Elizabeth Milton – Queen Tilly and the Marys

Doors at 7:00 pm – Performance at 7:30 pm

Queen Tilly and the Marys is a raucous response to musical theatre that explores comedic absurdity, camp materiality and the radical potential of intergenerational play. Developed during the height of the pandemic, the work is a tragic-comic ode to a group of women elders raised within the marginalized immigrant communities of East Vancouver (the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. These 80 and 90 year-old Croatian women and their close neighbourhood friends take center stage in the work, re-enacting their personal history with masquerade, gender play and hyperbolic theatricality. Working alongside Milton, her mother and aunts re-thread the relics of their performance histories through filmed musical numbers that reference feminist punk, slapstick comedy and folk tradition. Technicolor video projections spill beyond the screen into a boisterous mess of live dance and ad-hoc sculpture that exalts lineages of DIY pageantry.  Queen Tilly and the Marys preserves local history through a mode of storytelling that reverberates with the vulgar glory of maximalist femininity, Slavic bravado and comedic criticality. 

This project was made possible through generous support from the British Columbia Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.


About the Artist

Elizabeth Milton  (she/they) is a mixed European settler artist of Croatian and British ancestry who lives as a guest on the unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations in Vancouver, Canada. Her media and performance-based practice utilizes absurdist character-play and hyperbolic expressivity to explore identity, affect and the radical potential of comedic performativity. Involving a range of participants, from family members to opera singers, her interdisciplinary and collaborative works aim to critically investigate the visual language and power structures of amateur spectacle.

Her work has been exhibited and performed in Canada, The United States and Europe. Recent performances and screenings include: Dynasty Handbag’s Weirdo Night (Los Angeles), A Guided Mediation with VHS Eyelashes, VIVO Media Arts Centre (Vancouver) and The Bottom of the Fountain is Painted Turquoise at Trinity Square Video (Toronto). Milton holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University of British Columbia and a BFA in Visual Art from Simon Fraser University. She is a faculty member in the Department of Fine Arts at Langara College where she instructs studio courses in Media and Performance.