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In Conversation: Dressing Up

22 May 2020, 19:00

Ondaatje Wing Theatre

Tickets: £10 (£8 concessions and Gallery Supporters)

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Photographer Cecil Beaton impersonating Elinor Glyn

Cecil Beaton impersonating Elinor Glyn at a birthday party for Elsa Maxwell, in Paris by George Hoyningen-Huene, 1930. Private Collection. George Hoyningen-Huene / Vogue © Condé Nast

Cecil Beaton’s early studio portraits of debutantes and celebrities helped define the image of the ‘Bright Young Thing’, with elaborate backdrops and dramatic costumery. But it was perhaps through his self-portraits that he most strikingly explored the power of dressing up to transform, liberate and play. Marking the major exhibition, Cecil Beaton's Bright Young Things, two contemporary writers and drag performers consider dressing up, self-portraiture and autobiographical writing, and the shifting grounds for queer expression over the last 100 years.

Amrou Al-Kadhi is a writer for TV and film and in 2019 published their first book, UNICORN: The Memoir of a Muslim Drag Queen, which reflects on queer intersectionality.

Tom Rasmussen performs as Crystal Rasmussen, and their 2019 memoir, Diary of a Drag Queen, is a unique portrayal of the queer experience, presenting a world of possibility through drag.

Shahidha Bari, Professor of Fashion Cultures at the London College of Fashion, chairs their discussion. Her book, Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes, was published in 2019.

In partnership with The Royal Society of Literature.

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Part of the programme of events complementing Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things

Priority booking for Gallery Members is open now. Public booking will open on Monday 10 February 2020.

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