UK

The show will go on! Venue accused of ‘Drag act for babies’ refuses to bow to ‘threats of violence’


A venue which hosted a cabaret drag-style event for parents of young children has vowed to continue hosting shows despite a growing campaign against them online.

Footage showing two artists performing for adults, most of whom were accompanied by babies, at The Flair Ground in Waterloo, London, has gone viral on social media after some accused the venue of targeting drag acts at babies.

The video showed one dancer, known as Benloader Circus, performing acrobatic sequences from straps dangling from the ceiling as parents watched.

A second artist, known as Miss Lucinda B.Hind, was also shown in the video dressed in a thong and feather boa. The artist performed a handstand on a chair for the watching audience.

Despite criticism the CabaBabaRave show, run by VAULT Festival, will continue after organisers issued a statement explaining its target audience and condemning ‘inexcusable threats of violence and assault’ against the artists and wider LGBT+ community.

Footage showed one dancer performing acrobatic sequences from straps dangling from the ceiling parents watched, accompanied by their babies

Another act in the show, which is aimed at parents, performed a number including a handstand on a chair, while wearing typical cabaret underwear and a feather boa

Another act in the show, which is aimed at parents, performed a number including a handstand on a chair, while wearing typical cabaret underwear and a feather boa

The VAULT Festival, which hosts CabaBabaRave, posted a statement on Twitter

The VAULT Festival, which hosts CabaBabaRave, posted a statement on Twitter

Organisers stressed that the cabaret event was intended for adults but offered an inclusive space for parents of young babies by including some ‘sensory moments’ in the experience. 

A statement released by VAULT said: ‘We are aware of comments on social media directed at CABABABARAVE, part of the 2023 VAULT Festival programme. 

‘The cabaret show is designed for parents, with sensory moments for babies, and is a fun and welcoming space for parents with young babies.

‘VAULT Festival exists to support live performance and artistic talent and is proud to platform events that are welcoming and accessible for all, with audience safety always as a top priority. 

‘We stand against the inexcusable threats of violence and assault against our programmed artists, our staff, and directed at the LGBTQIA+ community, and are supporting the affected artists.’

The show brands itself as a ‘little slice of afternoon delight’ that intersperses cabaret with ‘captivating baby sensory moments’ before ‘ending in a rave’.

Ben Loader circus is a performer who has studied at the National Centre for Circus Arts, specialising in aerial rope. 

Miss Lucinda B.Hind describes herself as an ‘actress, woman, star and lover!’, combining her training in different elements of the arts such as theatre, circus and contortion to put on a show. 

But the show was slammed as ‘abhorrent’ and ‘sickening’ after the footage went viral on social media, fuelled by users suggesting the cabaret performance was billed as suitable for children.

CabaBabaRave has a sold out show on March 11, while further events are due to take place through to the end of May. The price for general admission is £25.50. 

But they face a campaign launched to try and get future repetitions of the show axed. 

Broadcaster Dominique Samuels, who shared the original footage on Twitter, urged people to contact the company with concerns over safeguarding. 

Sharing the footage to her followers, she claimed organisers ‘target babies’ and are engaging in ‘grotesque grooming’.

But prominent members of the LGBT+ community in the UK hit back, accusing her of spreading lies and ‘fomenting hate… for clout’, including Drag Race UK icon Crystal.

Crystal replied to Ms Samuels: ‘I’d like to bring to your attention that you are lying, fomenting hate, and generally despicable – all for clout on the internet. 

‘Get a real job! Maybe try drag!’

A campaign to get the 'drag act for babies' show cancelled is growing on social media after Dominique Samuels shared the footage online

A campaign to get the ‘drag act for babies’ show cancelled is growing on social media after Dominique Samuels shared the footage online

CabaBabaRave has a sold out show on March 11, while further events are due to take place through to the end of May at the Flair Ground in the Vaults near Waterloo (pictured)

CabaBabaRave has a sold out show on March 11, while further events are due to take place through to the end of May at the Flair Ground in the Vaults near Waterloo (pictured)

CabaBabaRave brands itself as a ‘little slice of afternoon delight’ that intersperses cabaret with ‘captivating baby sensory moments’ before ‘ending in a rave’ 

Many of the parents in attendance could be seen taking photographs and videos of the performances as they watched

Many of the parents in attendance could be seen taking photographs and videos of the performances as they watched

Sherlock actress Amanda Abbington waded in on the debate, tweeting: ‘I lost quite a few followers for saying that a semi-naked man in thigh high boots dancing in a highly sexualised way shouldn’t be performing in front of babies and it tells me everything I need to know about where society is heading. How do you not agree with me on this????’

One commentator added: ‘More concerned that the parents think that sort of thing is appropriate and took their babies there in the first place.’

Expressing disbelief, a Twitter user said: ‘What parent (if we can call them that) in their right mind would subject ANY child to this. 

‘What damage is being done to this young minds; parents are there to protect children from this type of behaviour. Why is this being allowed to continue????’

The promo for a Christmas show at the Fox and Firkin, Lewisham, adds: ‘We wanted to create the type of event we ourselves as Mums would want to go to. There’s only so many times you can listen to the f****** Wheels on the Bus.

‘We wanted to give parents the experience of a “big London night out”.. cabaret, drinks and dancing.. but one you can bring your baby to and still be home for bedtime.’

The latest controversy comes after months of protests over events such as Drag Queen Story Time, which sees drag queens sit and read stories to children.



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