Shaughan Woodcock - Queen of the Whole Universe

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[00:00:00] This podcast is brought to you by the queen of the whole universe Charitable Trust of instrumental in pride in [00:00:09] So my name is Sean Woodcock and I have been in the Queen the whole universe, train or journey. Since about 2008. [00:00:19] You say journey, do see it as as [00:00:22] Absolutely, it's some, it's quite intense sexually, because it goes for about three, four months, but time you, you get all your rehearsals and you do all your costume changes. And of course, you once you've been fitted for your dress, and you start making it, you can't eat, because that leads to problems plus the time you know, so you're on a diet of dust, pretty much. But all through the rehearsals and you're and you're meeting new people and you're reconnecting with old ones. And it's not just about during the pageant, and then that search. You know, I've as I said, I've been with the pigeon foot since 2009. And I still got from that when the first year, they will still doing it. So I don't see the pageant is just a one off, kind of TT ending type thing. Because it's the people that carry on that legacy. [00:01:12] Hopes we can just rewind a bit and go through that whole process of getting prepared for a pageant. I hadn't realized that [00:01:22] took that long to it was quite a year. It's a long process. When you think about that, the length of time and the amount of people that are involved to make it happen. And really, it's for three hours on one night. It's kind of like what I do now type scenario. But yeah, I mean, you've got your rehearsals, which is on average couple of nights a week, for about two to three hours each night. If you're fortunate, like I have been to be backup dancer and to performance as well. That's additional rehearsing, then you need to find a time to start thinking about what you're going to we're within the concept of what Buffy and bimbo have designed. And there's all the you know, as I said, you got to make the outfit or get the outfit made for you. Then there's the headcase section. So that's representing who you're representing. So I'm 2008 I represented Uranus. So I was to say, Uranus, and give them a [00:02:27] good laugh. Don't put that on my mother's copyright. [00:02:31] Next year in the 10th year, and the final show, I was stuck as to what I was going to base, I have decided that I'm going to go out the way that I came in. And it's three years so. [00:02:43] So I'm going to do this again. [00:02:47] So the Hickey section is all about you, kind of dressing. What you there, you know, what you're representing so well. So how does that feel? [00:02:57] To feel good photography, let's really. [00:03:01] But I mean, the feeling is quite intense. Yeah. And you get a lot of laughs and you get a little joyous and a lot of people go, Wow, that's really great. And then they scurry away and then they make some changes to the one and then they come back [00:03:15] to it of it looks really so actually it's quite competitive. Yeah, absolutely. [00:03:18] Absolutely. But in a good, friendly way. Not so much, though. Not the normal, we're off and not that I will declare to [00:03:26] you. So you're saying that Buffy and bimbo come up with a kind of concept for the show? They do? Do you know how that is formulated? [00:03:37] I guess I only know a little bit about that. But they produce the kind of colors of what they want to see you. And for the main reason anyone either way is a kind of the same color. Strict suit rolls around the dress and how it should look. So for 2008 when you first started, what were the color schemes for that year, the color scheme, you could choose whatever color you wanted, some long as the dress was the same way that that Buffy and bimbo have kind of outlined? Yeah. [00:04:09] So it's quite an open design. [00:04:10] Yep. Yep. The only really restriction as it's falling. That was a good split up your leg type thing. And, you know, the audience likes to see a bit a leak. So Mr. And Mrs. Always happy to have a [00:04:23] face [00:04:26] in preparation for showing but of League. Yep. Did you have to do any special bond that you have? To? [00:04:33] course I've never diet? Because I'm just the perfect science. But there's a lot of grooming that goes on. So you've got to shave. And [00:04:41] yeah. Have you done [00:04:44] this kind of performance before? No, not whatsoever. I saw the first opens, the first often show that I've been to was in 2007. And I had some friends on us. And I just thought, well, this is absolutely amazing. And so I decided that I would join the 2000 Tonight Show. And I was actually fleshing with three others that were doing it that that year as well. Two of them are bringing up previously another one was was new to it. So we decided that as a flight, we were going to go in and have a ball. And to be honest, I've never looked back. [00:05:17] Other any entry requirements or Can anyone just [00:05:20] and there is some entry requirements. And Jonathan always likes to know why you're doing it and kind of what you're what you're going to bring to the show as well. And the concept is what Jonathan designed it to be, but obviously the the main outcome of it is to raise money for