Cabaret Panel

Rebecca Church (Becky Lou) - Panel Co-Chair

Becky Lou has been described as 'one of the High Priestesses of Australian burlesque'. Winner of the Miss Burlesque Victoria title, she has been included in 21st Century Burlesque Magazine's list of Top 10 Australian Burlesque Personalities. She has been performing her unique brand of burlesque, an irreverent mix of slapstick and striptease, across Australia, Canada and the USA since 2007. Her debut solo show, Shake, directed by Wes Snelling, demonstrated her skill as a storyteller, garnering critical acclaim over seasons in Melbourne, Perth , Adelaide and Montreal. Shake was nominated for ‘Best Cabaret’ at Fringe World 2015, ‘Best Solo Production’ and ‘Best English Production’ at Montreal Fringe 2016. Rebecca is the director and host of the Seen & Heard series, combining storytelling and variety, which has featured some of Australia's finest alt-cabaret artists and won the 2017 Melbourne Fringe Best Cabaret award. Rebecca continues to perform, produce and mentor artists in independent cabaret, theatre and comedy in Melbourne.

Shanon D Whitelock - Panel Co-Chair

SHANON D WHITELOCK is an award winning Composer and Music Director. A prolific operative within the theatre, cabaret and film industries across four continents, Shanon has received Green Room nominations and multiple industry awards. His original compositions include Oprahfication! (New York Music Theatre Festival), Nigella: Love Bites (Butterfly Club, Melbourne), Never Date A Songwriter (Butterfly Club, Melbourne), One-A New Musical (Arts Centre Gold Coast), and Quiet You’ll Wake Up the War (Cannes Film Festival Short Film). Credits as music director and accompanist include Disney Under the Stars (Live Nation/Disney), Carole King: the Songbook of Her Life (Arts Centre Melbourne/Aust. Tour 2016), Fame! The Musical (Gordon Frost Org.), Hairspray (Dainty/Roadshow Live) and workshopping with Tony Award winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. Shanon’s work has been performed in New York, UK, Germany, China, Australia, and New Zealand.

Bridget Bantick

BRIDGET BANTICK has worked in the performing arts for over 20 years as a choreographer, dancer, producer and tour manager. She has worked for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival since 2007 and is currently an Associate Director primarily programming and producing Special Events and National/International comedy tours. Bridget has also been a programming advisor to the Busan International Comedy Festival in South Korea for the past 6 years.

Clare Bartholomew

CLARE BARTHOLEMEW is a performer, writer, director and producer of new work. As a performer and writer her work has been nominated for 17 Greenroom Awards – winning 3. She has also been the recipient of a Melbourne Comedy Festival Foreign Exchange Award, a Moosehead Comedy Award, a British Council Oz Export Award and numerous fringe comedy awards. She is a member of dark clown/bouffon ensemble, WE3 who created the critically acclaimed The Long Pigs. She is the co-creator and writer of the multi-award wining Berliner comedy/cabaret duo Otto & Astrid - Die Roten Punkte that has toured all over the world (from Soho Theatre, London, across Europe with Amanda Palmer to Barrow Street Theatre, Off Broadway NY). Clare is currently collaborating on a new show with Circus Oz featuring Otto & Astrid called Rock Bang!

Maude Davey

MAUDE DAVEY trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and has worked as an actor, director and writer for more than twenty-five years, with her primary focus being the creation of new work. She has worked extensively in variety, as member of Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box/Burlesque Hour ensemble and recently in her own award-winning outfit, Retro Futurismus. She works as an actor in theatre, television (Offspring, Summer Heights High), and film (My Year Without Sex, Noise). She has also been the Artistic Director of two small theatre companies (Vitalstatistix Theatre Company in Adelaide and Melbourne Workers Theatre). Her recent directing credits include KillJoy with the laserbeanz and Fish for the Rollercoaster Ensemble. She received a Masters in Writing for Performance from VCA in 2016.

Bec Matthews

BEC MATTHEWS is a percussionist, drummer, performer, teacher, musical director, composer, sound designer and noisemaker. She is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts where she studied orchestral percussion. Bec toured as a permanent member of the Circus Oz ensemble from 2010 to 2014. Swinging in the air from Arnhem Land to New York she is known as the drummer who hits every mark and marks every hit. Bec is co-creator of the multi award-winning act Yana Alana and Tha Paranas and has worked with the MTC ‘Peddling’, Women’s Circus, Melbourne Workers Theatre, Musica Viva, VCA, George Dreyfus and Anya Anastasia. Most recently Bec was the sound designer for The Funatorium’s circus cabaret ‘Capatin Hook’s Pirate Party’ at the Sydney Opera House and The Flying Fruit Fly Circus’ award winning production ‘Junk’. She is currently Musical Director and Sound Designer for Queen Kong and the HOMOsapiens.

Wes Snelling

WES SNELLING is an acclaimed cabaret artiste, performance-maker, actor, singer, comedian, writer, director, producer, radio presenter, production/stage/tour manager and mentor. Wes has seeded and starred in many original smash hit cabaret concerts including TRASH (an existential romp set in an airport terminal) and KIOSK (a bio-musical exploring his teenage years growing up in a regional caravan park community). His home-grown performances have seen him tour throughout Australia, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, South Korea, the UK and USA. Directorial credits include working with Judith Lucy, Denise Scott, Sammy J and Randy, Em Rusciano, Laura Davis, and Becky-Lou. Wes is the current Producer of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival national development programs Deadly Funny and Class Clowns. He is also the brains and bones behind the gin-soaked velvet draped nightingale TINA DEL TWIST, who haunts various festivals and venues throughout Australia with her honey infused vocals and comedic wit known to shred Brie.

Sarah Ward

SARAH WARD is a cabaret anarchist, actor and writer. Creator of Yana Alana, a multi award winning, anti-glamour, cabaret performance artist and creator of Queen Kong and The HOMOsapiens, a Melbourne-based punk, gender-variant, queer rock band. Sarah has performed with Circus Oz, La Soiree, Finucane and Smith, Yummy, Arena Theatre Company, Melbourne Workers Theatre and The Women’s Circus. Sarah plays the role of Bobby in the Dee & Cornelius play SHIT and Hook in Hooks Pirate Party. Sarah was one half of cult hip-hop cabaret act, Sista She. She is a writer for the Australian Education Union Magazine.

James Welsby

JAMES WELSBY is a performer, choreographer and producer with a decade of professional experience in dance and cabaret. He graduated from the VCA School of Dance in 2007 and in 2008 founded Phantom Limbs (winner “Best Dance” Melbourne Fringe 2013 and “Melbourne Festival Discovery Award”). He has performed for numerous companies (BRIEFS, Finucane and Smith, Taylor Mac) and independent choreographers (Luke George, Nat Cursio, Martin Del Amo). James is the founder and director of cult cabaret YUMMY, which regularly tours and sells out large scale events.James has choreographed for Club Swizzle, Sisters Grimm, Zoe Coombs Marr, and Lucy Guerin Inc (Pieces for Small Spaces), and has created several full-length shows under his own name. One of which, “HEX,” was performed in Next Wave Festival 2014, the International AIDS Conference 2014, and toured Australia in 2015 - (Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, and Canberra). A nominee for ‘Artist of the Year’ at the 2014 Globe Awards, James' work has also been recognised through awards received from ReelDance, Theatre Works, and Adelaide Fringe. James taught at Chunky Move for five years, and was mentored by choreographer Stephanie Lake through JUMP mentoring.