After running every Saturday night at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern for 25 years until the lockdown kicked in, Duckie, the South London gay club and cabaret night, has joined forces with Queen Mary University of London and launched “Duckie in the Community,” a PhD on the club’s work.
And so welcome Dr Duckie – aka ex-journalist Ben Walters – a self-described “in house bent boffin” who has spent 5 years examining the work of Duckie and written a hefty 100,000-word dissertation on the legendary LGBTQ clubnight and its ancillary projects.
When it’s ambition prompted an upgrade from gay clubs in Vauxhall, Duckie started to take itself seriously as a legitimate arts company and developed a programme of unusual events, inventive large scale club nights and ambitious interactive theatre shows. In order not to be ghettoised, it also spread its wings and began to serve an audience outside its core Vauxhall gay clubbers. This new programme included making cabaret shows for the over 70s, creating arts drop ins with homeless people in hostels in Lambeth and setting up a QTIBPOC youth theatre.
But long-term fans of its infamous Saturday night residency need not fear, as it plans to return to the RVT when the current health crisis is over, and restrictions for pubs and clubs are relaxed. If there is a future for Vauxhall “bentertainment” after the lockdown Duckie hopes to be at its centre and is planning to survive and thrive for another 25 years into the future.
To read the Dr Duckie PhD or watch a 60 minute talk about the research, go to duckie.co.uk/drduckie
Both photos below feature Duckie’s core crew of 25 years: Hostess Amy Lamé, DJs Readers Wifes and Doorwhores The Cloths