AIDS and HIV awareness. [00:05:42] So what was your reason for getting involved? [00:05:45] I've always wanted to be on stage. Surprise, surprise for gay guy. [00:05:52] But never never got that far I had no intent. I'd never imagined that I would be in a dress with a wig. And are you but stepped away quite nicely. But ya know, I've always wanted to be on stage, I've always had a passion for helping the community as well. And that was my way of doing that. That was [00:06:11] the first show. Has that changed over the subsequent years? [00:06:19] No, I don't think so. No, I'm still passionately involved still keep stoking. Love meeting the guys and girls that are with it. And yes, I said it's a, it's a train that I consider as it's a journey. And you start from point A and you go to point B but there's a long process that happens in between it. And the first year that I wasn't it. There were a couple of guys or partner that one of these family member had died as well. And so you kind of all brought in as a family it as a as a one big family type environment. [00:06:57] It's been going for a while now for at least one coming up to 10 shows. I'm wondering, you're saying with like family in Germany? Are there specific things that bind everyone together? [00:07:15] I guess the we're all the for the one cause and that's to raise money. But we're all there for to have a good time and to have some fun and have a laugh and meet new people. And you know, how else would you get on stage without being able to dance properly or sing properly or be the right wrong size or run height or anything like that? And be on stage at a sentence in front of 15 or 1700? People? I mean, you just couldn't do that. And normally, I mentioned [00:07:46] the rehearsals must be quite intense when you're dealing with such a diverse range of abilities. Yeah. It's only intense when Jonathan decides he's going to put his foot down. [00:08:00] We may have been, you know, mucking around a little bit or talking or coming back, you know, like from having a diet muffin or something like that. But yeah, I mean, there's there's always a little bit of discomfort at the beginning for for some people. And some people pick up the moves a lot quicker. Some people don't some people never do that. Yeah, we're all we all help and people will pull you out and say, Oh, how did you do that? Or how to just swing your hips this way? And that's that's the family type aspect that I've been referring to? [00:08:32] What is Jonathan's directing style? How does he How does he follow the Most [00:08:36] Holy guy totally get? No. [00:08:40] He's very open. He's very, very passionate about what he does. And that passion brings us all together as well. It all starts from the top and when it's around quick Tw you with Jonathan at the helmet is very much at the top. He brings us all together, he keeps us updated. He tells us to you know harden up and we're complaining about moves that may not be easy or hard. But yeah. [00:09:10] Are you wearing heels and rehearsal? [00:09:13] Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, I think it's as important the first couple of rehearsals I don't, because you kind of when you haven't been wearing them, or you don't read them all the time. You got to get used to them. But you know, first couple of lessons I do. And then I think it's important, especially from my perspective, that you're not only learning the most, but you're learning the most on learning how to do those moves within the heels that you're wearing, which is equally important because in the end of the day, you don't want to fall over and break a test or something. [00:09:47] And make lucky and make yourself look like a duck on stage. So [00:09:50] do you have any input into the choreography or the design of the work? [00:09:56] And not that I've ever confessed to Jonathan that every now and again we'll we'll win the choreographer Sarah who's absolutely amazing will teach us the routine and we may not all just get it so and sometimes we don't get it because we purposely forget and we say oh what about this it's one of those things you have to have everybody in the room together to actually make it work sometimes we do tweak it a little bit and then if we don't get on when we're on stage the night so [00:10:28] and you were mentioning before that you are also a backup dancer and a secondary What does that involve [00:10:35] more rehearsal [00:10:37] more glitter and more outfits yeah a little bit more pressure as well because the main show you're for me I'm performing with my my friends and you're also performing for the community to give them a good time they've paid money to come and see you and so when your backup for net to you're doing it for the actual person that that's during that role and they were obviously competing for the the title crown so you know you need to be on form and you need to do it to the best of [00:11:07] your ability and each of those people that are representing the country is Yeah, yeah. So in the times that you've been a backup dancer what what countries were you hoping [00:11:17] so I have been backup for last year as backup for Miss Haven and I was also backup the previous here for Miss France. [00:11:36] So can you describe what the garments are hitters would [00:11:42] Yeah, form is France. Very simple outfit as free kind of siloed boyish type looking even though you're a girl nice and loose which is always good because but you know by time you had a couple of hours of makeup on you're feeling like a little bit of a stuffed goose by the for Miss haven It was very started off the Wizard of Oz type look and feel when you run out you know blonde wig, white singlet white sort of frilly things and you've also got a gray funnel on your head because that's what I was for Wizard of Oz and then it kind of the storm comes along and the heat gay comes off and then you put the butterflies on your head and you carry on dancing and you know umbrellas appear and you're dancing with umbrellas and yeah, absolutely amazing. [00:12:33] So you're going from a two men to a butterfly [00:12:35] Yeah. Yeah. Or nine to [00:12:40] legalize really. [00:12:42] Sometimes it's a bit hands off shift supposed to be a lady. [00:12:48] What is that like being on stage and suddenly realizing that you're on stage and then maybe that you should be crossing leaks? [00:12:56] Yeah, the very first time [00:13:00] nerves kickin, especially during technical rehearsal. And for dress rehearsal. When you're out the back and you, you start to get really crappy and you're stressing out because you can't get help because nothing's organized. And you know, you want to put everything on on the night. And you always get a little bit of news right at the beginning because before the person goes out, we're all on stage ready to go. And you can feel the intensity you can feel the heat you can see that it feels people talking and using unica Whoo, you know, it's getting really excited. And the crowd goes, the curtain goes out. And we like hardcore, you know, it's showtime. And that's absolutely amazing. Absolutely amazing. And then at the end of it, you think what was so worried about? What were the nerves all about? But I guess, to be me on stage to be the best that I am able to be? The nerves is quite good as well. Yeah. Then you don't get too cocky. [00:13:56] Can you describe for me the change in your personality or persona from being kind of real world Shawn and then being on stage? [00:14:06] Yeah, um, I guess I'm a little bit more cheeky or and fishier. As soon as I put my boots my wig on Yeah, generally as the boots that down that do it. So yeah, I'm not I'm not too much different. But you kind of, I wouldn't say to get away, well, you kind of get away with a little bit more than you would normally. But then you're in the same group of people anyways, so And you, you get to flute up to, you know, to the guys that are at the backstage that they actually the crew of a tier that not actually part of us. And we're kind of suddenly going Oh, what's this all about? type thing? You guys really? How are you, you know, push up the old factors. And I love it. I absolutely love it. So for me, it's about not going too far out of who I am. But you're definitely there to have a good time. So yeah. And you got to play up to the crowd, because that's what they're there for. I want to see your legs, they want to see everything's [00:15:03] What does that experience of standing in front of sight 2000 people like [00:15:09] it's very surreal, actually. And every time I'm on stage performing, I'm always very humbled to be there. Because I don't think it's perfectly natural thing for me, especially Pinterest as a woman. But I am honored and humbled to be part of such a great show and a great experience. It's not just about the show, it's about the friendships that are formed and the friendships that go on long after the show. We're always a little bit depressed the first week after the show, because we've had such a minute build up to it. And then you kind of live after you get over your tiredness you like, What am I supposed to do now? But those friendships are always there. [00:15:52] And when the crowd goes wild, [00:15:55] we got robbed as well. Absolutely. And their intensity that sounds if they were suddenly looking at Stan Mallett Second, you know, what if I just come to, we wouldn't give as good a performance, I don't believe so we're kind of feeding off the loud G's and cheese and totes and the whistles going off. And that just makes the whole experience a lot more better. And you what sweets I'm trying to look for you. You play up to this a little bit more as well. And, you know, a few sitting in front of 5070 year olds that didn't know what they were doing. That were just kind of looking at Yeah, you wouldn't you just give a plane performance in my view, but because they there for good time. They know what they're there for. And they play off and we play up and let's describe. [00:16:46] So as a quite interactive, [00:16:48] it can be interactive, yet some of the shows that Jonathan has done have been interactive, Daniel Wellington, I was there was six of us set head to in between certain sections of the show. We had to dress up as Amy Winehouse. And because the beautiful theater down and Wellington had the old boxes all at the staple centers. Yeah, absolutely. And so during I think it was Act Two, there was six of us on one side and one of each box with an empty wine bottle. Jonathan, amen. Come on. And we were in a position for a couple of sections that