so excited to be able to perform without worrying about a grade.

The final performance, the most important show of the run, where the judge from the NSDF was there to watch, went down without a hitch. So there we were, covered head to toe in jam and egg, body parts sticking to each other with a disturbing squelch, as the judge gives us our feedback and discusses the festival with us. Did he like it? Scratch that, he loved it! We couldn’t have asked for a better reception. So, after we gave him some time to inflate our egos as much as he could, it was time to pack up, go our separate ways and wait. Just wait until we hear anything. And the waiting still continues. We should be hearing any day now. If we managed to worm our gay agenda into the NSDF, how great would that be? A huge thank you to everyone that has supported us through this journey and if we don’t make it in, don’t worry your little cotton socks. You haven’t heard the last of Gays in Space.

Drama at Roehampton has a global reputation for research, teaching innovation and cultural engagement. You can find out more about the drama courses available at Roehampton here.

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