If you follow her Insta stories, you'll see that Cléo is pretty busy right now!
The 27-year-old ‘artist / singer / producer / entertainment programmer’ recently finished doing New Kid's on the Block at Connections; is currently gearing up for the grand opening show of a brand new venue; has her latest instalment of Cléo’s Big Gay Cabaret coming up at The Ellington where she's also the Program Director; all while doing Stage Bookings at The Royale Theatre – both pretty much full-time!
But don't worry, Cléo still has time to party. We asked her all about it.
Cléo’s Big Gay Cabaret V is coming up soon… What’s it all about?
Cléo’s Big Gay Cabaret is about showcasing Perth’s queer talent and having a dedicated space for queer people and allies to come and see it! This time around I’ve got Ronnie Rum Punch, Rukua Kavakura, Karl Kayoss, Moesha, Sugar Du Joure, Lotta L’amour and a very special guest to be announced!
After the show, we move the tables out of the way and dance to an ever rotating playlist of gay anthems - and I take requests from the crowd! I also always provide my show’s guests with free lollipops, glow sticks and bubble wands, which makes for a very fun dance party.
Then around 1am when The Ellington closes, we all ramble over to Connections and carry on dancing!
The show was meant to be on in July but got delayed by the Covid lockdown, how has this effected the show/you personally?
It was a huge shame when the show got delayed, as it was actually originally scheduled for May, and we were just about to go on sale when we got plunged into lockdown.
So it was actually delayed twice over! I was sad because my show is what brings me together with my community and gives me an opportunity to get on stage, as I’m so busy with work I can’t pursue performing as much as I’d like to. The cast have all been so great about rescheduling, though.
I actually had planned to make this more of a musical show, but unfortunately my pianist wasn’t available for the reschedule date, so that’s going to have to be on hold until the next one, thanks to lockdown!
This is your fifth Big Gay Cabaret, how has the show evolved since the first?
The first was actually a cheeky Budgie Smuggler takeover I did for the Fringe World Festival 2020, so technically this is my sixth!
The Budgie Smuggler night was so great and I got so much wonderful feedback that I decided to turn it into its own show. Since then the number of performers I book has increased by quite a few, and I’ve started singing the odd number in the show as well.
But the core element remains - queer performers, dance party with the crowd afterwards!
Any other highlights or fun information you’d like to add?
Lotta L’amour’s act for this show features four other amazing Perth burlesque performers, Ida Ocean, Tiffany Tassels, Tallulah Tittsberg and Ronnie Rum Punch (who is also doing a solo in the show) and draws inspiration from Crazy Horse Paris… definitely one you want to see!
You’re also gearing up for a new show at a brand new venue? That sounds exciting, what’s that all about?
Planet Royale is a brand new three bar and kitchen venue opening in Northbridge on the 20th August, containing a decked out arcade called Barcadia, a Pulp Fiction themed kitchen called Pulp Kitchen (think Royale with cheese and a five dollar shake) a beautiful lush cocktail bar with floor to ceiling windows called Major Tom’s, and finally The Royale Theatre, which I am in charge of booking!
For our grand opening show, I really wanted to showcase a little bit of everything the theatre will be booking, so we’ve got a live band, burlesque, drag, circus and more as part of I’m With The Banned! It’s a mostly queer cast by chance, but I’m very happy about that.
You can find out about tickets (selling fast) and see line up announcements over at @royaletheatreperth on Instagram.
What other LGBTQI+ Events in Perth that we should look out for?
Two amazing regular queer events to keep an eye out for happening regularly are Oddball at Connections, and Cherry Bomb at Lucy’s Love Shack.
I love Spectacles Productions shows (Liberty Genre’s production company) and it’s been amazing to see Sugar Blue Burlesque getting involved with the queer community and platforming queer performers on their socials throughout Pride month.
I am a huge BarbieQ fan and love anything she puts on, and of course, you have to come to I’m With The Banned for The Royale Theatre’s Grand Opening, which as I mentioned before features a mostly queer cast, and is produced by queer icon Bettie Bombshell.
What do you think is great about the LGBTQ+ Community in Perth?
It took me a while to find my niche in Perth’s LGBTQ+ Community, but it’s definitely amongst burlesque and drag performers, who usually tend to be part of the LGBTQ+ community.
I just love the support everyone shows for each other, how willing we all are to help each other, and how we all defend each other against homophobia, discrimination and abuse fiercely.
...and what improvements would you like to see for the community here?
I’d like to see those in our community who are white uplifting our BIPOC members every day as they choose which shows to attend, plan show casts, speak with peers and family members, choose who to follow and share on social media, and choose which organisations to donate spare money to.
For a small start finding resources on white privilege, anti-racism and organisations to donate to (check the ‘anti racism’ highlight on my Instagram story) and think about doing some research, and adding an anti-racism highlight to your own!
I don’t think we can truly call it a community until everyone in it feels welcomed and loved, and on that note we must also do more to ensure our trans, non binary and gender fluid members feel safe and welcome at events too.
There’s an event happening over in Melbourne at The Butterfly Club called T4T that’s run by trans people, for trans people, and it would be wonderful to see that happen here too. I believe comedian Anna Piper Scott (originally from Perth) put it together, you can follow her @annapiperscott on Instagram.
What would you recommend for anyone new to Perth that they must see or do here?
If you’re queer, new to Perth and looking for your people, the places to go weekly are upstairs at Connections on a Friday or Saturday, to Pop at Connections on a Thursday, or to Drag Factory at The Court on a Wednesday.
Can you tell us about a moment during one of your recent events that made you feel really great?
A few people who I had never met in my life came to my show and stayed on for the afterparty, and we danced to Kylie Minogue, did the Macarena, and had a grand old time.
It’s so nice when you have that lovely, free kind of connection with totally new people and spend ages dancing with them!
Cléo says: “But the core element remains - queer performers, dance party with the crowd afterwards!”