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Lady Malcolm’s Servants’ Ball at Bishopsgate Institute


"We want to go deeper into undiscovered queer history, and with its brilliant archive and programme Bishopsgate Institute is the best place to do that, and we aim to have a lot of fun here this summer.” 

– Duckie hostess Amy Lamé

Back in the 1920s and ‘30s, Lady Malcolm’s Servants’ Ball was a notorious party on London’s queer scene. Despite the organisers warning against ‘sex perverts and degenerates’, working class queans and dykes flocked to the event, held annually at the Royal Albert Hall.  Their surviving stories reveal the secret lives of queer folk and the interplay between gender, class, modernity and authority between the wars.

Performance group Duckie took over Bishopsgate Institute to recreate this legendary event, complete with fortune-tellers, sideshows, dancers, Gentleman’s Club, 1930s honky-tonks and even ‘Lady Malcolm’ herself as host.

As well as the Servants' Ball on the Gay Pride weekend, Duckie also presented a Queer Heritage Spring Weekender and an Archive Display.

More about Duckie

This is the latest instalment of Duckie’s Vintage Clubbing Series - an homage to the London queers who came before – after their previous events looked at London’s lesbian scene in the 1950s with ‘Gateways’ and London gay scene in the 1960s with ‘Gross Indecency’.

From their legendary 21-year weekly residency every Saturday at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern to winning Olivier awards at the Barbican, Duckie are purveyors of progressive working class entertainment who produce Good Nights Out. For more info on them check out www.duckie.co.uk