Concerns raised around Cambridge Junction children’s show by drag act
Two campaign groups have raised concerns about the appropriateness of a series of children’s parties at the Cambridge Junction run by drag artists.
The Safe Schools Alliance and Cambs Women Together raised concerns after finding the Instagram account, which has since been made private, and website of Palaver's organiser Adam Carver containing adult images including pictures of them in women’s underwear and holding sex toys.
They feared children could access the images online – and have stated this is a safeguarding issue.
However, the management at Cambridge Junction have given the shows their full backing and say the shows, the first of which was held on September 13, are “completely appropriate for children”. It is the adult performers, not the children, in drag.
Tanya Carter, of the Safe Schools Alliance, referring to the images on the performer’s Instagram before it was made private yesterday (Tuesday), said: “Children who see the show will be able to start Googling the performers. They will very quickly come across this Instagram feed, with loads of highly inappropriate sexualised images. The most concerning image is of Adam dressed up as a pig in some sort of leather bondage gear.”
She also referred to a picture of the performer dressed as Father Christmas holding an adult sex toy.
“Again, that’s not suitable for children,” she said, adding: “Children who are going to grow up to be gay or children who are trans identified have as much right to be safeguarded as any other child.”
The Cambridge Independent is not able to publish these pictures due to their sexual content.
A spokesperson for Cambs Women Together, a feminist campaign group, said: “Drag is absolutely fine for adults, but it is sexualised adult entertainment. It’s overtly sexual and really not something that three- to eight-year-olds should be introduced to at all.
“And one of the lines that Cambridge Junction had on their website (which has since been removed) was that Palaver is a space where ‘boundaries are forgotten’. I found that frightening because boundaries are what keep children safe.”
Cambridge Junction said: “The Palaver events are completely appropriate for children. They are aimed at ages three to eight as well as parents who are encouraged to join in. Many of the performers have previously created shows for children, and in fact one of the performers is making a piece with their child.
“The ‘no boundaries’ description we originally used when publicising the shows refers to the creation of a safe space where children can feel comfortable and be themselves. All the artists involved in the project have been asked ‘what did you need to see when you were younger?’ and have used this as a way to create shows which speak to their experiences of growing up as an LGBTQ+ person.”
The Junction added that while some drag would be inappropriate, this was not the case with Palaver.
Adam Carver said the website referred to was a personal site acting as a CV for all their work, including the Palaver shows, adding that Palaver is organised by Fatt Projects rather than the character Fatt Butcher seen on the website.
The performer said: “As artists and producers we all create work for a range of different audiences. This is the case with all artforms and media, for example an actor might perform in both films or plays for grown-ups (with content suitable for over-18s) or for children (with content suitable for all ages), without their intentions being questioned. All Palaver performances and events have been carefully crafted for younger and family audiences. All of our lives include different elements that we share with different people in different ways... depending on suitability”.