Candida from Velvet Chase Productions has been a performer since she was six years old.
But it wasn’t until her mid-30s that she found her true home on stage when she co-wrote '#nofilter', a neo-burlesque circus freak show aimed at reducing the stigma around mental health.
Candida gives us a candid interview about the show that has transformed her life.
Why it’s so important for Velvet Chase Productions to be an ‘art house’ company?
I believe that art should hold no boundaries – the artist should be able to produce whatever they like in whatever medium they need; if this evokes anger, sadness, guilt, happiness then it has done its job... It’s made you feel something – I wanted to create a company for those who felt they were too strange, too weird... Misunderstood, I want a place where the artist can completely be themselves. Creating this company was initially a place for an expression of art.
Does Velvet Chase Productions only do fringe?
Definitely not – we are always producing shows all year round and have been for eight years. In the past we have done shows at women’s only events, charity functions and at underground kink shows. Yearly we do an ‘All Hallows Eve’ Halloween show. We also have a meet-up group to support the LQBTIQ community along with other random stuff like jumping out of cakes and stuff.
Can you tell us more about the history of '#nofilter'?
'#nofilter' is in its 4th season. It is a production that was written in 2015 by myself and Ms Serena Wight around normalising the conversation on mental health. As two very amateur producers at that time, we had no idea of the movement '#nofilter' would create, we took about three months writing it and then started casting for it late December and it had its world premiere in 2016 and the season sold out on opening night, we then put on a two-day encore. It has been rated as five stars, ‘cutting edge’ and ‘one of the best things you will ever see’.
What are your future plans for the show?
Apart from saving the world one cat at a time? My main plans are spreading this message with '#nofilter' – people who suffer mental health conditions (not just depression and anxiety but all the things that lead to that or underline that), body dysmorphia, addiction, PTSD, domestic violence, self-harm and suicide, the things that leave people feeling worthless, isolated and like they are a burden – this production seems to be giving people a voice, they are connecting to one of the many ‘true’ stories being told by the cast members and relating to it the same way people do to the music, by the end we have strangers hugging us, they see they are not the only ones who are suffering, they see that its okay to not be okay. Short term, I would like to travel the production rural and regionally. I have re-written the production to make it age-appropriate for it to be workshopped with the youth.
'#nofilter' plays Marion Arts Cultural Centre as part of the Adelaide Fringe from 14-16 March, with part of the proceeds going to suicide awareness.