In this interview Marcela Parducci chatted with Wren Dennehy who is a non-binary queer performer, producer and drag artist. They are originally from County Kildare but based in Dublin. They are the founder and producer of Queer Cabaret and the producer of Drag Storytime, which is a storytelling session facilitated by drag artists and whose theme is diversity and inclusion, and which has happened at various festivals across Ireland.
How Wren became an artist?
Wren has wanted to be an actor since they were a child, and when they were in school, their dream was to be on stage. Their first memory of performing in front of people was at communion where they sang not knowing that they could sing, and then they received many positive comments which increased their confidence and, as they said, “that is where the bug started for me”.
When Wren was in college they got involved with different productions and one in particular was with the director Stefanny Curtney, “Much Ado About Nothing“, a Shakespeare production that took place in Iveagh Gardens and, although they only had a small role in it, they enjoyed it so much as it was a wonderful experience since it was a fun production, with a proper director and it was their first time doing a proper play. It was in this play that Wren met actress Aoibheann McCann, with whom they shared the stage at the beginning of the play.
Aoibheann had just moved back from London and she was establishing a company called Red Bear, and because they became good friends Aoibheann invited them to work as a production assistant in the company’s first show in a comedy at the Dublin Fringe Festival.. So that’s how Wren went from really wanting to be an actor, to going into production.
When Wren started to perform as a drag artist?
Wren told us that they weren’t really aware of what drag was for a long time but it wasn’t until they watched Rupaul’s Drag Race on TV, that they realized what it was all about and in that moment they knew that’s what they wanted to do. So in 2018 they started performing in drag and they created the drag character Avoca Reaction, that first came out on March 2018 and then in January 2019 they set up Avoca’s Queer Cabaret.
“The best thing about drag is that you really get to be yourself by transforming into somebody else”
Why do you do what you do?
“ I feel like I don’t really have a choice, I feel like it shows me rather than me choosing it like, it just feels something that I have to do and I love the buzz on stage, I love the collaboration that you need to make a show happen”,
“I love most about being able to change the energy in a room, like when you get on stage feeling that shift and that buzz that happens once you start singing or you start performing. I just really like making people laugh and happy and performing is really fun”
How Wren sees artist’s roles in society?
Wren believes that artists play an important role in society, and that the Irish government needs to be more aware of how important they are to society and how much they need to be funded, paid, and supported because artists provide entertainment and they give people some sort of escape from everyday life.
Wren also feels like artists have a very important role in bringing up important issues that maybe some people wouldn’t be aware of, if it weren’t for the TV, shows, films, music, etc. especially with the pandemic, it became very obvious how important art and artists are to society.
Everything that Wren does in drag performance is political, as they are underrepresented in the entertainment world and in society in general and because there is a lot of misconception about them, Wren feels that by getting up and showing and promoting themselves they are involved in an act of rebellion
To learn more about Wren Dennehy watch the full interview below and visit their social media channels
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/avocareaction/ and https://www.instagram.com/wrendennehy/