Slip into a hidden world of dimly-lit rooms, velvet ropes and sultry entertainment at the Guilty Pleasures Cabaret & Burlesque Festival in Brunswick Heads this month.
Two of Brunswick Heads’ iconic venues will get a makeover and be transformed into lush dens of decadence for three nights of theatre, comedy, music and dance.
“We have two venues involved,” festival co-director Louise McCabe says.
“The first one is happening at Brunswick Heads Memorial Hall and we’ve converted that into a cabaret room. So it will have tables, chairs, food and a bar. We have three different nights of performances, which will include some headline acts from interstate and some local, Northern Rivers people.
“The second venue is the Brunswick Picture House, which was reopened a year ago from Easter by the producers of La Soiree and Club Swizzle. They’ve been putting on sell-out shows ever since they’ve been here and they’ve totally transformed Brunswick Heads; it’s becoming a bit of a hub for cabaret now.” Bertie Page Clinic
Across its two venues, Guilty Pleasures features an expansive line-up of performances representing the spectrum of cabaret and burlesque from Australia and around the world. The stylish Memorial Hall venue plays host to queer culture-maker Glitta Supernova, glam-rock burlesque band Bertie Page Clinic, comedian Mandy Nolan and French chanteuse Louise Blackwell, plus many more.
“The Picture House is also doing three nights of performances,” Louise explains. “They’re doing their Cheeky Cabaret and they’ve also got a headline act Ali McGregor, who’s an internationally-acclaimed singer and she’s also doing a family-friendly show and an evening show.”
For Louise, the addition of an identity like Glitta Supernova is a personal highlight. “She’s very unique and very outrageous,” Louise says.
“There are no-holds barred with Glitta, she subverts and really explores a whole lot of issues like sexuality and what it means to be feminine.
“I’ve followed her work for years and she was born and bred up in the Northern Rivers so I’m really thrilled to have Glitta.”Glitta Supernova
Take note though, it is cabaret and burlesque so apart from Ali McGregor’s afternoon performance, the festival is an adults-only affair that is hiding a sexy, little secret for everyone.
“Cabaret is such a wide genre now, it can be almost anything,” Louise says. “Brunswick Picture House, their specialty is circus, sideshow and other elements of cabaret but they call their stuff ‘risky and risqué’, so we’ve let them do their thing.”
Louise says jokingly that Memorial Hall’s transformation may come as a shock to those who know it best for town meetings, but remains tight-lipped about exactly what they have in-store for audiences. Besides, what’s more burlesque than leaving something to the imagination?
“We don’t want to give away too much because they’re used to a country town hall,” she laughs.
“But it’s going to be quite lush, with nice lighting, blackouts and typical cabaret velvet ropes and curtains. There are some others thing we’re putting up but we want to keep it a surprise. Just be prepared for a nice, visual treat and a musical treat as well.”
Guilty Pleasures Cabaret & Burlesque Festival takes place in Brunswick Heads 12-14 May.