Tone and Cheek Productions talk about the importance of open-access festivals for LGBTQIA+ artists and audiences

Sat, Jun 17 2023
We caught up with Producer Liam from Tone and Cheek Productions and Club D'Amour revolved around a captivating discussion encompassing Pride Month and the immense significance of having open-access festivals for LGBTQIA+ artists and audiences.
Performers stand on stage with hands to the sky.
Why do you partake in an open access arts festival? Do you think open access arts festivals allow LGBTQIA+ artists to share their work openly with no boundaries? 

The brilliance of open-access arts festivals is that everyone has an opportunity to share their stories. We’ve had audiences who don’t identify as LGBTQIA+ but wanted to experience the show and enjoyed seeing something that was different to their lived experience. We've also had quite a lot of LGBTQIA+ identifying audience members who enjoy a show and representation which is really rewarding as creators and a big part of why we do it.

Your show has a diverse range of creatives identifying as LGBTQIA+, why is this important to you? 

We wanted to tell a queer love story which was the thread between all of the amazing individual performances in the show, we gravitated towards artists who would bring skill and emotion to this. There is something really exciting as an LGBTQIA+ identifying performer to tell these stories that you didn’t get to see when you were younger and discovering your identity. 

How important is it for us to see Queer produced shows? 

Growing up, LGBTQIA+ characters in mainstream television or film were always portrayed as the ‘funny-Gay-best friend’ or one dimension caricatures which didn’t resonate, we were never the main character which is why shows with a Queer lens are so important to show representation. 

Tell us about yourself and the show you produce?

Tone & Cheek Productions created Club D'amour in 2021; a back-alley French brothel set deep in the red-light district of Paris, where guests are treated to a night of fiery fun through a flirtatious fusion of dance, burlesque, circus, and live music. Think Moulin Rouge combined with 50 Shades of Grey and a dash of Rocky Horror, Club D’amour chains together Western Australia's sexiest talent and explores a story of forbidden Queer love. The show delivers jaw locking gags, filthy fun, and debauchery in a hilariously energetic showcase of the world’s oldest profession. 

How would you describe Tone and Cheek Productions? 

Tone & Cheek Productions, established in 2021, is a creative partnership between Natalie Oakes and Liam Guiney, born with a love and passion for the arts and live performance. Our combined experience within the performing arts, events, and fringe environment, made this the perfect match for developing and producing successful live productions.

Tone & Cheek aims to shock, surprise and push the boundaries to develop and deliver innovative and entertaining productions, all with the motto - dirty, debaucherous and downright delicious! Expect to leave any Tone & Cheek production questioning your sexuality, covered in glitter, and a belly sore from laughter.

What’s the reaction you receive from audiences for Club D’Amour?   

We've had an overwhelming response of love from our audiences, you always hope people enjoy your work but to see them bouncing out of the venue at the end so enthusiastically is incredible. We have a few audience interaction moments in the show and one show we had a member of the Trans community volunteer to take part. I've never seen someone shine so bright on stage, the audience were cheering him on and it was a great moment of celebration. He mentioned to the cast afterwards that this was one of the first times He'd been out in public since transitioning and wanted to step outside of his comfort zone by getting on stage. It was magical to see someone celebrate their authentic self. For us it's a silly moment in the show which always gets a laugh, but you never consider the impact of creating a safe and inclusive space.