Dave Deveau may divide his time between two worlds — in the theatre, as an award-winning playwright, and in the scene, as an Eastside party promoter and as drag queen Peach Cobblah — but he sees them as intertwined and connected.
“They’re both about building spaces for people who feel like they don’t have any,” the 29-year-old says.
Though his work with his husband’s theatre company, Zee Zee Theatre, has been based heavily on gay themes, he says he isn’t necessarily writing for gay audiences.
“My body of work is pretty darn queer,” he says, laughing. “But I’ve never been of the belief that the queer community are the people who need work about queer issues. I think it’s actually quite the reverse. I think it’s everyone else.”
His critically acclaimed 2011 play My Funny Valentine delves into the murder of teenager Lawrence King, who was shot in the head after he asked another boy to be his Valentine. The production has been mounted in Dublin and returned to Vancouver for a second run last February.
Deveau says audiences often found themselves relating to characters in ways they hadn’t even considered and finding common ground with voices that they wouldn’t ordinarily care to listen to.
“For me, theatre has always been a way to ask questions that I don’t have the specific answers to. It becomes a means to generate conversation or to elicit something in someone that surprises them.”
Deveau is also proud of his work promoting events, including the dress-up party Queer Bash, the drag show Apocalypstick, and the gay hip-hop night Hustla. He and business partner Brandon Gaukel were the first to partner with the owners of The Cobalt to introduce queer programming — three years later, the venue is the de facto Eastside gay bar.
“There’s something really magical about really, really gay space happening in a non-gay community,” he says.