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I never thought I'd do my drag show on Abbey stage - Panti

NUMEROUS impressive theatrical dames have graced the Abbey stage over the years from Maud Gonne and Kitty O'Shea to Maureen O'Hara, Fiona Shaw and Sinead Cusack.

And now the High (Drag) Queen of Ireland, Panti, will be treading the hallowed boards at the National Theatre of Ireland.

Panti is staging her one woman show, All Dolled Up: Restitched, on the Peacock stage on July 10 and describes the autobiographical play as a "candid, raucous look at a life lived in drag."

"It's a one woman show about how a small town boy from Mayo became a painted lady," she told the Herald.

"It's a very personal show – there will be lots of funny stories and a show-stopping lip synching number."

Panti, aka Rory O'Neill, first started performing drag in 1989. "I started doing drag when I was a College student and I'm now 44-years-old," she explains.

"I had no idea you could make a career out of this – I was just doing it for a bit of craic and to make some extra cash."

Now Panti is one of Dublin's most iconic drag acts and has performed everywhere from George's Street to Japan.

"It's a memoir of my life. If someone had told me 15 years ago I'd be doing my drag act in the Abbey I would have laughed in their face," she says.

Panti discusses Dublin's thriving drag community during the monologue. "I show the underbelly of drag. It's not all fluffy and light." And she says you don't have to be a fan of camp culture to enjoy the glitzy confessional theatre show.

"It's not just for the drag community. The theme is 'to thine own self be true, and f*** the consequences' and I think anyone can relate. It's a universal show."