On the Couch with Victoria Falconer

ACF Victoria Falconer photo by Nat RogersWho is Victoria Falconer?
My bio tells me that I’m a cabaret performer, music director, multi-instrumentalist, writer and mentor and Co-Artistic Director of Hayes Theatre Co (alongside Richard Carroll) which is all true. I make shows that tell stories through music, that encourage close connection between audience and performer, and that embrace silly, sexy joy whilst also reflecting something about being a human in the world. I care deeply about building and supporting an arts industry that creates sustainable work, and I also make an excellent Bloody Mary.

What would you do differently from what you do now? 
Is it wild to say not much? I moved back to Adelaide in 2020 after living in London for 17 glorious years. Cutting my teeth as a musician and cabaret performer over there was an education unlike any other. The skills, the flexibility, the passion, the ridiculous array of instruments I play onstage, the unpredictable joy of an interaction with an audience member – it all feeds into what I do now.

And real talk, it’s never not simultaneously exciting and terrifying to be an artist – in the same day a few weeks ago, I finished up a brilliant rehearsal period of a new musical at the Hayes Theatre (Ride The Cyclone) whilst also finding out that a picture of my face was used in a national news article about just how little arts workers are earning on average. But I can’t imagine working in a different job – and besides, where else can I claim sequin jumpsuits on my tax return?

Who inspires you and why?
Seeing other artist’s work – in any genre – is always inspiring, and specifically when it really resonates with authenticity. In the last few weeks, I’ve seen a fierce-as-hell dance showcase by Gadigal-based outfit HUMXN (led by powerhouse Sela Vai), the legend Nick Cave in concert (which was absolutely a cabaret show, I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise), our crown prince of cabaret Reuben Kaye absolutely tear the roof off at the Enmore, and music theatre & songwriting star Kala Gare laying down vocals in the studio for her about-to-be-released EP as well as a track for upcoming MTC show My Brilliant Career (which I’m also working on!). In each of these instances, I was hit with that magical sensation that only live performance gives you – the lightning bolt of artistic excellence as true human expression.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Keep using my voice to advocate for my communities – independent, queer and BIPOC-identifying artists – for fair representation on stages, and for causes I believe in. We’re living in a time where advocacy and protest itself is questioned and interrogated – are we doing it correctly, are we doing it enough, on the right platforms, for the right people? I feel that if you have the bandwidth to speak out, then you should do so, in whatever way you can. But from personal experience I also know that advocacy fatigue and burnout is very real. It’s shift work, and there’s a lot to be done.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Always and forever, Croatia – specifically a little island called Mljet. Take a bunch of your closest cabaret friends post-Edinburgh Fringe and frolic in the sea, drinking fruity liqueur made in a bathtub by your 70 year old neighbours and tell me it’s not paradise.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
First things first – if it’s sunny, then it’s straight to the beach. If there’s enough time then top pick is Maslin Beach and a winery lunch. Otherwise, it’s gotta be a cocktail bar crawl (Hains & Co, Pink Moon Saloon, Bibliotecha, so many more) and then a gig or a show – if I have visitors in Adelaide, the best attraction to show them is our lifestyle!

What are you currently reading?
Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered.

What are you currently listening to?
Michael Kiwanuka’s most recent album KIWANUKA, and Allison Russell’s The Returner. Also the In The Heights soundtrack in preparation for my next show, kicking off rehearsal in a few weeks for a season at the Sydney Opera House.

Happiness is?
A perfectly-placed false eyelash, a pre-show pickleback and a show that starts with a bang and crackles with the electricity of audience and performers all feeding off each other’s energy. And then, a sleep-in the next day.

What does the future hold for you?
Long term? Hopefully, making more shows with creatives and performers that I love, and being able to continue to share them with as wide an audience as possible. Mid-term? A huge weekend at my favourite cabaret festival in the world (Adelaide Cabaret Festival), serving up three different shows and delighting in the company of the gorgeous artists that Ginny (Virginia Gay) and the crew have brought together. Short term? A strong oat flat white in the winter sun before heading back into the beautiful dark of the theatre!

Victoria hosts The Parlour – featuring a selection of acclaimed artists from the glittering Adelaide Cabaret Festival program on 14 & 15 June. Victoria can also be seen in Musical Bang Bang on 14 & 15 June, and Homage on 16 June. All shows are presented as part of the 2024 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Image: Victoria Falconer – photo by Nat Rogers