QUEER LIVES: Meet Five Icons That Inspire Estelle Chout
The Eternal Queers is about to premiere at Wellington Pride Festival and we couldn’t be more excited to share this interview with the playwright Estelle Chout.
We introduced you to Estelle last month and want to share more about the woman behind the play and the people who have inspired her. The Eternal Queers is play that explores what happens when four queer icons find themselves together at a party and each of them have a story that resonates deeply with our playwright, and everyone who has worked on this production.
The original concept by Chinwe Akomah has given Estelle the breadth and space to explore and reflect upon the, queer icons that have inspired Estelle to find her truth, stand up for what is right, AND to love herself..
Join us in learning about the five queer icons that have shaped Estelle’s life.
I am very partial to female badassery and Stormé, well,… she raised the bar to stratospheric levels. I just wish there was a video of her patrolling the streets of lower Manhattan with a gun at her hips - and if there is, I’d like to know!. To be born bi-racial in the 20s in New Orleans to then go onto become a pioneering, trail-blazing butch lesbian is mind-blowing. Just imagine the amount of courage, resolve and knowing this would have taken.
This is more recent and obviously linked to the movie that came out. I had not realized she actually existed. I thought Ma’ Rainey was one of August Wilson’s fictional characters. Here was a queer-middle aged-dark-skinned-blues-singing artist from the segregated south, incredibly tapped into herself, living her truth unapologetically and thereby giving hope and solace to people. As an actor and writer, I find this truly inspiring.
I’m fascinated. People who are ahead of their time fascinate me. I have avidly read and watched every article and documentary about her. She was a brilliant woman. A woman for the ages. I discovered her when I was around seventeen and her “special relationship” with Lorena Hicock aka “Hick”, made a lasting impression on me.
When I was a little girl growing up in Martinique, Grace Jones would every now and then pop up on TV. I would then stop in my tracks to watch her, everybody in my family would. I was amazed and bewildered. I realized now what she did. She gave me an understanding that there is truth in wackiness, genius in difference. And yes, you can smash your way against the mainstream current.
Tennis was my sport growing up. I played it a lot and watched it even more. Martina was different to the other players. She looked different. I can still remember the disparaging comments from some family members: “she’s too muscular… she’s like a man… look at her arms…”. I remember her arms perfectly. The ten-year old me wanted arms exactly like that.
These queer icons shaped Estelle’s life and her latest play, The Eternal Queers features four amazin BIPOC icons including: Carmen Rupe, Chungsheng Wu, Stormé DeLarverie and To’oto’oali’i Roger Stanley