Cabaret Panel

Geraldine Quinn - Panel Chair

GERALDINE QUINN (Spicks and Specks, Whovians, Upper Middle Bogan, True Story with Hamish & Andy) is an award-winning rock cabaret writer/performer who has toured Australia, New Zealand and UK. She has 18 Green Room Award nominations (winning three), two Melbourne International Comedy Festival Golden Gibbo Award nominations for Best Independent Local Production (winning in 2011), won the 2015 NZ Fringe Best Cabaret Award, and is a two-time Moosehead Award recipient (2011 and 2014). In 2017 she made her directorial debut with 'Clara Cupcakes - The Worst' for Melbourne International Comedy Festival, a show which was also nominated for a Golden Gibbo Award. She was a feature performer at the David Bowie Is… exhibition in Melbourne, and started Australia’s first cabaret podcast in 2015. She is healthily enamoured of the work of David Bowie and not at all obsessed.

Emma Clair Ford

EMMA CLAIR FORD is a cabaret artist, writer, independent producer and arts administrator. She holds a BA in Music Theatre Performance (University of Ballarat). In 2010 and 2011 Emma was Festival Director for Short+Sweet Cabaret Melbourne, and was a finalist in the 10th Annual Australian Cabaret Showcase in 2012. Emma is one third of vocal comedy trio The Candy Topps, who have performed together for over a decade creating shows such as Sing Happy and multiple-Green-Room-Award-nominated Femme Fatale. Solo cabaret ventures include The Black Sea Express, Stockholm, Lila Gray, Butterscotch and Laugh Until I Cry. Other highlights include numerous productions for Garry Ginivan Attractions, Anthony Crowley’s The Journey Girl, Opera Australia’s Il Trovatore, Lead Vocalist for China Orchestral Tours, The Divine Sisters for Hartington Productions, and Pacific Overtures for Watch This Productions.

Dave Barclay

DAVE BARCLAY studied Bachelors of Theatre Performance at BAPA and of Music at ACU (conducting) and Box Hill Institute (composition). Never content with just one discipline, he has been working as a musician, storyteller, director and dramaturge in the theatre and cabaret scenes for fifteen years. On stage highlights include The Wild Blue, Working, tick, tick… BOOM!, Little Shop Of Horrors, Brooklyn, Five Guys Named Moe, and Goat Town. He worked as the musical director, MC and performed at Witches in Britches Theatre Restaurant, but misses his three-inch stits the most. Behind the scenes he musically directed Ash Flanders’ cabaret trilogy Negative Energy Inc., Special Victim and Playing To Win, directed and designed Parade, I Sing! and Into The Woods and composed and musically directed the 2012 graduating company’s The Tempest (Arts Academy) where he currently teaches.

Benn Bennett

BENN BENNETT is a Songwriter, Cabaret Artist and M.C. He has written and produced a variety of shows including: ‘Black Bag’ (with Wes Snelling, MICF 2008) ‘Mandate’ (with David Quirk, MICF 2012) and ‘Up Late With Kate’- The Music of Kate Bush (Darebin Music Feast, 2012) He has also performed at Melbourne Fringe, Stockholm Fringe and the 2009 World Outgames in Copenhagen. Benn was the keyboardist for Ali Mcgregor’s ‘Late Night Variety Night’ from 2009-13 at The Famous Spiegeltent and he performed in both Melbourne and Edinburgh. He has also written original music for Heath McIvor’s show ‘Randy is Sober’ (2013), Adam Hill’s ‘Clown Heart’ (2015) and Hannah Gadsby’s web series, ‘Renaissance Woman’ (2016) Benn was nominated for the MICF Golden Gibbo Award in 2008 and for a Green Room Award for his musical contribution to Wes Snelling's show 'Kiosk' in 2009.

Rebekah Church (Becky Lou)

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.

Anthony Crowley

ANTHONY CROWLEY is a multi award-winning playwright, composer, director, designer, dramaturge and educator. His body of work includes musicals, opera, cabaret, plays, devised theatre, performance and several short works in addition to corporate, government and community projects. He is the recipient of several major commissions and awards including; The Wal Cherry Play Of The Year Award, The Malcolm Robertson Prize for Drama, The Sumner Locke Elliot - New Dramatists Award, An R.E.Ross Trust Award, An Australian Musical Foundation Grant, An Opera Australia Young Artists Residency, The Pratt Prize For Musical Theatre and The Victorian Premiers Literary Award For Best Music Theatre Script. He is a former Artistic Director/CEO of Victoria’s St.Martins Youth Arts Centre and a former Head of Music at the National Institute of Dramatic Art.

Letitia Keraney

LETITIA KEARNEY is a writer, producer, actor and reviewer. As a theatre maker she has produced and toured her own works in Australia and as an administrator she has facilitated on Arts and Cultural Sponsorship panels, worked for Melbourne Fringe Festival and across several of Melbourne’s performing arts venues in various roles. She has also curated programming for cabaret, burlesque, live music and comedy events within the festival circuit. Currently she is a Chapel off Chapel team member, running the front of house team and supporting the marketing and production teams.

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.

Fiona Thorn

FIONA THORN is the creator of "Brazilian Goddess" Pastel Vespa, who has released 2 albums with Spanish label Siesta and has toured the U.K. [Bloomsbury Theatre London, The Dome Brighton, King’s Theatre Glasgow, The Famous Spiegeltent Edinburgh, The Palladium Edinburgh etc] and Australia [Opera House, The Famous Spiegeltent etc] with Bob Downe. Fiona majored in French and Linguistics at Melbourne Uni and studied French literature at the Sorbonne university in Paris. Her French shows include "He drank too many cigarettes" [Opera House, The Famous Spiegeltent] and "Fais-moi mal Johnny" [The Famous Spiegeltent]. Shows she has written include Million Sellers with Bob Downe (nominated for 3 Green Room awards), and All Het Up with Guy Rundle and John Thorn (nominated for 2 Green Room Awards and the only Australian show invited to be part of the 2005 New York Music Theatre Festival.) On television she has appeared in various series and commercials, including Stingers, The Games, Round the Twist, High Flyers, and Man From Snowy River, Yoplait, Antz Pantz, and she has sung live on Good Morning Australia, the Midday Show and Denise.

Shanon D Whitelock

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.