Chris D'Bray has worked in show business since 1977, having cut his teeth as a Blue Coat at Pontins (Telling staff he was older than he was). He realised wanted to be in the business that is show After gaining his knowledge at the holiday camp he was then snapped up by one of the recently established 'Fun Pubs' It was here that Chris was introduced to drag. Over the next few years he honed his talent and became one of the UK's most sought after draq Queens. The 'Fun Pub' phenomenon started in the north of England in the early 1980s. For more than ten years Chris appeared in most of these venues, including Wigan, Wakefield, Preston, Scunthorpe and Stoke to name but a few. In most cases Chris was recruited to open the venue and establish them. The skill of opening an untried and unknown club into a destination venue is something Chris is immensely proud of. The venues broke boundries at the time, for they were the place to be seen in whether you were gay or straight. The informal atmosphere in the venue suited the Northern audience to a tee. One of the largest venues was Henty Afrika's (Correct spelling) 'Henry's' could hold a thousand people and it is not without satisfaction that Chris boasts that on most evenings he played to a full house. In the early 90s Chris began to sense that things were moving in a direction he wasn't happy with, saying
"Venues had started to charge admission on the door and they added hours to opening times. I have always believed that you leave an audience wanting more, don't try to compete with night clubs and don't change things that are not broken."
His pleas fell on deaf ears and before too long crowds found other places to spend thier cash. Leaving the Fun Pubs behind Chris went on the road with his own act and successfully appeared in cabaret, pantomime and television. In the late 1990s Chris was booked to headline his own show in Gran Canaria which meant he would have to leave the UK full time. Although he became almost fluent in his Spanish he also missed home a great deal and so he returned to his native Wigan.
Chris attended drama school in Liverpool and trained in theatre studies with the emphasis on performance art. Chris says he still considers himself and actor who happens to have a background in cabaret. The female character that Chris portrays is a well rounded stock character, with an establishedbackground, history and an identity of her own.
The late 1990s saw Chris appear regularly in Manchester's Gay Village. Having appeared in most of the major venues Chris is a well established face to the city. Chris lists opening the Hollywood Showbar and Manhattan Show Bar as major achievements in Manchester as well as being compere for the cities Pride event with the Beverley Sisters. He also appeared in Leeds at the famous Viaduct Bar.
Blackpool soon welcomed Chris where he made a debut at the Flying Handbag. Such was his impact at the venue that before long he was approached to host the Monday night show at the legendary Funny Girls. Chris was compere at the venue and took part in the main ensemble show faeturing dance and production numbers. Over the next twenty years Chris has appeared in most of the premier night spots in the holiday town. Never one to rest on his laurels Chris will move to new pastures to ensure that his performance doesn't feel stale. The last few years have seen apperances in Blackburn and Lancaster. As recently as 2020 Chris was headlining at the George Tavern in Oldham, Centre Stage in Manchester and The Imperial in Blackpool. The Covid pandemic brought an abrupt halt to the entertainment industry. Chris took a regular job with the NHS to help financially and to help out in any way he could. As soon as restrictions were scheduled to be lifted Chris was offered one of his residencies back with a second added soon after. There are currently plans for more shows for the 2021 season.
Back in 1999, whilst appearing at the Flying Handbag in Blackpool Chris was approached to host auditions for 'Blackpool Drag Queen Of The Year' working in Blackpool gave Chris the opportunity to reach a much wider audience than working in an inland venue. The constant stream of holiday makers ensures a fresh performance. The original Flying Handbag was alarge venue with a cpacity of 500. Chris holds the record at the venue for the largest audience. Three nights a week Chris 'packed them in' So popular had he become that management installed him on Sunday afternoons with a new style of entertainment. Unbelieveably 450 plus people attended most weeks to take part in games such as 'Wankety Wank' and 'Play Your Cards Shite' These parodies of TV favourites quickly became smash hits in the Handbag. On many occasions people were queueing around the block to take part. Many venue owners from all corners of the UK visit Blackpool and it was one such business man who saw Chris and invited him to appear at his venue on the Isle of Man. This was not an easy task. For the whole season Chris flew from Blackpool to the island where he first hosted a radio show before his two nights a week season.
In 2001 Chris hit the World Wide Web when he ad a website created for his stage character. As of 2021 it has been visited by one and a half MILLION times. Chris was considered a big enough name to take part in the BBC smash hit 'The Weakest Link' Although in the end he was not used, he was flattered to have been asked to take part. In 2003 he was thrilled to be asked to write a column for the Manchester based magazine 'Out Northwest'. The column, based on his stage character and is in the same vane as his stage character.
In 2004 he was invited to compere once more at the Manchester Mardi Gras (Now renamed Manchester Pride) Chris compered for the whole of Bank Holilday Monday from 2-6pm.
Having obtained a degree in Theatre Studies, it was a logical step for Chris to complete a Masters degree. Following this Chris is currently studying to complete his Phd.
With these achievements under his belt it was no surpise when he was offered a part in the long running UK Drama - Emmerdale.
Following his success in 'Emmerdale' Chris was delighted to be asked to appear in more TV shows as both supporting artiste and as a credited actor. More recently Chris appeared alongside Sue Nicholls in the UK's number one rated show 'Coronation Street' as well as supporting Robson Green in a Christmas comedy for ITV.
Chris' own unique style has since brought him to his second home, Blackpool, or as he fondly calls it 'Le Pool en Noir'. Much of the 2000s and 2010s saw him as the main star of 'Kaos' in the town's main gay area. Chris received a major boost when he was asked to star in Lytham's main pantomime at the Lowther Theatre. He starred as Widow Twanky in the hit production of 'Aladdin'.
Chris was asked to be the main act at the newly opened R-Bar in Blackpool, a venue he admits he grew to hate. The audience he adored but after a brief honeymoon period he was unable to see eye to eye with management. He left the venue and was immediately snapped up by a rival bar in Blackpool - The Imperial (Now Garlands) the loyal audience followed him in their droves.
A follow up pantomime on Blackpool's North Pier soon followed with Chris having the lead role in Dick Whittington.
He has taken time out to teach a drag module at a leading University which in turn led him to take part in a Symponium in London, speaking to 300 industry experts and contemporaries He recently finished a chapter in a book that was published in 202 and took part in a celebration of his craft for a Radio 4 broadcast.
Chris continues to perform in venues throughout the UK. With such an impressive resume it is clear why. If you would be interested in featuring Chris in your next event plase visit the booking page