Queenie is one of Australia’s loved musical theatre and cabaret performers. Like many artists worldwide, Queenie has also had shows and tours cancelled due to COVID-19. In the last few weeks, Queenie was meant to be on a plane to the USA for a three-week tour of her show, BLUE: The Songs of Joni Mitchell. As many can imagine, after a year of working on and investing in this tour with her producers, Neil Gooding Productions, and the lovely venues and bookers in the USA, this show was cancelled and has been fairly devastating for her both on a personal and financial level.
And then as her week played out the inevitable and necessary came about (of course to keep us all alive), email after email of cancelled gigs at Melbourne International Comedy Festival, cabaret festivals, corporate gigs and also her performing arts teaching.
“This is a terribly scary time for us all as we wait to see what the new normal is,” Queenie shares. “People are understandably panicked, people are making decisions out of fear, and we are all anxious and struggling with the great unknown. Some of the most affected people are artists. They usually already live on the breadline, usually have very little savings, often live paycheck to paycheck, have little job security and don’t often have access to things like sick leave or holiday pay.”
Over one week, she has seen nearly every friend she has who works as a producer, choreographer, designer, actor, singer, musician, director, dancer, writer or comedian lose their job. And not only that, most of them have lost their back-up jobs, too, as waiters, ushers, box office attendants, performing arts teachers. “To make things worse, many of them who have been creating shows for festivals or venues have also lost all the money they’ve invested in these shows that now have no where to perform,” shares Queenie.
So, what to do?
Queenie says, “Well, the one great thing about being an artist, is that you have a creative mind, and when you are able to still that mind and have a nice, hot shower (that’s what works for me), it’s amazing how your mind can come up with creative solutions to all sorts of problems.”
Queenie is now taking her bag of tricks online.
If there is one thing we all know how to do in the arts industry, it’s be creative and hustle. So, Queenie will be doing both. Like many of her fellow artists, she has come up with ways to take what she does and will continue to do it online.
But to do that, she would love your help. Firstly, specifically, by letting her know what you would be interested in her doing online. Because she can do quite a lot of stuff, which, in a nutshell, can be explained as: LAUGH, TALK, SING!
You can fill in her two-minute survey, telling her what you’d like to see her pull out of her bag of online tricks!
“These are extraordinary times, and they call for extraordinary shifts in our thinking and ways of being,” Queen says. “It’s not easy, it’s not comfortable, and there have been a fair amount of tears, but I’m up for it. I really hope you’ll join me into the new frontier.”
By Lara Bianca Pilcher of Dance Informa.