Crayola the Queen brings FAME WH*RE to YASS

Becky knows what she wants, she knows what she needs, and she knows how to get it.

When drag artist Becky Biro is told she needs a larger following to be considered as a contestant in the next series of international TV hit ‘The Drag Factor’, she can just smell success. And my god she knows she’s earned it. Every back-room pub performance, every night-bus home, every expensive wig and plucked eyebrow. Becky Biro has worked for her success and she’s not going to let it slip away from her based on a somewhat paltry Insta count. 

If Becky needs more followers, then Becky is going to get them. And she will do whatever it takes to get there, then reap the rewards of her inevitable stardom.

From writer Tom Ratcliffe of the multi-award-winning VELVET (Velvet “Engaging and important” The Stage) and the Lustram Award winning Edinburgh Fringe 2022 hit; Wreckage (“Tom Ratcliffe’s polished and compassionate script paints a gay couple’s relationship with a level of real-life complexity that’s not often seen in theatre” The Scotsman) comes an outrageous, fast-paced dark comedy, laced with irreverent humour and cabaret songs. 

Covering our need to be recognised in the increasingly fractured world of social media, and juxtaposing this with the onslaught of hate so often directed at minority communities in the very forums in which they seek to find solace, Fame Wh*re holds a mirror up to our desperate desire for relevance, and the lengths we may go to get there.

Sofi Berenger – Producer at The King’s Head Theatre said “LGBTQ+ work is at the heart of what we do at The King’s Head Theatre and so we’re absolutely delighted that Fame Whore is premiering with us. Tom Ratcliffe and Gigi Zahir are fantastic artists and we can’t wait to be working with them in the building” 

FAME WH*RE stars Gigi Zahir, aka Crayola the Queen; a multi-disciplinary drag artist, actor, singer, writer, producer and MC and 2019 QX Cabaret Award nominee for Best Host, Best Producer and Best Ongoing Cabaret. Crayola has beendescribed as “riotously funny” by The Independent and Zahir’s recent performance as Trinculo in TEMPEST at Pleasance Theatre was praised that “they have the audience eating out of the palm of their hand” by What’s On Stage.

FAME WH*RE premieres at the Kings Head Theatre, Islington from 5th – 29th October 2022 before embarking on a small East Anglian tour. FAME WH*RE is funded by Arts Council England.

Crayola will make you laugh, cry, smile and live your best life in less than 2 hours. If you haven’t already, you should go and see this play ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Who is Crayola and how do you identify?

Crayola is my main drag character that I’m known for. She is campy, cute, colourful, and known for her warm and caring hosting style, as well as her naughty parody songs! Because of this, she is the ideal “gateway drag”. I’ve had the joy of being many people’s first drag experience, whether that be in corporate settings, birthday parties, hen dos, or in cabaret and theatre. 

When being booked for things, Crayola is definitely a drag Queen with a capital Q, but when I’m left to my own devices, I like to rock a more androgynous, gender bendy look. Out of drag I identify as non-binary but even putting too much of a label on that feels a little strange to me! I am happiest being undefined and not having to fit into any kind of expectations. With the growing exposure that the world’s getting to the non-binary label, it feels like it’s come with its own set of expectations and what that’s supposed to look like or how you’re supposed to behave or appear, but to me the whole point is just freedom. Freedom from the restrictions of binary gender and the performance that that system requires. I’ve actually been using the word Queer more and more to describe myself as it feels the most freeing these days.

What makes Crayola one of her kind?

 I feel a little arrogant for saying this but there aren’t that many drag artists in London that are as good on the mic and as versatile in terms of engaging with the breadth of different kinds of audiences as I do – young to old, queer to straight, I’m really good at adapting what I do to fit my audience. I just really care a lot, and I know we make a joke about it in Fame Whore but I really do see drag as a service! Especially over the last couple of years, the world’s gotten darker and more difficult, so laughter and entertainment is both important and medicinal. Also, my background as a theatre dork means I really care about performance. I’m such a geek when it comes to things like my voice and song-writing and the acts that I put together. Even though a lot of my songs are really naughty I still try to give them a lot of thought, love and attention – the subject matter might be filthy but I treat it as if I’m writing high poetry!

