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Interview with International Cabaret Star Ursula Martinez

Ursula is at Brunswick picture House this weekend

Nothing compares to Ursula

Cheeky Cabaret | Brunswick Picture House | Friday 16 Nov $40 | Saturday 17 Nov $45 | 7pm

Great news for Cheeky Cabaret fans: Multi-award-winning international cabaret star Ursula Martinez is coming to town! The founding member of La Soiree, with a show that made her an international sensation, the incomparable Ursula Martinez is someone who should be on everyone’s must-see list! You’ll certainly get to see a lot! Ms Martinez chatted with The Echo about her notorious career.

How has that new-found almost ‘mainstream’ notoriety impacted on you, your performances, and the kind of acts to perform, write, and direct?

It has always surprised me the extent to which my Hanky Panky act was embraced by the mainstream, almost from the get go. But I have never chased the mainstream dream. I have always just done whatever takes my fancy. However, it has given me a lot of well-paid gigs over the years, and for that I am very grateful.

Looking back, what do you think it was that drew you to the theatre and this particular side of the theatre?

On a bad day… because I am a show-off and an exhibitionist and an insecure attention seeker. On a good day… because I am an innate provocateur, with a playful sense of humour and a curiosity about the world that I want to express in some way. And I guess it’s a combo of all these things.

You have been involved in lots of projects from ‘side of stage’ co-directing Office Party, and co-producing Show Off and OAP. What’s going on behind the scenes for you at the moment? Do you have shows on the drawing board that you can reveal a little about?

Yes, I have a big new project that will premiere at Perth Festival in February. It’s a show with my mum. She’s 83 and was diagnosed with early-stage dementia 10 months ago. We are making the show not because of her diagnosis but despite it. It’s a brave, delicate and exciting project.

I also have a number of directing projects on the go, one just up the road with Brisbane artist Leah Shelton. She’s fab!

You’re based in the UK but you have performed here in Australia many, many times to great reviews and beaming audiences. What keeps bringing you back to Australia? Is it the audiences? The theatre scene? Or something as simple as our beaches?

I guess Australian audiences have always got my sense of humour. Also my work is pretty direct and visceral and unrepressed. I think Aussies appreciate that too. And yes,     I’m a BIG fan of the beaches!

For young performers out there who have a passion for theatre and are doing the things young theatre enthusiasts do, what would you say to them? Do you have any words of wisdom for those following your lead into the spotlight?

Go and see stuff, as much as you can. Some will be great, some will be shit, but it’s all helpful in guiding you to understanding the type of work you want to make.

Catch Ursula and the rest of the outrageous Cheeky Cabaret lineup for another night to remember at Cheeky Cabaret at the Brunswick Picture House on Friday for $40 and Saturday $45, both shows at 7pm. Tix at brunswickpicturehouse.com.


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