Vancouver fundraisers held to support theatre and security for youth drag camps

Click to play video: 'Carousel Theatre holding fundraiser to pay for security'
Carousel Theatre holding fundraiser to pay for security
Vancouver's carousel theatre is hosting two fundraisers today -- in order to pay for security -- security that they say will be needed after a federal party leader publicly criticized their upcoming youth drag camp online. Paul Johnson reports. – May 27, 2023

The Carousel Theatre for Young People on Vancouver’s Granville Island is holding two fundraising events on Saturday.

The two events will feature performances by the Vancouver band Queer as Funk and drag artists from the House of Carousel.

The first fundraiser will be “an all-ages afternoon extravaganza with face painting, games, and dance fun for the whole family.”

Doors open for that event opened at 2 p.m. The second fundraiser will begin at 7 p.m. for a 19+ event.

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B.C. MLA introduces motion in support of drag performers

A spokesperson for the carousel theatre said they’re the biggest fundraising events for the year, which will support future performances, camps, and activities.

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It will also fund security for two upcoming youth drag camps as the theatre said it has been on the receiving end of a targeted hate campaign.

“(Staff) has been subject to online harassment, calling harassment — all kinds of harassment,” said Samantha Falk, a Carousel Theatre for Young People spokesperson.

“It’s death threats, it’s vitriolic hate. It’s terrible the kind of harassment they’ve been subjected to.

“Physical threats, emails, phone calls for almost eight weeks, every day. It has been relentless.”

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The theatre is holding two three-day drag camps in July. One is for children aged 7 to 11 and the other for teenagers, aged 12 to 17.

“The summer drag camps are opportunities for young people to have theatrical self-expression in a safe and nurturing place and a place they can just be themselves,” Falk said.

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“Some people find that objectable, unfortunately.”

Theatre officials said funds are needed to pay for security as they have heard dangerous and anti-LGBTQ2 rhetoric aimed at their events.

That includes a tweet that the leader of the People’s Party of Canada Maxime Bernier directed at the theatre at the end of March. He called the drag camps “disgusting” and that it’s “indoctrinating kids with gender ideology and sexual confusion.”

“It’s been a really difficult time. There have been so many vile, horrible emails and calls,” said Jocelyn Macdougall, Carousel Theatre for Young People’s chair and lead singer for Queer as Funk.

“It has left our staff afraid and feeling unprotected. Who thought as a children’s theatre company we would have to worry about our physical security but also online security?

“Our team would rather be spending their time building incredible experiences of inclusion and learning for young people, but instead they are worried about whether or not they’ll be able to keep the staff and the young people safe.”

Global News has reached out to Vancouver police for comment.

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Nelson, B.C. library postpones drag storytime event after receiving threats

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