were purposely built into part of that stage. And then we quickly disappear, which supposed to be quiet. But you know, we're in heels, we mean, and we've got two minutes to get to the other stage and pitch diamonds. It's ludicrous. It's ludicrous. But yeah, and it just kind of kind of brings on a little bit more [00:17:44] pizzazz to the show. Yeah. [00:17:49] audiences, [00:17:49] what kind of audiences Do you get mixed, very mixed. From what I understand there's quite a few heroes there as well. I've never managed to score after the show. But that's probably Mumbai fault. But you know, he chosen then you get the the gays and lesbians in the community members. We get politicians to support and support us. And then normally on the judging panel as well. We've also been fortunate to have common come out from Australia, and she's been a judge. So that's judging. Le more obviously, she's she's laid the Auckland judging panel for last couple of years. And [00:18:29] in terms of ages, are we talking young, old [00:18:31] lunch or I think, a good mixture between young and middle? Yeah, I don't really see many oldies there. [00:18:42] So how is it that a show can pull such a wide demographic? [00:18:50] I think it comes down to [00:18:53] the reputation of the show the people that are involved because they they're not they just to do the show, they're actually there to bring their friends and to see them as well. And I think, you know, hugely around Jonathan's participation and direction of the show and doing the media releases. I mean, it's a it's a 10 year show. And I guess if if the show wasn't producing anything that nobody wanted to say, or and to interact with, people wouldn't be attending. So I think it attaches the heart of what our community is about, touches about the education about HIV and AIDS, and also the fact that everyone say, for good time, how do [00:19:41] you think it's seen within the gay community? [00:19:44] Although I think it's mixed, actually, I think that [00:19:48] sometimes the gay community can be quite fickle, and the chin and kind of see it as all, you know, what's the point in going the show direct? And sometimes, which, of course, it's not, because if it was rigged, I would have won. [00:20:04] And sometimes [00:20:07] people can turn it into more of a personality issue. And that's really not what it's about. And at the beginning, Jonathan was quite open to the fact that don't you know, don't worry about going onto the forums of the local regs, because a lot of people will slag off the show and slag off Jonathan and that sort of thing. But I've read some of them think, you know, each to their own if one's entitled to their opinion, but this is largely coming from people that haven't actually seen the show. And I think they need to get on board, leave the personality behind and get on board with what the production is all about. And that's raising money to put back to towards HIV and AIDS. [00:20:53] You were saying that it's not rigged? It's not that nobody knows who's gonna win? Has there been any kind of controversial decisions, which [00:21:04] everybody? I think everybody that goes into an Act to performance believes that they will win? And I mean, that's not a bad attitude to have, I guess if I haven't done it, too. And yeah, I guess there's normally about five or six set tues and standing at the end of the night on the front of all of us, not being crowned or not getting a bunch of flowers, and you're kind of like, Oh, my God, you know? Yeah, I think there's always, people always think that they should win. And they will always think that they should win other others. But when you look at the different types of performances that actually are within an actor, some are more comedy, some are more drag fight performances, and some actually really damn good production shows. And it comes down to what the judge at the end of the day or the judging panel wants. And you know, you can have the best show in the world. But if they're looking for their Qantas to come out, and you've got to interact with the audience, and all those different aspects, some people don't get it. But I think at the end of the day, everyone should be proud of what they've been able to achieve. [00:22:17] Yeah. So when you start up, did you have any mentoring? Or did somebody assist you? Or were you just [00:22:24] mentoring? Nah, years beer. Um, I've been fortunate that every time I've formed, I've been sponsored by glitzy band cabaret on k road. And Campbell, who's the owner operator, as a good good friend of mine. Thank you, Campbell, thank you, Campbell, haven't approached some funding for next year, but we'll get there. You know, I've been fortunate that he's been able to provide some financial assistance to put it all together. Some people don't some people just put it together themselves. The girls that colored See also really good because fishing is color. She will kind of give me the creativity side women, the three of us, Campbell, myself and Miss Carla was set down, say, Okay, this is what I'm doing. What am I going to do. And so Campbell put his hat on and color will put here, five dresses on five weeks on. And then but how within a couple of hours, we've got a concept of what I'm going to be wearing and what my name is, and all those