First Edition

The Art of Drag: from Subculture to Culture.
The first Italian Queer Arts Festival as a live stream event, featuring entertainment and activism.

Starting from Wednesday, 31 March, to coincide with the International Transgender Day of Visibility, the first edition of DRAG ME UP – Queer Art Festival will take place.

The project promoted by Roma Culture, was the winner of the public funding grant from the CONTEMPORARY ROMA 2020-2021-2022 initiative, organised by the Cultural Activities Department, and it is has been developed in collaboration with SIAE.

The first edition of the Drag Me Up festival will be held as a series of live stream events until Friday 30 April 2021, led by the ONDADURTO TEATRO company, along with the artistic collaboration of the drag queen Holidolores and the drag-queen duo Karma B.

Drag Me Up ( puts the QUEER world at the centre of the contemporary scene, breaking into the mainstream with all its strength and expressive potential, turning the spotlight on performing arts such as Drag, Pop, Performing Art, Cabaret, Stand Up Comedy, and Opera. At first glance, these expressive languages may appear very different from one another, but they are united by a style and unquestionable artistic quality that the queer community has always been drawn to and which today have been brought together in a festival where multiple forms of expression can harmoniously coexist, which reflect the multiple forms of being.

From the graceful movements of Raffaella Carrà to the works of Bertold Brecht, from coquettish showgirls to the iconic divas of our time, right up to the words of great authors and the experiences of a life full of meanings. An artistic ensemble that will introduce the public to a colourful and ironic universe, in which images that are traditionally seen as poles apart will synergistically dialogue; songs will become tales narrated by voices that have been torn from well-known contexts, only to flourish in new, alternative visions, redefining that type of artistic calibre that goes beyond time, and continues to influence the contemporary scene today. A project that moves harmoniously between contemporary artistic codes and areas that blur the lines between art and life, giving rise to creative paths that investigate various human contexts.

The Drag Me Up festival, featuring performance events, meetings, photographic exhibitions and workshops, will take place as a series of live stream events, kicking off this three-year project, which started with a pre-edition that was held online in the last months of 2020, with the digital screening of shows that received the approval of hundreds of people connected to the network. Thus, the first Queer Arts Festival was born, with the mission to act as an international network for the contemporary arts and LGBTIQ+ activism. A true showcase that will represent all gender expressions, enhancing their characters through costumes, make-up and hairstyles, in a combination of irony and socio-cultural activism, which will generate greater reflection on social issues related to inclusion.

There are four spaces involved in this first edition of Drag Me Up, which has been conceived as an event that sees the city as a welcoming place of reception and shelter, in a number of points spread out across Rome, to underline the involvement of multiple social stratifications, from the city centre to the suburbs. From the OFF/OFF Theatre in Via Giulia, in the beating heart of Rome, passing through the Prenestina area, where the Centrale Preneste Theatre is located, to the Quarticciolo Library Theatre and the Lido di Ostia Theatre/Teatro di Roma. From the city centre right out to the suburbs and vice versa, for a festival that extends over the entire capital through spaces that are open to new points of view and connected to each other through culture.