David Hoyle

A man in an old, black monks robe holding out a black cross in front of him.

David Hoyle

Anti-drag queen whose lacerating social commentary is offset by breathtaking instances of self-recrimination and even self-harm.

Performance artist and Manchester’s very own, David Hoyle came to prominence in the 1990s as the Divine David, a kind of anti-drag queen whose lacerating social commentary – targeting both bourgeois Britain and the materialistic-hedonistic gay scene, which he called “the biggest suicide cult in history” – was offset by breathtaking instances of self-recrimination and even self-harm.

Following a couple of outré late-night Channel 4 shows and a cameo in Velvet Goldmine, Hoyle killed the Divine David off during a spectacular show at the Streatham Ice Arena in 2000 and retreated to Manchester for “a period of reflection”.

“He is raw, sometimes a bit frightening, but also thrilling in his look-no-hands recklessness.”

– The Guardian

He returned to TV screens in 2005 in Chris Morris’s Nathan Barley, and then began performing live again, under his own name. This time round, the chances of serious injury in any given show seemed greatly reduced, but Hoyle’s biting satire, bravura costumes, wicked comic timing and compelling charisma remained intact.

As well as the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), with which he is most closely associated, he’s performed at the Soho Theatre, Chelsea Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Victoria & Albert Museum.

“There is nothing quite like it: bold and unique, electrifying and disarmingly humane”

– Time Out



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