A regular on the Adelaide festival scene Ukulele Dream Girl has lined two shows for this years Feast Festival. Performing a new cabaret style show Rainbow Dreams along with the lockdown inspired Self Isolation Songbook these two shows will be the only opportunity to catch her as she takes a well earned break in 2022. Phi Theodoros aka Ukulele Dream Girl answered a few questions for Hi FI Way in preparation for her shows and what can be expected for Feast!
Its Feast Festival time of the year! Are you excited?
I am so excited for #Pridevember and Feast, this is a time where we see such incredible visibility across the city of Queer folx sharing what they love to do. It encourages so many of us to come out and connect through music, cabaret, visual art, community events and workshops.
You’re presenting/producing and performing in two shows, can you tell us about each show?
Rainbow Dreams is a totally new project for me, I’ve performed in many variety shows before but never coordinated one myself. I knew I wanted to produce a show that has a cohesive story so over the past few months I’ve collaborated with some emerging and established artists across spoken word, dance, circus and music to build a show that explores our journeys towards ourselves, our queerness and also notions and expectations around gender. It’s going to be a wholesome experience where audiences can also create their own pride flags as we celebrate our diversity and rainbow pride all together across different intersections of the LGBTQIA+ community. Self Isolation Songbook is the show I tried to present in person last year but due to our Circuit Breaker lockdown (remember our 6 day one that turned out to be only 3 days!) it was pivotted to online only. While I had really lovely responses from my digital audience and the reviewers, I knew that this is a show that needed to be offered again with some more interactive elements so I’ve gone back to the original plan and will be offering a special ukulele workshop so folx can learn some of the songs from the show and then play along from the audience.
Self Isolation Songbook was written during the lockdown times of last year. Do you find now that you have changed your ways to be more engaged with people in real life.
This show initially began as a lockdown project idea to try encourage people to stay connected and play ukulele together, so I’m ridiculously excited to be sharing a workshop before this show. I can’t wait to see how this transforms the experience for those playing along with me as well as the audience, I see this as a beautiful reminder that we are all going through the human experience and we are all facing challenges BUT we can all come together, play together in harmony and make magic happen.
Rainbow Dreams is a show about the journey of connection, identity and acceptance. What else can audiences expect from the show and who will be performing with you?
During this show you will hear music and poetry from myself and my new backing band The Ukutheydies a trio of young people I connected with at the Queer Youth Drop in Centre when I ran a workshop there earlier this year. You’ll also see a beautiful, raw and vulnerable glow-poi piece by Sam Mattheman, a beautiful local circus artist who has travelled nationally and abroad sharing their incredible skills with companies like Gravity & Other Myths, Virtual Insanity Circus and Circobats. You’ll also hear and see a fantastic spoken word piece by July Pilowsky, sharing their experiences of gender across explorations of sexuality & queer history, biology and religion. Its an incredible piece they shared during the International Transgender Day of Visibility and I’m so excited to bring it back to the stage! You’ll also see a beautiful dance piece by my dear friend Kym Mackenzie, he’s an artist who lives with an intellectual disability and proudly performs with so many Disability Arts organisations I can barely keep up, I’m very proud of him for taking this opportunity to share a piece we created with some colleagues for his Solo Fringe show earlier this year but also for owning and celebrating his queerness as a bi-sexual man. Its a beautiful and diverse cast who are really going to bring some incredible energy to the stage at Diverse City on Friday night! This show will take audiences on a journey that will warm their rainbow hearts & provide an opportunity for them to celebrate the diversity within our rainbow community whilst also celebrating who they are and how they want to be seen in the land of Rainbow Dreams.
Why is Feast Festival so important to you?
Feast was the first festival I performed a cabaret show in, back in 2009. It opened up opportunities for me to express myself as a queer artist and to connect with other amazing folx. Since then I have proudly participate in Pride Marches, attended events and (of course) produced/written and performed in original cabaret shows for the past three years consecutively. With my fourth Feast in a row I’m excited to celebrate with our Feast community (which includes everyone across the LGBTIQA+ community AND all our allies, yes you that means you can come too!) and to share stories and shift stigma one more time before I take some time off from the stage in 2022.
Tell us about your favourite Feast Festival moment.
Oh my gosh, there are quite a few!! Feast has been a very influential part of my life for so long now!
From dressing up outrageously for Pride Marches & dancing the night away to taking a friend along to see a show that was all about loving ourselves and our bodies and being in fits of terrified laughter when the artist literally showed off her beef curtains (yes, actual beef hanging from her lady parts live on stage in front of us!) I think my friend is still recovering… that show was in 2017! Last year I was interview for ABC TV and had the honour of hosting “Pride at Plant 4” and on the weekend just gone I was the first entertainer to perform at the Opening Night Carnival!But for me, a real highlight was presenting the first season of “Love at a Distance” in 2019 at both Sparkke at the Whitmore and the Island Cafe on Granite Island. This was a really special season for me, especially when I was able to bring my now fiance out onto the stage to sing by my side.
Other than your show, what are your Top 3 must-see Feast Festival shows this year?
Only Top 3?! Yikes its so hard with so many amazing events and projects being presented! I’m excited to FINALLY go on Dr Gertrude Glossops Queer History Walk – Her Silver Jubilee Promenade will be a celebration of her 25 years of offering these tours and she’s now written and published a book all about the queer history of Adelaide.
I also highly recommend checking out the ITDOR Events that Kindred Sprits Australia & the TLLPC are presenting (and all the other events they are offering across the festival!),this year on November 20th they are hosting a special vigil at Elder Park to commemorate International Transgender Day of Remembrance whilst simultaneously offering a installation at My Lover Cyndi for the 50 Year Anthology for the Term Transgender.
Other than that – I do recommend that folx check out all of the Writing Live events as there is sure to be something that will tickle creative writers amongst their programming and if you want something interactive why not try the “Queer Heels” workshop or “Radiant Embodiment – A new Vision of Love” for a spiritual treat for the senses. Ok… that was more than 3, but this festival is packed with so many amazing events I highly recommend you book tickets and get along to support as many as possible!
Interview by Anastasia Lambis
For tickets and show info head to the Feast Festival website…