On the Couch with Rosie Roulette

AAR-OTC-Rosie-Roulette-photo-by-3-Fates-MediaWho is Rosie Roulette?
My name is Rosie Roulette. I am a disabled, queer and non-binary artist and producer living in Melbourne. I produce The Chronic Cabaret, A Disability Talent and Talk Show. This show platforms and showcases disabled and chronically ill performers from across burlesque, drag and cabaret, putting a spotlight on their art and also sitting down with them one on one in between acts to chat about what life as an artist with disability is really like.

As an artist with disability who has performed professionally for most of my life, this show means a lot to me. I grew up with a genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which essentially affects all the glue that holds the body together. My first dislocation was at 5 years old, and this reoccurring dislocation made growing up studying dance and musical theatre very difficult. As I got older it only got more difficult. I moved from Aotearoa, NZ to Melbourne in 2014 after securing an agent here.

Unfortunately my wonky joints and other disabilities often got in the way of pursuing auditions and work in a lot of professional theatre. But there was no way I would let my Bachelor in Performing Arts (musical theatre) go to waste, so I took a DIY attitude to my work and that’s when I stepped into producing and performing in burlesque and cabaret. A decision I have never regretted.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
In the last few years alone, I have learned a lot about the importance of self-care and sharing the workload as a disabled artist. Especially thanks to the pandemic. If I could go back to earlier in my career I would remind myself that I don’t have to do it ALL on my own, I can ask for help, and it’s important to plan and schedule rest. I am now building more healthy habits so I don’t burn out and building a team of trusted artists and people around me to help me on my endeavours.

Who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by a lot of artists. Locally I am inspired by many diverse artists doing their thing and living their truths in Melbourne. People such as Evana De Lune, Kitty Obsidian, Ruby Slippers, Belial B’Zarr and Randy Roy. These artists push the boundaries of art and self-expression as well as hustle hard to make their art their full time jobs. I also look up to incredible writer, advocate and speaker Carly Findlay who advocates every single day for disability awareness and accessibility in the arts. I hope to be able to make as much of an impact in the arts one day as she does.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I am pushing for better accessibility in Melbourne, Australia and worldwide. Art is my chosen platform to talk about and inspire change. And whilst it feels small potatoes at the moment, I know that art can go a long way in making an impact and making people think. I want to inspire acceptance for marginalized communities, including the disabled community and trans folks. Social change always starts with acceptance. We are here, we exist, our existence is not a crime. I hope I can help this message stick so that we can invoke real change for disabled, trans and queer people.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Japan. Hands down. As a creative person I have always been inspired by Harajuku fashion, cute and creepy aesthetic and by many things that are popular in Japanese culture. It is also my favourite place to visit because the culture of awareness and politeness to everyone around you just on the street is unparalleled. I can not even begin to explain to you the relief I feel each time I visit Japan just being around a culture of people who are mindful of each other.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Most likely whatever event is on in our local queer and/or burlesque scene, provided that it’s accessible. I’m all about supporting local artists.

What are you currently reading?
I am not really much of a reader, my ADHD brain betrays me, but I am a massive gamer. I recently deleted all of my data in Animal Crossing so I could start a brand new island. It is a charming comfort game which is exactly what I need right now thanks to the ongoing stress of life.

What are you currently listening to?
I have been listening, on repeat, the new Melanie Martinez album, Portals. She is an artist who is passionate about aesthetics and world building to an extreme level which I really appreciate. I am always looking to combine strong visuals and storytelling in the art that I create as well.

Happiness is?
Dear Lord, does any of us truly know the answer to that question? Happiness is a familiar stranger, a fleeting visitor, I think it’s unwise to expect it to stay with you consistently, forever. It comes and goes. And that’s okay. We are creatures of emotion and emotions change as life morphs around us, relentlessly ticking forward with no care for whether you’re able to keep up or not. So we can only do our best to be flexible and roll along with it, enjoying all the little moments life brings in our inevitable tumble to the finish line.

What does the future hold for you?
I am hopeful. I would like to say that the future holds success for me in the arts. I would like to say it holds a place for my music, my activism, and the projects I hold most dear. I want to see The Chronic Cabaret grow and continue to platform disabled and chronically ill artists and to share their stories.

I hold on to hope that we can get better disability education out to everyone. Because disability is an issue that affects EVERYONE, you either die young or live long enough to see yourself become disabled. Once awareness reaches that level of understanding, and we can all appreciate that accessibility benefits us ALL then may we start to see the change we want to see in the world.

Rosie is the Producer of The Chronic Cabaret – an accessible and astonishing show that will be presented for 2 shows only at Kindred Bandroom on Friday 26 May (evening) and Saturday 27 May (matinee). For more information and bookings, visit: www.moshtix.com.au for details.

Image: Rosie Roulette – photo by 3 Fates Media