Jordy Deelight, an MA Contemporary Art Practice student here at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), was recently awarded a Sir Ian McKellen Bursary of £2,000.

Jordy is one of five recipients of the bursaries awarded to students who are studying in any discipline of the performing arts. These one-off bursaries were made possible by Sir Ian’s wish that proceeds generated by his performances at the Edinburgh International Festival be used to support local drama provision to benefit the community. 

Jordy, sometimes better known as drag queen and DJ, Jordy Deelight, is an artist specialising in drag and contemporary performance. His work explores health and in particular Cystic Fibrosis. Jordy was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when he was two years old and through his work he is able to raise awareness of this genetic condition.

Jordy was the subject of a BBC Scotland documentary entitled Jordy’s 65 Reasons to Live shown earlier this autumn. The film covered the build-up to Jordy’s first solo performance Wasted Youth, and how he lives his life to the max whilst offering an insight into the reality of living with Cystic Fibrosis. In the documentary Jordy says:  “I’ve always been motivated in the sense that I’ve always had this illness, and it’s not going to go away, so I don’t see why I should stop myself doing what I want to. I want to do things in life.”

Behind the scenes image of Jordy recording his documentary with the BBC
Image: Jordy
Behind the scenes of Jordy recording his documentary with the BBC

 “I’ve always been motivated in the sense that I’ve always had this illness, and it’s not going to go away, so I don’t see why I should stop myself doing what I want to. I want to do things in life.” 

Jordy in 'Jordy's 65 Reasons to Live'

His show Wasted Youth, performed at the Scottish Story Telling Centre back in January, combined projected film and video work alongside live performance. Jordy says: “It was not a conventional drag show, instead drag through performance art. Ultimately it was a biographical piece exploring Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and moments of trauma through performance art”.

Drag for Jordy is all about escaping. “I think, everyone asks what it is like when you become your persona... I just feel like I'm leaving a bit of myself behind that I don’t really want to deal with. In drag, I don’t have CF, I’m a drag queen. Sometimes I’m like “oh I'm that drag queen that has CF” and that’s great, but I do often think that when I become Jordy it’s just that I’m escaping.”

Now that he’s at ECA, Jordy is specialising in performance art with the opportunity to experiment and build on the past two years of freelance work as a drag artist and DJ. Jordy’s semester has been off to a busy start planning new performance work for upcoming project spaces. Alongside his studies, during a development residency with Imaginate and Birds of Paradise Theatre, Jordy has been creating drag theatre for young people in response to LGBT+ education in schools.


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