The 2nd Annual TRANSFORM Cabaret Festival presented by Urban Ink and The Cultch is coming digitally from September 24 to October 3, 2020.
Following the success of 2019’s inaugural festival, festival co-curators Corey Payette (Artistic Director, Urban Ink) and Heather Redfern (Executive Director, The Cultch) present another groundbreaking festival to revitalize 2020. “This year’s festival is everything that you remember from last year,” says Payette, “only digital.” Some of the most popular artists from last year return, joined by exciting new performers for this online festival that aims to decolonize the digital stage.
TRANSFORM Cabaret Festival prioritizes the work of Indigenous artists, and values collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists. Returning for the second year, last year, Musqueam Protocol Keeper, Quelemia Sparrow, leads the ceremonies and celebrations. IBPOC, queer, and non-binary artists and creators are centred in all the festival spaces—digital and otherwise. “I think what is really fantastic,” says Payette, “is that Indigenous and non-Indigenous collaborations are leading the way [with online creation], and now some of the innovations are going to be tailored to Indigenous perspectives.”
Also returning, Hot Brown Honey’s Australian co-creators Lisa Fa’alafi and Busty Beatz, along with Vancouver’s Pippa Mackie as Assistant Director are directing a core group of artists: Quanah Style, Sierra Tasi Baker, Kimmortal, Leiah Luz, Chelsea Rose, and JB the First Lady, all working—remotely and physically distanced—to create exclusive material for the festival. These core artists will be the keystone of two weekly Bashes to kick off the two festival weekends. The Bashes will also serve to introduce the artists with feature shows happening in the subsequent weekends.
The first weekend of the festival will include three full-length shows in addition to the Opening Night Bash. Kicking it off are returning favourites The Darlings, with a brand new digital show. New to the festival, is Black and bearded UK drag sensation, Le Gateau Chocolate with ICONS. Wrapping up the weekend with some family fun is Vancouver’s favourite Drag family, Peach Cobblah, Isolde N. Barron and some of their friends with another favourite from 2019’s festival, Family Drag Brunch, Storytime & Dress-up!
Week two of the festival has two full-length shows plus a second Opening Night Bash. Candy Palmater takes the digital stage for a special TRANSFORM episode of her APTN show, The Candy Show, featuring a lineup of star-studded guests—Kent Monkman, Jeremy Dutcher, Elvira Kurt, and Cameron Fraser-Monroe. Fan favourites, Vancouver’s Indigenous burlesque troupe, Virago Nation close off the festival with a new show—Deadleh Indigenous.
“It was so important to us as makers to have this amazing project, to make this festival,” says Heather Redfern. “But, most of all it is important that the artist and the audience have the opportunity to connect with each other. That is the most important thing—it is why we exist.”
A highlight of moving the festival online is that Vancouver audiences can now share the fun with their friends and families from near and far. This year’s festival allows The Cultch to introduce people from all over the world to TRANSFORM Cabaret Festival, and give them the opportunity to connect to this powerful group of artists.
“There is something exciting about creating art for a digital experience, where you are not just trying to capture a live performance with an audience, and so you feel like you are missing out on being in the room. But now the room is online, and there is something so exciting about knowing that that is the format that it was created for.” says Corey Payette, Co-curator
Find the full 2020 TRANSFORM festival line-up and buy tickets at transformcabaret.com.