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Showgirl glamour cabaret for Whakatane

Thu 19 Jun 2014 In: Performance View at Wayback View at NDHA

Pepper Hudson (centre) with fellow Priscilla touring show cast members There are unlikely to be many links between North Melbourne and the Bay of Plenty, but Whakatane trans woman Pepper Hudson is forging one, drawing on her theatrical and showgirl experience in Australia as she puts together a new cabaret show. Hudson, of Ngati Awa lineage, spent most of her adult life across the Tasman, transitioning in her late teens and working in her latter years in workforce education and with the Australian Department of Defence. Now settled back in Whakatane she's involved in elderly care and nursing, and as property manager for a Maori property trust. "But I still dabble in showbiz," she says, recalling her years training up-and-coming showgirls in Melbourne and showcasing them at a small coffee lounge venue, Tricia's. That performing experience saw her travelling Australia between 1994 and 1999 as a cast member of the Priscilla touring stage show. Hudson has gathered together a handful of performers, aspiring showgirls and singers mostly, to create a night of "Las Vegas-style" song, dance, humour "and a bit of glamour" for Saturday June 28, called Double Ds. She's promising "big hair, big sounds and lavish costumes." She will compère the show and is also the director, following her artistic philosophy of "bigger is better... there's a place for flamboyance." At the moment she is overseeing the rehearsals, scripting, costume creation and many of the other jobs needed to launch a show. "I'm multi-tasking," she laughs. "That's a queen's life isn't it... making something out of nothing!" Several of the cast will be performing in public for the first time, "so I'm guiding them into and through it." She's grateful that others are also helping out in production roles such as the music and lighting. Of being a trans woman in the semi-rural BOP, Hudson says just being her down to earth self has meant she seems to have fitted well into the local community. "There are no issues," she says. While she's all for flamboyance on stage it has no place in her everyday life. "It's a behaviour thing... I'm not outrageous or over the top, I have good friendships and I take responsibility for who I am... people seem to appreciate and accept that." Double Ds is a two hour show which starts at 8pm and can be preceded by a set menu, a la carte or bistro dinner with the cabaret itself playing out in Whakatane's Top Shelf Bar. Bookings are also available through Detour Bar and Lounge and the Office Bar. Jay Bennie - 19th June 2014    

Credit: Jay Bennie

First published: Thursday, 19th June 2014 - 3:49am

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