Everybody’s Still Talking About Jamie

The Drag Queen at 16’s story keeps going from strength to strength.

Jamie Campbell has a very unique story. One that is still being told after seven years and it keeps getting better! It all began when a defiant teenager took a very brave step and became an unlikely champion for the LGBT youth. Now, everybody’s talking about Jamie.

The Documentary

Back in 2011 a documentary aired on BBC3 about Jamie Campbell, a teenager from a small town in the North East of England. He was preparing for prom and like most people he wanted to go in style. There was, however, a twist. Jamie wanted to go in drag!

The documentary Jamie: Drag Queen at 16 was a wonderful inspiration and gave an insight of what it was like to be part of the younger LGBT generation of the time. Even just seven years ago, the world was completely different and a lot less accepting. In the intro to the documentary, Jamie says, of drag:

“It’s not accepted. People look on it as something seedy or something disgusting because they don’t understand.”

The documentary followed the run-up to the big day with his amazingly supportive mum and the help of Newcastle drag queens. Sadly it looked like it might all go wrong when the school told Jamie that he wouldn’t be allowed into the prom after “a parent complained.” Things took an emotional turn though and everybody, even kids who had bullied him previously, rallied around and defended him. They refused to go into the prom if Jamie couldn’t.

It was a beautiful, uplifting story that showed the beginning of an era of change…it wouldn’t be until a few years later though, after a lot more change, that the story would continue.

The Musical

By 2017,the world has progressed. Suddenly drag is no longer frowned on, if anything it is celebrated! All thanks, arguably, to the success of RuPaul’s Drag Race which has elevated drag to a mainstream platform.

It was in 2017 that the musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, hit the stage. With music by Dan Gillespie Sells from The Feeling and book by Tom MacRae, the musical is based on Jamie’s story. It is again, a beautiful, inspiring story and has been going strong on its run in London. It has won countless awards and been nominated for so many more including the coveted Oliviers.

I mentioned in a previous article, that Everybody’s Talking About Jamie would be an exciting piece to watch out for. The story, even though times have changed, still has massive social, cultural and political implications. It is uplifting, feel-good and empowering. It is such an important, human piece of theatre that covers themes of sexuality, gender, religion and unconditional love.

Now the story has progressed!

The Film

It has been announced that a film adaptation of the stage musical will be going into production in 2019! So far very little is known about the cast and whether the stage cast will reprise their roles for the film! It’s so exciting and important because it’s such a universal story and is all about having the strength to be who you want to be.

As a huge fan of the soundtrack, it’s a film I’ll be counting down to. In the meantime, the stage show will be live-streamed to a selection of cinemas across the country on 5th July. It’s going to be absolutely unmissable!

Other Musicals About Drag Queens:

If you enjoy Jamie there are other musicals out there about Drag, which are very much worth checking out:

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Priscilla is based on the 1994 film about two drag queens and a transgender woman travelling across the Australian outback in Priscilla, a bright pink bus. On the way they find hostility, love and family, all while having a whole lot of fun.

Kinky Boots

Kinky Boots has lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and a book by Harvey Fierstein so you know it’s going to be amazing. Based on the 2006 film, it tells the story of Charlie Price who inherits a failing shoe factory and teams up with a Drag Queen to create shoes for Queens!

La Cage Aux Folles

Based on the 1973 French play, this musical follows a gay couple, Georges who owns a nightclub and his drag queen lover, Albin, and the hilarious drama that ensues when one of their children brings their fianceé home to meet them. With a book, again by legendary, Harvey Fierstein it’s a timeless piece of theatre that is revived again and again. I mean, everybody knows the most empowering song ever created: I Am What I Am. 

And one last mention goes, again, to a Harvey Fierstein creation.

Torch Song Trilogy

While not a musical, Torch Song Trilogy opens up with a stunning monologue that sets the scene for the rest of the play/film. It was well ahead of its time, a true piece of queer art and a show that everybody should see.

While everybody’s talking about Jamie and drag, get involved with the conversation here

I'm Simon Sayers-Franklin and I've got something to say!
I'm a Twenty-Something-Year-Old Writer, actor, husband, Slytherin, Cat-Dad and Gaymer.


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