GET ready for the surprise of your life, because Oxford’s very own Oxfordshire Drag Collective are putting on an original panto.

They have created a hilarious, wacky, and heartfelt show, following a ragtag bunch of misfits finding out some home truths and forging friendships along the way.

With a close-knit cast of larger than life characters, magical misunderstandings and emotional resolutions, this production has much to offer. It’s a gender-bending mash-up of Jack and the Beanstalk and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, stuffed to the brim with parody songs, dance numbers and oodles of camp.

This show offers a fresh take on the genre.

The premise: an adventure loving boy trades his talking, socialist horse for a magical potato that sends his village into romantic chaos.

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And why do drag performers want to put on a panto? Well, panto is responsible for a huge part of the UK’s drag scene, with pantomime dames acting as a draggy reference point to the masses.

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Although massively influential, it also comes with a lot of outdated stereotypes. The Oxfordshire Drag Collective aims to take these well known characters and reinterpret them through a modern LGBTQIA+ lens. Most, if not all, of the cast, writers, and crew identify as LGBTQI+, and are bringing their unique perspective to this classic genre.

Expect all the camp buffoonery of a traditional pantomime, with a heartfelt twist.

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Director and cast member Effusique Aimée came up with the original story of this original pantomime for the Oxfordshire Drag Collective: “Away with the Fairies is a project I am so looking forward to fully realising with the ODC, especially as it offers an opportunity to use the broad range of skills of our members, including in acting, choreography, comedy and music, in a fun and subversive way for a more mainstream audience.

“I came up with the concept of combining plot and character elements from the traditional panto Jack and the Beanstalk fairytale narrative as well as from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of Shakespeare’s most loved and recognisable plays, that embodies themes of romance, magic and queer subversion.

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“Seeing this process through from all sides of the production, from writing to directing, to acting, has been incredibly rewarding, and I’m sure the audience will get just as much joy out of it as we have put in.”

Oxford Mail:

Ginger Tart, founder of the Oxfordshire Drag Collective, and a staple of the Oxford scene, is working both behind the scenes and on stage in this collaborative endeavour: “For years I’ve wanted to do a drag panto - it just makes so much sense!

“The silliness, the over the top costumes, the humour, are all things that drag and panto share. It feels so good to take this beloved genre and play with it.

“The script is brilliant (and I’m not just saying that as one of the writers!) and I’m so excited to see it all come to life.

“Pretty much the whole cast and crew are members of the collective, apart from our set design team which are mostly students from the Abingdon and Witney College Theatre Design course, as one of our members, Anneke Hackmann, teaches there.

Oxford Mail:

“We’re officially one of their assessed projects! It’s great to have something to represent what Oxfordshire can do to shake up panto and bring it into the 21st century.

“It’s inclusive, it’s feminist, it’s wild.

“This is a production by queer people for queer people (and anyone else who welcomes a change from the norm!).”

Away With The Fairies: A Queer Drag Panto is on tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) at 7.30pm, with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm, at The Old Fire Station on George Street, Oxford. Tickets from

The show contains mild to moderate sexual innuendo and mild references to various forms of discrimination. The age guideline for the matinée is 13+ and 16+ for the evening shows.