The Cabaret of Misfits was a real treat this autumn, it really filled me with joy. Curated by Combine to Create artist, Rachael Macintyre as part of the Findhorn Bay Arts festival, it was my second opportunity to perform in my new home in teh North East of Scotland. The theme of the cabaret was LGBTQ and queerness in circus, and for me the perfect excuse to create an act based on Barbette. Barbette was a cross dressing trapeze and tighwire performer to rose to great fame in the 1920's and 30's and I came across them while researching my show Mirrors & Ribbons. Known to be both exquisitely feminine and in turn reveal themselves to be a macho man, Barbette was much admired.
The biggest problem I had in creating the act was deciding which way to play it- as a woman dressing as a man or vice versa, having it tried numerous versions, I settled on playing high-status feminine, becoming more uncomfotable with my idenitity and then transforming into a man mid-act. Of course I added some extra drama, some of my favourite rope tricks and a healthy dose of the ridiculous and in the end was really pleased with the result.
The cabaret was a tour de force, stuffed full of high quality scottish circus acts, and the audience in the Universal Hall were as lively and lovely as ever. They were treated to hair hanging, aerial chains, contortion, silks, trapeze, sword swallowing, hula hoops and of course rope. The whole night was a roaring success, and I was lucky enough to be in the headline slot, the act couldn't have gone any better or recieved a better reception. It was an absolute pleasure to perform, I hope an opportunity comes up soon to play Barbaretta again.
Credit for the night goes mostly to Racheal Mcintyre, Findhorn Bay Arts Festival, Ruariadh Milne and Emma Robbie for pulling it all together.