What exactly is going on at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern? Is it really going to turn into London’s latest wine bar? If so, what will this mean for its regular shows?
With the all the smoke and mirrors around what the future holds for the venue, there are understandable fears for crowd favourite Bar Wotever. It has ruled the Tuesday night roost for some time now as a real bastion of LGBTQIA performance. Over the years, its shows have featured a broad and bold mix of entertainment burlesque, music, comedy and film.
We spoke to producer and Master of Ceremonies Ingo Cando to get the lowdown on what 2015 holds for Bar Wotever.
How did you become involved with Bar Wotever?
Back in 2005 I already ran a few clubs and events, with acts on stage, I found that there was no ‘middle stage’ for Acts in London, where people could test, come to when touring UK, or test stuff at, so we started one, back then we did it at Central Station, but moved to Royal Vauxhall Tavern in 2009. Here performers have started, DJs have learnt to spin and many have been part.
We understand that Bar Wotever will be back in the new refurbished RVT. What can you tell us about that?
We have been in talks with the new owners and management and for now we are staying at Royal Vauxhall Tavern. We love this space and building and are very happy to continue to grow and do our shows here. We will continue to encourage people to come and see us.
You’ve mentioned online possible changes to the Bar Wotever shows. Can you tell us broadly what this means?
The changes that is due to happen is that we go bigger, bolder and continue to make the Tuesdays down at the RVT rock! We open up every Tuesday with a few open mic slots, plus we continue to work with playwrights/actors who do longer slots, ie 40-60 min shows with and for us. Plus we will increase our glitter factor, sex education and do more talks.
“For many this is where they’ve grown up, fallen in love, bring their family members on visit, celebrated name changes and other things that is life affirming when you are on the LGBT spectrum of things.”
Ten years is a long time for any show. Why do you think it has lasted so long?
We have a solid loyal following within our LGBTQIA and queer community. we are very straight friendly too so everyone is made to feel welcome. For many this is where they’ve grown up, fallen in love, bring their family members on visit, celebrated name changes and other things that is life affirming when you are on the LGBT spectrum of things.
We do not have that many spaces where we are welcome, and made to feel totally in the majority and accepted. Our acts are from our own community. They share performance and stage craft with an audience that are very respectful and attentive. Ask anyone who have performed with us and they usually agree on the quality of the audience. People listen, and people come back, week after week while performers return with new acts and shows. So, what we in the audience get from the stage is important and acts and performers feel that.
We also share Wotever Talks (like TED Talks but by us and our LGBT community) and Community News, where we share info what’s on and what people are engaged in. It is like a 3D noticeboard with and by the people who actually run the events, or are involved one way or another. I think we have survived this long because we think it is important and our audience seem to think the same.
Where do you think Bar Wotever fits into London’s LGBTQIA scene?
We are very much a big part of it. We do not shy away from all aspects of our LGBTQIA lives and lifestyles including our well being and health. We have a longstanding collaborations with LGBTQIA charities and sexual health clinics, we are part of London Pride and help and support a big bunch of events and organisations for and with LGBTQIA interest. This shines through with what we present on stage and who we like to work with.
What is your take on gentrification in the RVT area? Is there any danger Vauxhall will go the way of Soho with LGBTQIA-friendly venues making way for more commercial uses?
Absolutely, I think that is definitely happening already. We see the changes every day. And more and more of us are forced to move further and further out of London. It’s noticeable by closing time. No one want to miss the last tube/train home…
Get the latest on Bar Wotever and the latest Wotever World happenings on their official website.