Performing the Persona

UntitledLois Weaver’s alter ego, Tammy Whynot, is a former famous country music singer turned lesbian performance artist. With this playful persona, Weaver directly engages community groups, and gets involved in advocacy for social and economic justice and experimental forms of democracy. Performing the Persona collects a range Tammy’s interventions, and shows how Weaver pairs brilliantly crafted theatricality with collaborative research and public dialogue.

Lois Tammy

Lois Weaver’s alter ego, Tammy WhyNot, is a former famous country music singer turned lesbian performance artist. This playful persona creates a structure for Weaver to directly engage community groups, and to get involved in advocacy for social and economic justice and experimental forms of democracy. Tammy also provides a context for the exploration of uncomfortable and contested categories – ‘trailer trash’ and ‘high femme’ are recuperated by Tammy in a complex form of identity politics. An ongoing research project What Tammy Needs to Know… sees Weaver engaging with a variety of groups to develop truly public knowledge on issues like education and class, high art and popular culture, performance and human rights, feminism and femininity, and most recently, sex and ageing. Performing the Persona collects a range Tammy’s interventions, and shows how Weaver pairs brilliantly crafted theatricality with collaborative research and public dialogue.

What Tammy Needs to Know About Getting Old and Having Sex

A practice-based project that collaborates with older adults through interviews, performance workshops and public presentations in order to research the effects of ageing people’s desire for and ability to obtain sexual pleasure and intimacy. The project conducted workshops with two community groups (AGLOW and Blackfriars Settlement) and utilized the persona, Tammy WhyNot to facilitate engagement and to encourage performance as means of dissemination.

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Co collaborators from St Mary’s Hospital included Dr. Ali Mears, Consultant on Sexual Health and Dr Agnes Knocisis, Clinical Psychologist.

Recent History

  • Sacred Festival, Chelsea Theatre, (8-9 May 2008)
  • Performing Medicine, John Ellis Lecture, Theatre, Royal London Hospital (17 Nov 2008)

Tourist Information Wanted

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On the occasion of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Tammy WhyNot collaborated with performance artist Stacy Makishi to re-frame the event as a peoples’ jubilee. The project asked people to map their own timelines in order to arrive at the present moment – the moment of their ‘own jubilee’. It was a gently subversive democratisation of this national event, and an opportunity for exploration of memory and community. Tourist Information Wanted was commissioned by Home Live Art, and was part of the Alternative Village Fete, Battersea Park Jubilee Festival, 3 June 2012. The Alternative Village Fete is an ongoing project  which takes a sideways glance at the ordinary family day out.

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Tammy Talks

As part of Tammy’s lifelong education project, What Tammy Needs to Know…, she sat down with four researchers from the Department of Drama at Queen Mary, University of London to find out what ‘research’ means to them. One of Tammy’s mottos is that everyone is an expert in some way, and sitting on a couch with certified ‘experts’ she breaks down what it means to find things out for a living. Tammy’s own expertise is in asking questions, specialising in questions other people might be afraid to ask, because they seem too basic, or personal, or not well enough informed. In these Tammy Talks, questions about research, methodology and practice are all demystified, while the value and potential of academic research are celebrated.

Tammy Talks was part of a university-wide Researchers Night at QMUL, where researchers from all disciplines gathered to present their work to a general public, and to make the case for research as a public good.

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External Links

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