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Interview: Theatremaker and Cabaret Artist Olivia Brand from Chance Collective

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Their next work, Slip Slop Slime, is happening at the Zoo this weekend.

Next up on my local artists interview segment is *drum roll please*.... theatremaker and cabaret artist Olivia Brand. Olivia is a member of Chance Collective, which is also made up of Victoria Barlow, Siobhan Gibbs, Milly Walker, and our inter-state artist, Honor-Webster Mannison. They have been working together for over four years, developing theatre works, interactive experiences, children's experiences, and cabaret shows. And their next work Slip Slop Slime is happening at the Brightside this weekend. Here's what Olivia had to say about it...

Interview: Theatremaker and Cabaret Artist Olivia Brand from Chance Collective

VIRAG: Your company Chance Collective is holding a cabaret event 'Slip Slop Slime' at the Brightside this Saturday. From what you've shared on your socials, the artists you have lined up for this event is quite extraordinary. Have you worked with some of these performers before or are they collaborations that have always been on your bucket list?

Why thanks - we're pretty chuffed with our line-up! It's going to be such an outrageously fun night! The performing scene here is just ridiculously stuffed with talent, hey? The line-up is a mix of friends and collaborators as well as performers we've admired for a long time. One member of our collective, Siobhan, is a drag performer, and is actually MCing the night as her persona Gogo Bumhole. This venture definitely helped us connect with powerhouses like Fortuna Maxima, Vivica D Fox, and Bhangra United. On the other hand, Frigid Sinbin, DJ Goo, and Johanna Lyon are all performers we've known for years. Bad Sext are our long-term comedy rock babes, they've written a killer song for our show and will be performing a duo set on the night. Oh and after seeing Miss Bubbles' perform at Ruckus Fest in 2019 we knew we had to work with her and get some bubbly goodness for ourselves. We're so honored to be surrounded by such incredibly talented artists and feel very grateful that we're able to showcase them on Saturday night!

Interview: Theatremaker and Cabaret Artist Olivia Brand from Chance Collective

VIRAG: The cabaret is a fundraising event for your show Sludge Bank. Can you tell us about that?

OLIVIA: YES. Sludge Bank is a bit of a wild ride, blending theatre, drag, and camp performance styles, it feels a bit like a b-grade 80s horror film. AND it's about climate change. Because we figured - why not make a show about climate change that's kind of fun? It's set in a new eco-friendly apartment building here in Meanjin (Brisbane), where a snarky slime-creature has begun lurking in the pipes. Slowly the inner-city, upper-class apartments begin to rapidly fill with the mysterious, sentient slime that won't stop until it's consumed every cavoodle in sight. Our main residents have to put their body-corporate bureaucracy, paleo vs vegan debates, and Instagram activism aside to save themselves and everyone in the face of climate disaster. Sludge Bank tries to dissect that tension between a public interest in climate awareness and actual climate action.

The contradictory nature of this has led to a rise in greenwashing campaigns and virtue signalling activism, and we wanted to call ourselves out for this and start some conversations. What's often depicted with climate disaster is that it's far away - like melting ice-caps or the destruction of the Amazon Forest. Climate Disaster is coming for everyone, but we're told the most privileged will feel it last. We wanted to ask- how would we react if the worst of it came now? It's a bit of an attacking comedy that is also oddly affirming, and like we said Bad Sext have written an original song for Sludge Bank so there's some good dance moments too.

Interview: Theatremaker and Cabaret Artist Olivia Brand from Chance Collective

VIRAG: What was the creative process like for Sludge Bank? Or is it still undergoing?

OLIVIA: It's still going but has been in the works for a while! We started talking about Sludge Bank over zoom in April 2020 while we were all trapped in lockdown, and it's had 3 creative developments since. We generally like to stew on things for a while, our process is a mix of conversation, rehearsals, and then getting up and moving, or plotting out and writing the script together. We take the idea of creating collectively pretty seriously, we share a lot of brain cells by the end of a process. Our first development was in November 2020, where we conceptually devised the show. Then in February this year we were lucky to have a Creative Development at Backbone where we polished off the latest draft of our script. In April, we had another Creative Development and Work in Progress Showing at Metro Arts where we were able to put the first draft of the show on, set, costumes and all. We were able to bring local creatives Aurora Liddle Christie, Sho Eba, and Ti'ana Thorburn onto the Metro CD and WIP which was just awesome. Our current plans are to develop the show further this year for a premiere season in 2022, and develop touring options for 2022/23. We're nearly at our fundraising target which is pretty exciting as these funds will directly contribute to the future of Sludge Bank.

Interview: Theatremaker and Cabaret Artist Olivia Brand from Chance Collective

VIRAG: What's it like running an independent collective in Brisvegas. I imagine that it comes with its challenges...

OLIVIA: Well COVID was a bit of a shock to everyone's plans, but we think that goes without saying (whoops, we said the c-word!). The biggest and most consistent hurdle for us has been securing funds for our shows, to pay other artists, as well as ourselves. There's a lot of love in creative exchange and in doing what you love, we've met some awesome performers since we started in 2017 and we've grown our skillset heaps. But also a girl's gotta eat right, and there's five of us splitting a meal. We also share all the logistic responsibilities of running a company in addition to our creative roles, which may sound like a logistical nightmare but ultimately we feel like it's why we've been together for so long. Most companies will have an artistic director or a producer calling the shots, but we like being able to support each other in learning these skills and it means we can then all be present for the creative-side of our work. A dream of ours has been to have Chance Collective as a base for ourselves and other artists, which we're always working towards and needs tendering to.

Interview: Theatremaker and Cabaret Artist Olivia Brand from Chance Collective

VIRAG: Lastly, how can we support your company?

Come to our fundraiser! Or donate to our campaign. Or both! You'd be helping our company grow and be helping keep Brisbane weird. You can donate directly to our Pozible campaign here.

Alternatively, if you've got skills or costumes or lighting things, ANYTHING you think we'd value - swing us a message! We would love to hear from you.

Follow Chance Collective @BrisbaneChanceCollctive for Facebook and @chancecollective for Instagram. Or you can visit them on their website: http://chancecollective.com/

Image Credit - Lily Daoud and Tayla Lauren

Poster Credit - Honor Webster-Mannison


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