sorts of things. And it also touches on with another another aspect of being on stage at the time. I'm not there, just the for the community. I'm not there just to perform people. I'm actually here to support the people that have put me there, as well. So can you talk to me about the whole kind of transformation going from everyday, Shawn? through to your anus. [00:23:51] Thank you for that. [00:23:56] Yeah, I guess the [00:23:59] the, [00:24:01] the brain side of the transformation happens when I've got my boots on and my work on into the terms of the lead up, you know, there's a lot of preparation, you've got to get all your panty hose, you got to get the G strings. And you've got to shave and you can't get too close or too far out, you know, could you get Rachel then get stabbed on a slide? Yeah, there's a lot of prep, you've got to the last the lead the week leading up to the show is really when you're reaching your standard, which breaking point. Because you hope that everything is on track with your head gear outfit, you hope that you still fit your dress, you hope that when you put it on a dress rehearsal that still looks better than most of the others. Otherwise, you can go home and make some changes. And you get it you start to get really tired because you've been rehearsing for such a long time. And technical rehearsal is dress rehearsal or you know, six hour type stunts at a center. So the build up to it is quite intense. And then on the day you kind of blob around and make sure you've got everything like your pins and needles and extra stuff that you you may or may not need. And then kind of you you have to be there about three or four o'clock in the afternoon. And it does make a really long day. And you you're called into makeup sessions which and and so we all kind of take the Mickey out of everyone because it's kind of like Kevin, putting a sheet through a cattle ranch that goes through stages. And you can go there and then you they respect your eyebrows and floor you make all your family on. And then you live setting for someone to do your eyes and your lips and you kind of look like a deep corpse. And you're sitting there so you know these lovely people that that I've just talked fondly about take photos of you and then they post it to Facebook and you don't want to move because your face will start cracking and then you get told off so good. And then you kind of putting your bits together and you know your pantyhose and your dress. We normally have a call time about seven o'clock. And then we all on stage regardless of what position you're in what shape you're in what you're wearing, and half stone pretty much for that because the last minute kind of cool, because you don't want to put all your lighter self with all the G strings and pantyhose and then five minutes later I mean I've got to go the toilet. And it's just a big downhills this after that. So we do actor one performance behind better about seven o'clock is the warm up the run around let's let's do it. Let's hit it. And then it's a mad dash back to the changing rooms to finish everything off. And then we're on stage Showtime, have a blast and it's all over and God stays in centralized with some with the people that have watched you, which is great. [00:27:00] There are two things that you've mentioned that I on social work out of my head, I can understand one G string but you're saying multiple g strings. [00:27:08] I guess it depends how small you are. [00:27:13] The last thing you need was attractive woman with a second and now you know [00:27:19] people are paying good money. But I've been trying to save it. And it's not like you can halfway through this show just stop there and pop it back here and then carry on. It's just not feasible. [00:27:33] And the other one was pins and needles. [00:27:38] Sometimes these little issues you know him might come undone or flop the stigma and dolts No, no, we would never do that. Never do that. And of course we never purposely make sure we're around the change the changing room that john active and Buffy and Ben Bauer and you know, of course, we're always on the watch out to make sure their outfits perfect for them. But you gotta have extras and in yellow eyes, get people running past the pen. You know this has happened and it's always good to have have a few on side [00:28:10] during the days leading into the theater, or the technical rehearsals, etc. is the kind of much bitchiness going on behind behind the stage. Are they big drums? [00:28:21] No, no. And there's never any real bitchiness or drums. Sometimes people will have the odd hissy fit. Like when we're doing the technical rehearsal dress rehearsal. You've got to work out when you know make sure you're in the right placings, because all the rehearsals are done outside of the hall. And then when you come on stage, it's totally different could be different slightly size, width, all that sort of thing. So then you got to be replaced. And when we're doing the headgear of nations, and we're called on at specific times got to get the timing right as what's the throws everyone else out. And, you know, you get the one that I couldn't because such and such wasn't there or have you know, at the end the day you have to be there. And it always happens on the night. That