When did your career start and how did you decide to be a drag queen?

I started dabbling with drag over 10 years ago, but my first performance under the name Crayola was in Jan 2017 (so she’s a Capricorn!). I was doing an acting internship at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park at the time, and they made us do lip sync battles as part of the programme in order to try to engage younger audiences. I decided to do them in drag and called myself Crayola DeVil. I ended up hurting my knee and had to leave the internship early, which was the catalyst for my return back to the UK. It was our glorious NHS that drew me back so it goes without saying, #SaveTheNHS. After returning and recovering, I ended up having some acting experiences that were really uncomfortable and damaging. I love theatre, but the industry isn’t the most empowering to actors and conducive to our well-being. So I made the decision to of step away for a bit and really focus on Crayola and building my drag up. Drag gave me the creative and entrepreneurial independence I needed, and within a year or two I found myself able to shift to drag full-time through a mix of producing my own shows and then getting into private and corporate entertainment.

When did you realise you wanted to become an actor?

I’ve always been an actor – I was a very theatrical child and I remember always gunning for the solos as early as elementary school (the US’s version of primary school). I’ve just always been attention seeking and creative and goofy and imaginative and loved to escape into stories and fantasy and dress up. It’s really no surprise I’ve ended up doing what I’m doing. I feel really lucky, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately – if me as a kid could see what I’m doing now, they’d be so shocked, surprised and delighted.

Is there enough representation in your field?

I’d say when it comes to the drag community, representation is pretty great. But when you look at it as an industry, there’s a lot of work still to be done. Again, Fame Whore mentions this, but kings, trans artists, cis women and nonbinary people doing drag, and even alternative drag forms – they all deserve as much of a platform as the conventional Queens do. There’s a bit of queen supremacy happening as far as the industry’s concerned, and I think it comes down to a lack of exposure. There are people who have only experienced drag through a single reality show, so their understanding of this very diverse, queer, punk art form is the tidied up version of drag that’s been sanitised and tidily packaged for mainstream (ie Straight) consumption. I do my best to educate where I can. I’m constantly advocating at corporate gigs, saying, “I’m so grateful to be here, but as you may know, Queens are quite trendy at the moment but there’s so much more out there! So it would be so great for you book in a drag king next time!” And I try and get line-ups diversified when I can. I managed to get Richard Energy and Beau Jangles added to events I was working during Pride, and the clients fell in love with them. Kings and other forms of drag are amazing and deserve just as much attention, exposure, and most importantly, work, as the Queens do.

What shall we expect from this show?

Expect bat shit dark satire and a deep dive into the world of drag that I don’t think I’ve ever seen another show do in this way. I think if you are part of the drag community or industry there’s a lot of Easter eggs and things that are gonna be particularly delightful for you to engage with, but even if you’re not entrenched in those worlds, there’s a lot for you to enjoy and learn about. This is making it sound a bit heavier than it actually is though – it’s 80 Queer af minutes of hilarious, sharp, stupid fun.

How has it been working with Tom Ratliffe?

It’s been a dream to work with Tom. Tom is a beautiful human being and was a total lifeboat for me on another show we did together years ago. Reconnecting in the last few years and then making this show together has been so much fun – a lot of giggles, a lot of laughter, a lot of voice notes late at night sharing ridiculous ideas. It’s just been really inspiring how smooth and enjoyable it’s been.

How did the pandemic affect your life and how is everything now?

The pandemic was hugely depressing to me as a person, but professionally and artistically, the slowing down was the cocoon I needed to evolve. It led to my focus on singing and parody songs as well as performing longer form solo shows, as there was a period where variety shows became unsustainable due to crunched audience numbers, slashed budgets and heightened financial risks. So those two years, while deeply cursed, had some blessings folded into them as well.

