"Why Do Saints Have to Suffer?"

By Lou Campbell

Filmed conceptual drag performance

"Why Do Saints Have to Suffer?" is a filmed drag exploration of Joan of Arc, reimagined as a Trans Saint. The piece explores similar ideas and themes as a separate project Lou is currently writing that will become a three part stage play entitled The Holy Ones. The piece is about Trans and Gender non-conforming saints and religious figures across several historic periods. For LUCID, Lou tried out costume design and creation for the first time.

Concept and co-design: Lou Campbell

Mentorship and co-design: Diego Cavedan

Makeup artist: Chris Cochrane

Filming, video direction and editing: Tyler Simmonds

Lighting: Matt Downey

Sybil Thorndike, Lou’s great grandmother, as Joan. She was the first woman to play her in the George Bernard Shaw version of the play in 1923. Joan of Arc has always played a role in Lou’s family lore.

“Transgender Warriors” by Leslie Feinberg was the starting source of research and inspiration for The Holy Ones.

The original first sketch for the costume for Why do Saints Have to Suffer? by Diego Cavedon


Lou Campbell (they/them) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, NS. Their practice traverses many mediums including performance, clown, stand-up, drag, poetry, and sound art. They create work that unpacks the inner workings of their own experiences, usually manifesting in the open sharing of mortifying past mistakes. They also co-run a cross-province collective based in Toronto and Halifax called Probably Theatre. This collective creates performance work devised from poetry, and runs events and exhibitions that facilitate the creation of new work by other artists. In their spare time they like to swim, craft, collage, and watch terrible teen television.

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