technical interest rehearsals no means sometimes some of them are but frosting. [00:29:12] It must be quite hard to be [00:29:15] taken seriously, if you're throwing a bit of a TNT, I guess. I mean, I've never really had attempt in public normally went to like a fat. Yeah, I mean, I think everyone's kind of typical dress rehearsal, everyone's kind of on edge anyway, because they want to make sure they've got all the gear, they want to know or make sure that they know that they've got two minutes between when f1 finishes and they have to be on stage and they hit gear. They've only got two minutes. And if you get on the way, you'll get bolt type scenario. And some of them have really big hiccups because you know, two meters by two meters. They're not small. So there's always a little bit of tension to my sure that they can get into their outfit. Sometime they have the right helpers and the helpers know what they're doing. And then they get back on stage. So, [00:30:07] so are the mini help aspects. But yeah, [00:30:09] yeah, there's probably about 20 odd helpers. 20 or 30 odd Helpers? I would imagine. Yeah. And on stage, there's normally about 40 of us on stage. Yeah. Plus, let's, you know, obviously not including the stage manager, the call manager, the production manager, you know, all those sorts of things. So I think on average, it can go anywhere up to about 100 people on and off the stage in a title that leads me back to what I said that it's a three to four months journey to get to the show. And everyone is totally part of that. And then you live feeling at the end of it. What do I do now? Because you've spent the last three or four months preparing for this show that last three hours. Absolutely amazing show. But what now? [00:30:59] And what do you really does happen after after, but we normally have a couple of [00:31:03] catch upset and Jonathan and Kevin organize. [00:31:08] usually don't the long, long street theater where we actually see the show. Because you don't actually you know what you're doing and you know what's happening, but you don't actually see it from the other way. So I think that's good for us to actually see how the show locked, have a bit of a giggle as our you know, such and such you still didn't get the move. And they'll say, Well, I didn't do it in rehearsal. So why should I do it on the show. And then also, because you know what everyone's wearing for the dresses. But you don't always get to see or appreciate the effort that people have gone into with the heat gear of nations. And that's our opportunity to see it. [00:31:44] So you are in quite a privileged position in terms of one haven't been an audience member and seeing it from the audience and then actually being on stage. [00:31:51] Yeah, actually, to the show that the 10th and final. [00:31:57] I was quite undecided, actually, or whether I was going to be in the show or watch it. I have only seen it once. Did I want to be in the show? Because it was the last one? Or did I want to see it because it was the last one. And I just decided, you know, the last talk and chosen to Wellington shows and i and i wanted i wouldn't I wouldn't have felt comfortable seeing the show? Because I would have wanted to be in us. Yeah. [00:32:21] Push your way through the audience. [00:32:22] Absolutely. Capital of [00:32:27] its always well, the the question and answer time is always quite good. When Jonathan and given on stage, you know, might be waiting for an actor to be performed, you know, skits set up, and they do a question and answer type thing and audience can try it a little bit of Christians, they will have a jive about each other. And let that's always a good one. But it's not. For me, I would much rather be on the show, given the experiences that are found. [00:32:55] So I think now that the upcoming show is going to be the 10th and final show. What are your thoughts? [00:33:02] Whoo. Mixed actually. [00:33:06] Yeah, I can't I because I've done two shows in to Wellington shows. So this will be my final walkin show. I can imagine not doing another show the following year. But yeah, I mean, I'm glad that I have chosen to be on the show. I'm glad that I'm coming out the way that our intern as your anus. [00:33:30] Yeah, just thinking on the last show, when you're on stage, and you've got thousands of people in the audience and the dialogue, would there be any kind of special message that you would want to give to them? If you get the opportunity as a [00:33:46] special message? And [00:33:50] I guess the ultimate would be to thank them for their support. And without them we wouldn't have a show. I mean, there's a lot of I know there's a lot of things that make up the show but we could have the brilliant cast on stages we do that if no one's going to buy tickets, then why would you do it? So thanking them for their support over the years thinking the likes of or thinking about the different people that the show has been a fortunate lack of we take some more I don't know whether we allowed took that as more but you know, she used that opportunity to to come out to the community. So I think that's it Yeah, the show does give a lot of people a lot of things and ultimately it's that's thanking them for their support.

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