My Son’s a Queer; what can you do? Interview with Rob Madge

Pride month has been over for a little while now and the rainbow corporate logos go away for another year. But of course, queers are for life, not just for June. So we’re out here celebrating again, chatting to Rob Madge, the mastermind behind My Son’s a Queer; (but what can you do?) at the Belgrade.

I initially found out about Rob via TikTok, and didn’t put two and two together at first. I had no idea that he was from Coventry when I found him doom-scrolling during the Panny D, so of course I was so excited to interview him and learn all about the show and his feelings on Pride.

What can we expect from the show?

First and foremost, it’s a comedy show with a little about how to encourage a queer child to be themselves sprinkled in. The first half is utter chaos, as I recreate a Disney parade that I put on when I was twelve, all of which are true and well documented on VHS! I’ll teach you how to put on a show properly.

I first saw your ‘shows’ on TikTok – how did that come about?

I didn’t really intend for it to happen – it was my one platform when theatres were closed during the pandemic. Whereas I always tried to do the comedy clubs, online it was only to make my friends laugh really. The Disney Parade show really took off and so then from there I thought to make the most of it but theatre is my true passion. It’s my home.

A lot of performers did similarly, but of course, theatre is your true calling then, would you say?

It’s all I can do. We say we might all get replaced by AI but I can’t do anything else; like I’m no good at the air-fryer, I’d be a terrible chef! I’ve thought about loads of things I’d like to do but theatre always wins in the end.

What’s it like to be back and performing in Coventry?

I was born here, I was a student at Warwick Uni… spent many nights at the Kasbah… and when I was a kid I always used to come to the Belgrade pantomimes every year, back when Mark Rattray played Buttons. I’ve never played there though so I’m really excited to come back to my hometown and perform a show which is set around the area.

Coventry are having a Pride festival again this year. What does having a local Pride mean to you?

When I was growing up, Pride didn’t seem very accessible to me and then just last year, a nearby town Ashby-de-la-Zouch, had a small festival on the same day as London Pride. I thought, what should I do – go to London which is going to be huge and spectacular… or just take my dad to his first local Pride? We went with that instead and it was one of the most special days I’ve ever had. We were embracing queerness with the farmers down the local village pub; they were all there wearing rainbows across their face for a day and I would never have ever foreseen that as a child. If I’d have seen that as a kid… well it all worked out in the end but it would have sped up the process of knowing myself.

What are your feelings around Pride and embracing queerness?

It can be quite corporate, but visibility is so important. Every day of my life, is Pride. It’s lovely that we had the month of June but I hope our allies understand that we exist beyond last month. It continues to be a protest, now more than ever. It’s deeply joyful, celebratory but at its heart is about standing up for what is right; at its root is love. The concept of loving people for who they are, unconditionally and accepting them – we should embrace that every day of every year.

Come and embrace Pride with us this theatre season, with My Son’s a Queer, but what can you do? Tickets are now available at Belgrade and other theatres across the country up to the end of August 2024.

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