BroadwayWorld caught up with Ian Stroughair, curator of new cabaret festival The Big Smoke.

What is The Big Smoke Festival?

The Big Smoke is a week-long festival of music, comedy, musicals, and variety.

How did the festival come about?

I was performing my show Iconic - A Brief History of Drag in Australia wondering why there wasn't a festival of this kind in the capital. So I thought- why not put one on myself? I've always been a doer!

Who will be performing?

All types from the biggest West End stars to award-winning drag queens. Our lineup includes Louise Dearman, Cassie Compton, IDA Girls, The Jersey Quartet and many more!

What can audiences expect from the festival?

A chance to see some of England's greatest musical talents up close and personal in and beautiful intimate space, The Other Palace studio.

Will it be an annual event?

Yes! Watch this space - We want it to be as big as the Edinburgh festival one day!

Tell us a bit about your own show Iconic- A Brief History which is part of the programme.

It celebrates the most iconic drag moments in film, stage and popular culture. It's a cabaret featuring the legendary music of Queen, Bowie, Boy George, Lady Gaga, Tina Turner and more.

You took Iconic to Perth and Melbourne earlier in the year- how did that go?

It was incredible. The audiences out there were exceptional and really appreciative and switched on. They know their cabaret over there. The weather and beaches were the just the icing on the cake!

And you're taking it to Edinburgh as well?

Yes, we are at Assembly Checkpoint, at 21:30 for the entire month of August! Checkpoint is also my favourite venue at the festival.

You released your debut album at the end of 2017, do you have any plans to release more music?

Yes, the next album will be a collection of duets with the leading ladies I have performed with over the years. It's going to be EPIC!

More information on The Big Smoke Festival is available on The Other Palace website.

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