Festival Fatale: a two-day theatre festival of women

Patriarchy getting you down? The remedy just might be Festival Fatale. The two day theatre festival at Sydney’s Eternity Playhouse, from 29 – 30 October, is the work of Women in Theatre and Screen (WITS), and it’s going to be something else.
Dedicated to celebrated strong, diverse and complex female voices, Festival Fatale features 6 plays, 4 play readings, and 11 cabarets written, directed, designed and starring women.

Complete Works

AUSTRALIAN BOOTY by Candy Bowers –  In a sumptuous hour of jokes, stories, music and spoken word this radical babe weighs in on the Australian identity, interracial dating and the booty myth. Set to a bitchin’ soundtrack created by the notorious Busty Beatz, these two fierce sisters will slam, shake and tickle you all the way to the dance floor.

Candy Bowers
Candy Bowers
BEATCHES by Kate Smith and Liesel Badorrek – Over the course of one long night, the most notorious female duos in cinematic history pay a visit from Crawford and Davis, Midler and Hershey to Monroe and Russell. Will these crones, ingenues and witches ruin the beleaguered writer’s last chance at the big time?
BLACK BIRDS by Ayeesha Ash and Emele Ugavule –  a collective of sisters on a mission to break down common perceptions & expectations of “Blackness” and the Black woman in Australia through one common denominator – Hair. Over 40 minutes we will take you through our stories with song, dance & spoken word to illuminate what it’s like to be a Black woman who is not Indigenous in Australia.


SELKIE by Finn O’Branagain – A visual feast, this production of Selkie is a provocative yet tender work that explores intimate partner emotional abuse through the lens of ‘the other’ and the cultural assimilation that can happen in relationships.

SLUT by Patricia Cornelius – Lolita is a slut. So named, so celebrated, until one day she isn’t.  A brutal and poetic exploration of the sexuality of young women in contemporary society. It digs deep and plays in the grey area of sexual empowerment and dangerous sexualisation.

NEVER TRUST A CREATIVE CITY by Too Rude – Drawing on disillusionment with the state of arts funding in Australia, the persistent dismantling of public services, grand narratives of art history and adding their own feminist chutzpah, Mcmanus and White will unravel the terrible formula: art + city = gentrification.

Black Birds
Black Birds

Play Readings

FALLEN written by Seanna Van Helten with She Said Theatre –  Six women have been given a second chance. Closed off from the outside world, the women practise the art of being female and wait to begin their new lives on the other side of the world. Inspired by the history of Urania Cottage, a home for “fallen” women founded by Charles Dickens.

GR8SKIN by Tee O’Neil –  Mia has had a wretched life. She can only dream of a life where people are beautiful, rich and carefree. An exile from war living in poverty in dour middle age, she finds herself fleeing an illegal doss house in the middle of the night. Humiliated and desperate she breaks into a luxury home when she thinks the occupant has gone away, hoping for a short respite before going back onto the street.

D+NA written by the DIG Collective – Based on real experiments, Dana McMillan poetically audits herself according to the billions of data points we’ve extracted about her. This performance of dissection explores the nature of being in a world constantly feeding your identity back to you.

NORMAL by Katie Pollock – A fascinating contemporary urban tale inspired by a true story, Normal explores the phenomenon of mass hysteria among young women. In the entitled pockets of a sparkling city, what does it take for a teenage girl to fit in? What does it cost to be normal?

Foyer Cabaret

TOY CHOIR – Bursting with happiness the Toy Choir brings the sweet perfection of young voices with the joyous sounds of sugar pop harmonies and infectious ukulele strumming. Overflowing with lyrics and images inspired by the Australian landscape, the Toy Choir is uniquely hearing the ideas and impressions of girls and young women in Australia today.

KATE WALDER as SILVER-FOIL SALLY – Silver-Foil Sally is an astronaut clown. Due to an unforeseen technical malfunction, she finds herself stranded on the moon. Her “fucked” rocket ship places her in quite the predicament so she calls on a Rabbi and a Frenchwoman for roadside assistance, who for no apparent reason are having similar lunar crises.

Toy Choir
Toy Choir

Will she fix her ship?

MARLENA DALI; BOSS LADY AND MODERNIST SIDESHOW PERFORMER – With her fierce and filthy wit as sharp as nails, Marlena hacks away at your sense of reality, offering a scandalous performance through contemptible language and subverting gender norms. With her academic background, Marlena’s performances are a far cry from the ‘shock jock’ Circus Sideshow one might be used to, presenting a contemporary, queer, feminist perspective on seemingly anachronistic vaudeville acts.

MINORA SINE MAJORA – WHY DID SHE LEAVE ME? By Irene Nicola – Minora/Majora, a satirical feminist musical comedy duo, having split, are going through a dry spell. They shared so much together; warmth, friends, oblique vaginal metaphors… With Majora starting afresh in Canada, and Minora staying behind in Australia, Minora begins to question whether she’s better off without her big sister. But what can fill the hole that she left?

SARAH GAUL – Sarah Gaul’s cabaret tells the story of her life and the people she knows – all the stories feed back into her identity as a woman. Through song and comedy, she explores issues such as LGBTQI equality and the ethics of religion. She aims to empower through her show.

SIX QUICK CHICKS –  These twisted ladies of the Cabaret strut their wares with a heady mix of high-brow and low-brow, a scoop of the surreal and a generous serving of provocative yet sultry sophistication. Absurd, outlandish, witty and bold, this collection of sassy burlesque ladies will shake the rafters of Darlinghurst and leave the audience wanting more.

BILLIE ROSE PRICHARD –  Front woman for Daily Meds and co-founder of Big Village Records, Billie Rose has been writing and performing hiphop music within a crew for years. Now she’s on the loose and she is experimenting! Expect aggressive bedroom poetry, badass husky melodies, tomboy-diva antics and general ‘inya faceness’, backed by bouncy beats from local producers such as Sofie Loizou (Anomie).

YARRAMADOON THE MUSICAL – Yarramadoon is the story of a small town with a big heart, and an equally big problem with meth. Come on a musical journey as sixteen year old Sharmane chooses between the quiet life in her rural hometown, or beginning an exciting career in retail in the Big Smoke, Sydney. All with the help of a kindly (but definitely racist) old man who might just convince her to stay…

ALYSIA ROSE – Alysia Rose is an original artist and storyteller with a dark and biting sound that she has become known for as well as a reputation for never shying away from topics too often considered taboo. A songstress with a deep tone, enigmatic presence, and a truly gifted composer.

CURTAINS by Meredith O’Reilly – Showbiz is full of ups & downs. In 30 plus years in The Biz, Meredith has been in more than her fair share of big shows that suddenly stopped, flopped or never got off the ground… She’ll sing the unsung songs from those shows and dish the dirt on where it all went horribly wrong and where fact truly WAS stranger than fiction!

Festival Fatale  is at the Eternity Playhouse on 29 – 30 October. Individual tickets + weekend festival passes available at https://events.ticketbooth.com.au/events/21872

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *