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‘It’s OK to find your joy’: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars’ winner Jimbo brings her Drag Circus to town

Jimbo tour

“Jimbo’s Drag Circus World Tour” has 23 stops in Canada, from Toronto to Halifax, N.S., to Victoria, B.C.



The circus is coming to a town near you, but it may not be like one of your youth.

Hot on the heels of a successful run in the U.S., drag queen Jimbo of “Canada’s Drag Race” and the RuPaul drag race franchise is bringing “Jimbo’s Drag Circus World Tour” to Canada with 23 stops, beginning in Toronto on Thursday.

Complete with Jimbo’s unique persona, choreography and colourful stage presence, each night’s elaborate two-hour spectacle is a mash-up of tradition circus elements, drag race flair and Tim Burton-like expressionism. This isn’t your grandparents’ circus event.

We talked to Jimbo, who placed fourth on Season 1 of “Canada’s Drag Race” and won Season 8 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars,” as she prepared to begin the tour.

You have been part of drag history. Tell me first, what does drag mean to you?

Drag is all about self-expression. It’s all about art and it’s all about entertainment. What we do is all about bringing all of that magic that’s on the inside to the outside, and sharing it with the world. Drag, for me, is all about fashion. I’m a clown, and so it’s also all about making people laugh and entertaining people. And I also have a background in design and production. So drag for me is all about incorporating all of those things I love about storytelling and sharing with an audience.

“Jimbo’s Drag Circus World Tour” is about to kick off in Canada. You have said it is a dream come true. Tell us more about that dream.

I have been working very hard, for over 10 years in the film and theatre community here in Victoria, where I was behind the scenes and facilitating as a costume designer and prop designer, set builder and production designer. I was always wishing one day I’d be the star or that I might be able to tell my own stories, or that I might have a tour on my very own. I was able to go on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and really show all of those best parts about myself and really elevate my craft, and then come back to Victoria, my home, and back here in Canada. This beautiful country that I love so much so inspired me. I get to make art with my community, and make art with a lot of these friends and artists, and now I get to tour it across the country and create kind of a cool queer space that’s for everybody. It’s going to be really fun to take it to some smaller areas in Canada and really bring that magic into those communities.

On that point, some of those communities may not have had shows like yours before, let alone drag at all. What do you tell someone who has a narrow-minded image of what drag means and what it looks like, and where it belongs?

I think that at its root is really all about entertaining and storytelling, and it’s another form of storytelling which is deeply personal. It has a really wide and exciting breadth to it. So the beauty of drag is you’re invited in to see someone in their highest self and to share that. People should not be afraid to see people living in their joy and to know that it’s OK to find your own joy, and to find your own weird self and to share that.

I want to touch on the word circus. When someone imagines a circus, they probably imagine elephants, maybe someone breathing fire. What does your circus include?

My circus is all about magic. It’s all about possibility and it’s all about imagination. My circus is really sort of a trip into my brain and it’s got a little bit of nostalgia. I’m really heavily into “Pee-wee’s Playhouse” and “Beetlejuice.” I love Tim Burton. So I really want to bring people into my world.

Your style as a performer is so unique. What sets you apart?

I would say my background in clowning. I did some clown training with a local director here in Victoria, B.C., and I discovered that I just love improv. I love playing with an audience. I love making people laugh. And drag for me is about bringing people into a point of view, or creating a little world and telling a story, and really exceeding people’s expectations. So I want people to feel wild and really feel like they are witnessing something special and elevated.

Back to clowning, is that maybe your favourite part?

I think that’s definitely my favourite part. Clowning is all about really being in the moment. It’s really about being in service of your audience and really listening to what they’re looking for, and just really going there and being really free, not judging yourself and just being really silly and allowing people to see the freedom that comes in self-expression, and the joy that there is in not judging yourself and just being authentic and funny.

What will it take to call your tour a success?

We have this incredible spectacle. Come and check it out, be surprised, be shocked. That’s what I love.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

The Canadian leg of “Jimbo’s Drag Circus” kicks off Thursday at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Doors open at 7 p.m. Seequeenelizabeththeatre.cafor tickets.

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Credit belongs to : www.thestar.com

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