New drag queen story time planned after protestors stop event

Storytime with Auntie Titania is coming to two north Norfolk libraries.

Auntie Titania at a story time event. - Credit: Supplied

There has been an outpouring of support for a Norwich-based drag queen whose story time event in north Norfolk had to be called off due to protestors. 

Joseph Ballard, from the story time organisers, theatre group New Stages, said the response since the planned event featuring 'Auntie' Titania Trust at North Walsham Library on Tuesday was stopped had been "phenomenal". 

Mr Ballard, who grew up in North Walsham, said: “There has been an incredible flood of support that has come forward, thousands of messages.

“The protestors weren’t locals, most were from outside the Anglia region. North Walsham has always supported me in my theatre ventures. It’s a friendly and welcoming place.”

But Mr Ballard said he had also been subject to online abuse from members of far-right groups. 

The Forum, Norwich Credit: Archant

The Millenium Library in Norwich's Forum will host a story time event with Titania Trust. - Credit: Archant

Nick O’Brien, chair of trustees of Norwich Pride, said they stood in solidarity with Mr Ballard.

“Joe is a family-friendly performer and would have thought very carefully about how to put the show together," he said.

“Norwich Pride was a fantastic event on Saturday (July 30), but we need to make sure we support queer people throughout the year.”

Most Read

Mandy McKenna, a retired teacher who taught Mr Ballard theatre studies at Paston College, also lent her support.

She said: "He is a self-starter, has huge energy and commitment to both his community, education and his artform.

"His events are thoughtful, full of energy and joy. 

"Drag queens and panto dames are part of our great theatre tradition."

Titania will now host a story time at Norwich's Millennium Library on August 17, although new dates for events in North Walsham and Cromer - which was also postponed - have not yet been set. 

Norwich City Council said its "top priority" was the safety of those taking part, which could be tricky at libraries as they were designed to be open and accessible. 

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, NCC's cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said the Norwich event would also be livestreamed.

She said: “We take our responsibilities as part of the Libraries of Sanctuary network seriously, and are determined that our libraries – which are community facilities – offer a safe and inclusive space for everyone.

"That is why we’ve been proud to host previous events with Titania and will continue to do so."