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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Before The Curtain Goes Up: Starwalker

David C Jones speaks with writer and director of Starwalker, Corey Payette, which receives its premiere at The Cultch's York Theatre.

The Cultch presents Urban Ink & Raven Theatre’s world premiere of Corey Payette’s Starwalker, the story of an Indigi-Queer Two-Spirit drag queen learning the ropes of the East Van Drag community.

In Payette’s new musical, when Starwalker is introduced to drag at the House of Borealis, their whole world changes, introducing them to a home they never knew they needed, creating a new persona that blends their grounded Indigenous cultural spirit with drag performance. The result is an empowering and celebratory experience that only tearing down the patriarchy can provide.

Commissioned and developed by Toronto’s The Musical Stage Company, their blank canvas offer gave Payette the freedom to explore a side of himself that he hasn’t spent as much time with his other work, allowing him to express the joy he finds in his Two-Spirit and queer identity.

“I really wanted to look at uplifting some of these voices in a way that was joyous and wasn’t tied to their trauma,” says Payette. “While the characters have experienced hardship, the show is actually about how they are working their way through those issues to find joy, to find love, and to find family and home.”

Starwalker shares a familiarity of style and scope with Payette’s past work – including Children of God and Les Filles du Roi – but brings to life a more modern story, presented with a contemporary score combining pop/rock music with pulsing drums and vocals.

In this edition of Before The Curtain Goes Up, Vancouver Presents contributor David C Jones speaks with writer and director of Starwalker, Corey Payette.

Starwalker plays The Cultch’s York Theatre (639 Commercial Dr, Vancouver) from February 16 through March 5. Visit thecultch.com for tickets and information.

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