What has been the best advice you have been given?

The best advice I’ve ever been given towards acting was: Pee when you can! And for drag, this advice is doubly important due to certain… “logistics” shall we say. Beyond that, when it comes to making art, make sure you’re enjoying yourself. If you’re not playing, then I can guarantee that your audience isn’t having fun. Lastly, I read some brilliant advice from Michaela Coel, which paraphrased was basically – don’t be afraid to disappear for a while, to work quietly, away from social media and prying eyes. There’s such a pressure to make content these days and self-advertise, but that isn’t always fertile soil for making fulfilling art.

What are your future plans?

After doing TEMPEST with Wildcard earlier this year, and now Fame Whore at The King’s Head, plus having Cinderella at Theatre Royal Stratford East on the horizon, I’m absolutely loving that I’m moving back into theatre land with my drag skills in tow. These projects are giving me new creative and artistic mountains to climb, so more of that please. If we’re indulging in dreams, I would love to manifest more theatre work, perhaps with some of the giants – The RSC, The National, The Old Vic. Some TV and Film work would be wonderful as well. I also have my eyes set on creating more self-produced solo cabaret work, with regional touring and a run at the Soho Theatre as a goal. I’m artistically hungry as I look to the future, but very grateful as I see what is spread in front of me.

Crayola the Queen (she/her)

Catch Crayola in FAME WHORE at The King’s Head Theatre Oct. 5-29. Tickets and info:


Kings Head Theatre, 115 Upper St, Islington London N1 1QN

DATES: 5th – 29th October 2022

PRESS NIGHT: Tuesday 11th October 2022


Gigi Zahir / Crayola the Queen Lyricist / Performer

Gigi Zahir, aka Crayola the Queen, is a multi-disciplinary drag artist, actor, singer, writer, producer and MC. Gigi trained at The Stella Adler Studio of Acting 2013-16. During an internship at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park 2016-17, Gigi discovered an unshakeable love for drag, and subsequently, cabaret, which has led them down an unexpected but highly rewarding artistic path. Over the years,

Gigi has performed in pantos at Above the Stag (ATS), Her Upstairs, and The Vaults, and has been commissioned to create several solo shows including a children’s drag show for the Reading Fringe Festival. Gigi regularly performs at The Glory and The RVT, two of London’s most esteemed LGBT+ cabaret venues. In 2019 Gigi received several nominations at the QX Cabaret Awards including Best Host, Best Producer and Best Ongoing Cabaret. Zahir recently starred in Wildcard’s TEMPEST at the Pleasance Theatre, Islington

Tom Ratcliffe Writer

Tom is an award-winning, internationally produced writer / actor and is Co Executive Director of Wildcard. He is under commission with Harlow Playhouse. Tom’s play EVELYN recently ran at the Southwark Playhouse and Mercury Theatre starring Rula Lenska. Writing credits include: Wreckage (Summerhall), Evelyn (Southwark Playhouse / Mercury Theatre), VELVET (UK & Ireland Tour / Pleasance Courtyard), Circa (Theater de Meervaart, Amsterdam / The Old Red Lion) & Gifted (Pleasance Theatre). Tom was awarded the JB Priestley Award for Writers of Promise in 2020. He was shortlisted for the Old Vic 12 in 2016 and has been longlisted for the Verity Bargate, Theatre503 & Papatango playwriting awards. Short plays have included runs at Theatre503, Old Red Lion Theatre & St James Theatre.

Sarah Allen Producer

Sarah Allen is a producer from Somerset currently based in London. Her work frequently focuses on expanding the practice of producing with an emphasis on wellbeing, collaboration, community-building, and access. She also regularly works as an access support worker for artists working in theatre. In 2020 she graduated from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with an MA in Creative Producing and has gone on to work on projects at Soho Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, East Street Arts, and The

Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

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