In the notoriously challenging entertainment industry, competition is prevalent and there is no clear cut path to success. Two accomplished and dynamic cabaret artists – Miss Cairo and Victoria Falconer – have recognised that artists need guidance when navigating the business of performance, and have come together to deliver a significant opportunity to a selection of emerging cabaret performers.
Miss Cairo, a respected cabaret and burlesque performer, founded The People of Cabaret (POC), a brand new initiative focussed on amplifying, empowering and advocating for artists and creatives working in cabaret, circus, burlesque, variety, circus and associated disciplines who identify as Indigenous, Bla(c)k and/or a Person of Colour.
The Australian Council for the Arts has granted The People of Cabaret a $50,000 grant in support of their mission. Prior to becoming grant recipients, The People of Cabaret have created $25,000 worth of paid opportunities for IBPOC-identifying performers, an admirable feat considering the hardship endured by many in the arts industries during the last 12 months.
The People of Cabaret was established six months ago and comprises Miss Cairo and her team, endearingly referred to as The Council. They’ve created resources such as The Directory which lists IBPOC-identifying performers, designers, technicians, managers, and creatives with a view to combat the lack of diversity across various sectors of the performing arts. The People of Cabaret have also facilitated live and streamed performances including an award-winning variety extravaganza (Melbourne Fringe) and a two-week season of shows for BLOOM Festival (Darlinghurst Theatre Company).
One of the many projects that funding will be directed towards is a mentoring programme which aims to develop the skills of emerging performers in this particular sector of the performing arts industry. The Mentorship will be overseen by Miss Cairo and programme director Victoria Falconer and guided by experienced IBPOC-identifying industry leaders in the Australian and international performing arts industries. Its inaugural season is scheduled to run between January and June 2021, and will be delivered online. Nine lucky mentees will be paired with an industry professional compatible with their specific creative and professional goals.
“The People of Cabaret is focussed on centering and empowering artists that identify as IBPOC in an industry where diversity and representation on variety bills, drag nights, and cabaret lineups is a continual issue. When you’re starting out and you don’t see yourself on those stages, it tells you that this space is not for you. This has to change, and The Mentorship is one way to make sure it does.”– Miss Cairo
“As a performer who cut her teeth in the cabaret and fringe festival scene both here in Australia and abroad, I recognise the value of learning from your elders – the artists who have travelled the same paths that you want to take, and know the shortcuts!” says Falconer.
Throughout her versatile career, Falconer has observed that informal advice is often passed down from experienced artists to emerging ones, however, together with Miss Cairo she wishes to honour this sentiment through a formal and paid structure, as she explains:
“Guidance can be anything from giving feedback on a new act or the structure of a show, advising on how to budget for that costume, teaching basic video or music editing skills, facilitating a meeting with a producer or a festival.”
“The Mentorship is a catalyst to create inspiring, mutually-beneficial relationships between established and emerging artists. We want people to know that new voices are welcome here, that their stories are worthy, and that we have their backs.”– Victoria Falconer
Mentees will receive one-on-one sessions with their respective mentor along with monthly seminars from world leaders in the arts, professional development, access to industry events, a stipend for materials and production costs, and paid performance opportunities. All of these valuable resources will be complimentary for mentees, and all mentors, guest speakers, and workshop leaders will be paid for their involvement in The Mentorship.
The first nine mentees will be announced shortly. For further information please visit thepeopleofcabaret.com