Acting troupe explains why you should show your 18+ queer children the Rocky Horror Picture Show

by | May 31, 2024 | Resources & Support | 0 comments

The Rocky Horror Picture Show: queer classic or controversial, outdated display of LGBTQ+ stereotypes? The film and stage show has received criticism from some members of the queer community in recent years. Pride & Joy spoke to an acting troupe who hold an ‘immersive screening’ of the show every year on why it’s still relevant and important today. 

If you haven’t seen Rocky Horror, I don’t think I could tell you what to expect, so instead I’ll use three words: quintessential queer madness. But if this doesn’t sum it up perfectly for you, here’s a short synopsis from the Showroom Cinema website:

“Stranded on an isolated stretch of road, a young couple try to find shelter for the night. Instead, they discover the lair of the mad transvestite scientist Dr Frank-N-Furter, who is just about to reveal his latest creation, Rocky Horror, the ultimate man. Initially seduced by the doctor’s strange sexual magnetism, they are freed when the mansion’s servants take control.”

This is the third year the Horror Society , Drag Society and the LGBTQ+ Committee at the University of Sheffield have come together to host the fabulous, queer event. This year’s event will take place at the Showroom Cinema on the first day of Pride Month (1 June). The event is raising money for LGBTQ+ youth charity, SAYiT

Pride & Joy writers went down to a rehearsal of the show to speak to organisers and cast members. 

Eve (she/her) calls herself the ‘struggling organiser’ of the project, but is actually the bubbly, successful co-founder, producer and director. During the lively rehearsal, she 

“It all came about because I was having a conversation with my friend about the importance of Rocky and its history as a part of queer culture, as well as re-owning it and taking it back. 

“Then we realised we could do a show and at the same time raise money for a great cause like SAYiT.

“This year especially, it’s so important to raise money and awareness for trans youth. Being queer has always been hard but being young is also hard and they kind of co-inside.”

I could see how passionate Eve was about the cause and about the importance of the film for queer history. 

“Rocky Horror came out in 1975 and it’s definitely very of its time and there are a lot of people, especially younger people who watch it for the first time and think it’s hurtful and derogatory. There is language in there that we would never use and, when we do the show, we’ll be describing that and giving context to it.

“However, I know people who went to the cinema in 1975 and it was unheard of to be so freeing, ridiculously sci-fi and real in its representation. People criticise Frank-N-Furter because there is a long problematic history of LGBRQ+ people as villains. But actually he’s really sympathetic and you root for him.

“I know queer people who discovered who they were after watching Rocky. People have even come up to me and said they now know their pronouns after coming to see our show.” 

We also spoke to cast members of the show; Freya (she/her) plays Magenta, or the ‘crazy space witch’ as she calls her. Rocky Horror was a big part of her childhood.

“I’ve loved Rocky Horror for years. My Dad and I used to watch it all the time. It’s been a part of my childhood and I love all the weirdness.

“People coming to the show can expect a lot of goof and a lot of gags. It’s really immersive so we’ll get audience members involved in the scenes with interaction. 

“Raising money for SAYiT is so important, there’s a lot og LGBTQ+ youth that need help.”

Jake (he/him) plays Rocky, Frank-N-Furter’s muscly, gold-panted creation. 

“I saw the screening last year and knew I wanted to get involved. No one else auditioned for Rocky because of how revealing the part is but I was kind of typecasted. 

“Rocky Horror in general has always been something I’ve been able to find my quirks in and I think I’ll mortify my parents when they come to see it which is good.

“I’ve loved the show for ages and definitely watched it way too young. But it’s really important to me. I was first introduced to it when I watched the Perks of Being a Wallflower which was really instrumental to who I am today so it’s very healing of the inner soul.”

The Rocky Horror Picture show, while it can be seen as controversial, is an important part of queer culture.