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Boxxa Vine Returns To The Berkshire Stage With Drag Hatter’s Tea Party At Naumkeag

A flyer for Boxxa Vine's Drag Hatter's Tea Party including a photo of Boxxa in a crown and red wig

On Sunday, a Berkshire County drag legend kicks off a new series at the historic Naumkeag estate in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

When the COVID-19 pandemic ground the world to halt in 2020, Boxxa Vine thought her career in drag might have found a natural conclusion.

“It seemed like I was just gearing up for an amazing year," she told WAMC. "We were working with The Foundry, we had already set dates with the HiLo in North Adams, and we were just going to continuously produce shows. So when everything kind of ended, and- even Pride ended and everything like that- I actually quit drag last year. Didn't stick. But I tried to. So it was just kind of this thing that's like, well, maybe it's over and maybe it's time to start thinking about something else.”

But Vine says the return of live events and the murder of beloved Berkshire LGBTQ+ community member Jahaira DeAlto reminded her of what matters.

“It was that kind of push of, you know, don't give up on your dreams, because then you're kind of doing a disservice to yourself and anybody else,” she said.

Now, on July 11th, August 29th and September 12th, Vine returns to the Berkshire stage with her Drag Hatter's Tea Party at Naumkeag. The take on Alice in Wonderland will have both a family and an adult incarnation, and includes crafts, song and more.

“We also have tea that's provided by the Lost Lamb," Vine told WAMC. "They've ordered complete English-style tea sets for everybody to use. So it really is an immersive tea party. I personally made every single costume by hand, which I'm still working on now. And I handpicked the performers as some of the most talented people I know to come in. And we've just been sitting and developing and rewriting and writing the show for so long, and so much is included with it.”

For Vine, putting up a show at the 19th century mansion overlooking Stockbridge represents a professional high water mark.

“This is probably the biggest venue I've ever worked with," she said. "And they've been nothing but accommodating when it comes to us having stuff made or anything like that. It's been really, really great to work with them. And they're so happy to have us there, which, it's not always easy getting a drag show going in Berkshire County. Because as much as we're a hugely progressive area, I definitely have some not as amazing stories of people just being like, ‘no drag queens, thanks.’”

WAMC: “Thank you so much. I'm so happy you're back on the stage.”

VINE: “Thank you. Me too. I know if I can just finish all the costumes... I'm hand painting oversized fabric playing cards right now.”

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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