New film to celebrate drag queens who saved bowls club
A NEW documentary centred on the beloved drag queens who helped save North Ipswich Bowls Club from closure will soon hit the small screen.
Bowled Over, which showcases the heart-warming journies of three star performers, is set to premiere on SBS network this coming Tuesday.
It is an impressive feat for director, producer and writer Mandy Lake, who first pitched the idea to network bosses little more than six years ago.
Despite initial plans to document the club's unique tale of survival, the storyline instead grew to focus on the stars of the stage - including 12-year-old Logan Kelly.
Widely known by his stage name Candy Featherbottom, the youngster appears right at home under the spotlight and in full make-up.
"He has been going [to the shows] as a patron for a while and absolutely loved the queens. It set something off inside of him," Ms Lake said.
"Logan's one of the most incredible people I've ever met, also one of the most mature and self-confident kids ever.
"He's incredibly well-balanced, he's so comfortable in his skin which is quite amazing at that age because let's face it, most of us are quite insecure.
Self-described "late bloomer" Ross Waghorn and Karl Eastaughffe star alongside Mr Kelly.
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Ms Lake said the moment she first stepped into the venue changed her life forever.
It was a project she refused to let die despite its initial rejection.
"I'm pretty sure it was one of the most joyous days of my life, what I witnessed, the absolute love in the room for the drag queens was just a sight to behold really."
Despites its moments of humour, themes tackled in the production prove crucial to modern day audiences - beyond the LGBQTI community.
"It's also important for parents, in supporting their children to help them become the people they want to become, it's all about acceptance," she said.
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"I'm hoping [the documentary] will be a bit of a game changer in a lot of ways."
"Drag is a performance art, I want to dispel a few notions about what some people see it as."
The film also delivered a much-needed lifeline for the once ailing club as it again rebuilds following COVID-19 shutdowns.
"We've become incredibly close with the people who run and attend the bowls club," said Ms Lake.
"This little bowls club has now survived for 7 years with the help of the queens; it was sort of first founded by the railway workers and when the workshops closed down, they lost a lot of their drinkers," she said.
This coming weekend, however, will likely prove a far cry from the club's once empty bistro.
The popular drag trio will again return to the the stage for their first sold-out performance back following last year's shutdown.
"Des 'The Pres' Whelband is 80 now and he's still behind the bar on a drag show night."
"It's like waiting for Christmas, but only better. It's a combination of six years of persistence and hard work," said Ms Lake.
Bowled Over will premiere on SBS at 8.30pm on January 19.