Bringing family-friendly drag shows to Hout Bay


Eleven years after converting an old fish factory in Hout Bay into one of the hottest weekend spots in Cape Town, the Bay Harbour Market is breaking ground with family-friend drag entertainment.

Who would have anticipated that the introduction of feather boas and diamante stilettos in the line-up of live family entertainment would draw crowds from all over the city. Has drag gone mainstream in the Mothercity?

Since the introduction of a drag show in October 2021 at Bay Harbour Market, local stars Kat Gilardi and Manila von Teez have entertained full houses with their catchy roster of sing-along classic tunes.

With a focus on fun festivities that the whole family can enjoy, Drag in the Bay is set to open the possibilities for a new generation of drag enthusiasts and help make it increasingly mainstream in the entertainment industry.

“During a brainstorming session with our traders in the middle of the pandemic, it was suggested that Bay Harbour Market should lead the way in being inclusive when it comes to representing talent and entertainment in Cape Town,” says Lyn Mance, Bay Harbour Market stakeholder and head of marketing.

“So, we got to work on revising our entertainment lineup – and as a space and stage that wholeheartedly loves and supports the arts and entertainment, it was a no-brainer that drag should be included in the line-up.”

For Kat and Manila, performing for the community of Hout Bay has been a game-changer. “Being able to perform at the Bay Harbour Market has been huge,” says Manila.

“It’s spaces like these that allow us to show our art to all of South Africa and hopefully draw new followers.” Kat couldn’t agree more. “It’s been amazing to educate a community that may not have been familiar with what we do and people who wouldn’t necessarily come out to the venues for a drag show.”

And audiences at the market have welcomed the duo with open arms. “The crowd that comes to watch Kat and Manila are so diverse; everyone seems to have a soft spot for our fabulous performers,” says Lyn. “The girls are fabulous, and the vibe is electric.”

One regular, David Thomas, had this to say about the first show: “What an amazing night with the two drag queens. The market was rocking, so well supported. I hope they will become a regular feature!”

He was just one of many, so the market took their advice, and now offers a drag show every three months.

“Even though we’re professionals, we still get nervous,” laughs Kat. “But the appreciation we’ve received from the crowds at Bay Harbour Market has been so worth it. Now, we even have our regular patrons.”

Manila adds: “We know drag has been around for many years as a form of activism, but seeing people just accept and love us for who we are, with no judgment, is a dream for many of us.”

“Watching families dance together, parents bringing their children to enjoy us and dancing along, it is amazing,” says Manila. “We had a couple who saw us for the first time at Bay Harbour Market, and now they attend every single show of ours – at the market and other venues.”

The experience has been an eye-opening one for the Bay Harbour Market audience. “It gave the market an opportunity to showcase what it offers to a new audience while pleasantly surprising its existing one,” says Lyn.

If you haven’t been to a show yet, you are missing out. “You can expect lots of fun, energy and nostalgia,” says Kat. “So, come out and have the biggest sing-along of your life.”

Catch Kat Gilardi and Manila von Teez on the stage at Bay Harbour Market again this August. Bay Harbour Market is open every Friday between 17:00 – 21:00, and every Saturday to Sunday from 09:30 to 16:00.

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