Search

Hampstead pensioner, 85, who hid sexuality for decades, prepares for drag queen performance

PUBLISHED: 10:18 19 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:53 19 March 2018

Mr Doran on Jackson's Lane's stage gets into character as

Mr Doran on Jackson's Lane's stage gets into character as "Shirley Blue", his drag alter ego. Picture: JON KING

Archant

An 85-year-old former amateur boxer who kept his sexuality a secret for decades is to take to the stage as a drag queen.

Stanley Doran at Jackson's Lane, Highgate. Picture: JON KINGStanley Doran at Jackson's Lane, Highgate. Picture: JON KING

Stanley Doran, who lives in Fitzjohn’s Avenue, Hampstead, grew up at a time when male homosexuality was a crime.

He was born in Paddington when, he said, you either became a bank robber or a boxer.

He chose the latter, going on to spar with 1956 Olympic gold medallist Terry Spinks and featherweight champion Sammy McCarthy.

After wartime evacuations to Wales and Watford he returned to London taking on a number of jobs including acting as a deliveryman for the mob.

But all the while his attraction to men was hidden behind a tough-guy exterior.

“Back then people were treated as criminals. It was depressing. It was tough,” Mr Doran said.

But in a sign of how times have changed, the bachelor is now preparing to perform dressed in a royal blue sequin gown, red wig, feather boa and wedges at Camden venue Her Upstairs as “Shirley Blue”.

Mr Doran, who survived colon and prostate cancer, said: “I’ve always dreamt of doing it, but never thought I could. But if you want to do something, give it a try. You’ve got nothing to lose.”

The theatre-lover was coached by cabaret artist Fagulous, aka Niall Hunt, who along with Mr Doran’s drama teacher Rosie Litterick kitted him out on a visit to Camden Market.

“We transformed him from an 85-year-old man into the drag queen diva he is. He’s a natural who knows how to make an audience laugh. I’ve got so much confidence in him,” Mr Hunt said.

On the night Mr Doran becomes Fagulous’s “fabulous assistant” and duets with the 22-year-old singing Shirley Bassey number Kiss Me Honey Honey (Kiss Me).

Mr Doran is taking part in a project aimed at getting older people more active in the community. It was set up with the support of Highgate’s Jackson’s Lane theatre and funded by a Heritage Big Lottery grant.

Mr Hunt said: “A lot of LGBT culture is focused on youth. It’s amazing: this project helps give an older generation a stronger voice. It’s poignant as a sign of how far we’ve come as a society.

“It’s going to be a very special show,” he added.

As for nerves, Mr Doran, a member of the Older Bolder drama group who will not be taking part in a dress rehearsal before Wednesday’s show, said his only fear is fluffing his lines.

And on the lure of the stage he said: “You can be anyone you want to be.”

For more details of the Jackson’s Lane project email participation@jacksonslane.org

To book tickets to see Mr Doran in A Night with Fagulous visit Outsavvy.com

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:07

A sixteen year old boy has been charged with grievous bodily harm with intent over the Billy Fury Way stabbing which left another teenager in a “critical condition” in hospital.

Yesterday, 15:54

Only the wind in the trees and the sound of planes passing overhead could be heard at Highgate Cemetery yesterday morning, as it marked Armistice Day.

Lucy Casey has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the “unbelievably brutal attack” that killed Hannah Leonard.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell slammed Barnet Council’s controversial Capita contracts as “a really good example of the iniquities of outsourcing” – but Barnet leader Cllr Richard Cornelius hit back and appeared to rule out bringing the outsourced services back in-house under his administration.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

December 8 will see a parade of beards and red woolly hats at Alexandra Palace as, for the first time, YMCA North London holds a Santa Run at the historic Haringey location.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Highgate Newtown’s historic Konstam Nursery has unveiled a commerorative mosoaic celebrating its links to the First World War.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

When the sound of rockets was heard across north London on November 11, 1918, some feared for their lives.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Jamie Brown, of Archant Local Impact, explains how to make your business stand out from the crowd

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now