Based in Brighton, UK, Fat Cabaret is a burlesque/cabaret show where every performer is fat.
Produced by Rosie Blackwell-Sutton and Mathilda Gregory, Fat Cabaret is strong, independent, and with an identity of its own.
Fat Cabaret’s the kind of show we like to support at MG, so we thought we’d have a little chat with Mathilda Gregory to find out a little bit more, and to give her a chance to talk about Fat Cabaret’s work and its aims for the future.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mathilda Gregory of Fat Cabaret!
Initial background question: As performers and producers, how and when did you first get involved in burlesque/cabaret?
I was a stand up comedian in my 20s. I stopped when I had kids but eventually got persuaded back into performing. I was working as a writer and reviewing a lot of shows and decided to make my own and it went from there.
We haven’t been to Fat Cabaret, but it looks like great fun! Please tell us about the show and the idea behind it:
I made a solo show called How to be Fat and Rosie mentioned doing some kind of fat performers cabaret show if I made more work like this. That discussion eventually became Fat Cabaret.
What was the process of setting up the show and how did it go? I notice you had a Crowdfunder campaign – how did that go? And how long did it take to get from the show’s inception to your first show taking place?
We talked about it for a while, probably around a year before we put the first show together. The crowdfunder was a way to pay performers and keep the show accessible. The response to it was incredible.
How did the first show go, and what has been the response to both the first show and the event so far?
Both the shows so far have sold out and the audiences have been some of the most incredible I’ve ever performed for. We have been left in no doubt that people want this.
What challenges do larger bodied performers and audience members face at events? How much of a problem is fatphobia or abuse due to a person’s body size?
A lot of fat performers are often the only fat person on a bill in a cabaret show, meaning they have to justify their right to be onstage. At Fat Cabaret ONLY fat people are allowed onstage.
We’ve seen great performers like Rubyyy Jones and Smashlyn Monroe, plus maybe a few more, but would you say larger performers are unrepresented on stage? Is this something that you’re trying to encourage through Fat Cabaret?
Being fat on stage is a radical act. Fat people are taught that no one wants to look at them. Standing up and demanding to be looked at takes courage. We want to make a place where that courage is supported and respected.
Fat Cabaret looks like a show that could easily go on a tour or at least perform in other cities around the UK (or even beyond). Is this something you’d like to do in the future?
We’d love to and we’re already looking into venues that have approached us.
What is coming up next for Fat Cabaret? Who and what can people expect to see at the next show in June?
That’s all top secret for now. But one thing that is certain is that we will just keep on getting better and better!