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What is travesty?


Travesty is derived from the French travesti and means to disguise / disguise.


The travesty is an art form of cabaret and describes the representation of a stage role by persons of the opposite sex. The travesty artist takes off his disguise in the cloakroom at the latest.

The first form of travesty was more or less developed in ancient Greece. Here all the theater roles were played by men. In the 16th century a unique theater system developed in England. In the beginning women were not wanted on stage, the female roles were played by so-called young boy actors. It was not until the middle of the 16th century that women took on female roles and worked as authors. Women in trouser roles became fashionable and popular from the middle of the second half of the 17th century.

After the female actress had established itself as an integral part of the theater over time, the male travesty turned into an idealization or parodic exaggeration of the gender role.


The performances of the artists range from the creation of their own fictional character to the parody of celebrities. The humorous play with music, dance and singing plays a very large role in the shows. The imitation of eccentric divas is often built in exaggerated.

Drag queens (represented by men) and drag kings (represented by women) are also referred to as an art form of travesty that plays with disguises. However, this form takes place less on stage and is more or less permanently integrated into everyday life.

While a travesty artist slips into different roles in one evening, drag queens and kings embody a fixed role. Many Drags see their appearance as a political statement and want to draw attention to the gender system and a “third gender”. Many drags are therefore not just dazzling "disco balls", but also function as figureheads in the homosexual movement.


Well-known artists include Olivia Jones, Lilo Wanders, Mary and Gordy, Divine, RuPaul and Dame Edna Everage.