Martha D Arthur Act 2 Entertainment

martha d arthur

Hello Martha…thank you for speaking with us at GAYPV (GPV)

GPV: Tell us about how your got started in your career?

1. I actually had no ambition to do drag. I was an actor and had been doing mostly musical theatre and was cast as a drag queen in a play. I was asked to help promote the play by doing a little appearance in a gay bar nearby. That bar offered me some work which I did on breaks between touring with shows… one thing slowly led to another and a few years later I find myself entering a competition in England called Drag Idol UK. The year I entered (2013) there were 21 venues taking part around the UK and I thought it would be a bit of fun. I didn’t imagine for a moment that three months after my first heat that I would end up winning the overall competition! I waved goodbye to the life of an actor and have been working full time in the drag cabaret scene ever since! While I have made some great friends and become close to some of the scene stalwarts who’ve been in this business for years and year (in some cases decades!) and have learnt some valuable lessons from colleagues, we don’t really do the drag mother thing in the UK. I know in the U.S. there are collectives and families and things, but in general in the UK we all work solo (unless for a big charity event) and are constantly travelling around our little country doing our shows in various venues where we’re very well looked after!!!

GPV: What have you been doing since winning Drag Idol UK season 2013. 
2. It’s been a wonderful journey and it really is a job that keeps giving back. I’ve even been to perform in the U.S. a few times and I’m so thrilled to be in Puerto Vallarta with my gal pal from NYC, Delighted Tobehere! She has such a huge heart and when we first met when she visited London a couple of years ago we hit it off straight away and I’ve even performed with her in New York now! I love that about this job, it forces your paths to cross with the most fabulous people! Other than being patron of charity “Cancer Is A Drag” and the messages I try to spread about equality and love and tolerance, the thing I’m most proud of since my Drag Idol Win is opening and hosting the first show of the first ever Austin International Drag Festival in 2015! Such an incredible experience!!!! But I LOVE my job. I have residencies in 3 cabaret bars in London, 1 in Southampton and I get to travel around and sing and chat to people all over the UK as part of my day to day job! Trips to places like Puerto Vallarta are just such a bonus and I’m grateful to Drag Idol UK every day for what it’s done to my life!

GPV: Tell us about the drag and cabaret scene in the UK compared to the US. 
3. The US and UK drag scenes are quite different. In my time in the US I discovered that the normal sort of drag show will have a hostess and a cast and they take it in turns to do a number (lip synching most of the time) and most of the time in two halves and they work hard for tips and that’s where they make their money. In the UK the norm is that we work solo and nobody tips, which is fine because the venues that book us pay us well and we get on stage and do at least an hours show for a crowd (no door charge either!) and most of us sing live for that show. Our job is to get you in and keep you there and put your money over the bar and for that, the venue look after us! You’ve got to be able to engage with the crowd and get a relationship going with them and it can be the most rewarding thing in the world! The american queens really really have to work to earn a good living, but there are a lot of opportunities in the states. There are more drag queens working and earning money in New York than the whole of the UK. In the UK, I think it’s an incredibly hard scene to break into without competitions like Drag Idol, but once you do you’re treated well.

GPV: Have you visited PV or Mexico before? What have you heard about Mexico as an LGBT destination? 
4. It’s my first time visiting Mexico ever!!! I’m far too excited!!! I think I’m driving Delighted Tobehere and the team at Act II Stages crazy I’m so excited! I’ve even done a little walk around on Google Earth just to get an idea of what to expect.I’m not a huge traveler because I’m not great on planes, but when I come I want to experience EVERYTHING! The food, the entertainment, the people, the history! I’m going to hit Puerto Vallarta hard!!! I’ve even heard I can swim with some dolphins so you’ve no idea how spit on your neck, fantastically excited I am!!! (Can you tell I’m excited!!!!)

GPV: Tell us what to expect to see in your shows at Act 2. 
5. Well I’m a people pleaser…. I like to be as accommodating as I can! SO you can expect a real British and classy lady (think Julie Andrews in sequins with big hair)…. I’ll be singing some of my favourite songs from musicals, movies and classics as well as singers like Adele, Queen, Bette Middler, Whitney, Celine etc etc….. but the biggest influence are the audience. I like to tell stories, chat and get to know who’s in, give them the chance to ask me things and I’ll bring my 150 song JUKE BOX DRAG selection with me so some lucky people will get to choose what I sing too!!! It’s a collaboration! I really try to ensure you leave happier than you were when you came in! Have I mentioned how excited I am yet?

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