It’s the second Lili’s Ladies of the Year (or the Lili’s as I have affectionately and slightly egotistically named them!) it’s a time when I reflect over the year and give a virtual high-five to women in my circle who are doing amazing, creative or just good old stirling work!
This year has a definite performing lean – this has been my busiest performing year yet and so it only follows that the women I come into contact with are from that world. The list is by no means exhaustive, I’m surrounded by incredible women who are all in charge of their business.
Working in the creative arts sometimes feels as though you are on a boat. Times of flying along with the wind in your sails followed by what feels like tides of doldrums and becalmed non-activity. It’s learning to ride the swell and keep your head down that gets you through. So, women, I give you a round of applause, which admittedly is just me clapping alone in my kitchen whilst a bemused dachshund looks on, however it is a round of applause nonetheless.
So, the Lili’s this year go to:
Watching Aurora Galore make waves in her ‘Year of the Weirdo’ has been joyous. From globe-trotting to award-winning, Aurora has been doing awesome things both onstage and off. From her make-up vlogs and her creative costuming to her fierceness and fearlessness onstage, it has been a bumper year for Aurora.
A woman of many skills, her fan dancing has to be seen to be believed and this year she has been passing those skills over to other performers in her sold-out fan dance workshops.
In June she won ‘Most Innovative’ at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Vegas with a performance of such ferocity and kookyness that it left the audience open-mouthed and on their feet.
If you get the chance to see her live in 2015, do, she’ll knock your socks off.
[photo: Aurora Galore]
Joanna Woodward/Coco Dubois
As a host, I rarely get to work with other hosts and I have to watch their careers run parallel to mine on various social media. At the tail end of this year, I got the chance to work with Coco at the Black Cat Salon des Artistes having wanted to work alongside her for ages. We were down an act and she stepped in at the last moment after her show was unexpectedly cancelled and she absolutely killed the audience, who quite rightfully gave her a standing ovation. She is a performer who manages, successfully, to have a foot in both cabaret and musical theatre. As I write this blog, she has just started rehearsals for a new West End production of ‘Beautiful – The Carole King Musical’ having already appeared in the hugely successful revival of Sondheim’s ‘Merrily We Roll Along’.
As well as having an astonishing voice, she has also been an outspoken voice for mental health and size issues on her blog, which is both emotional, honest and truly gives a glimpse into the, at times, fragile psyche of an artist. As well as writing, singing and hosting she has also been nominated for a London Cabaret Award this year.
So cabaret’s loss is musical theatre’s gain – for a while – I hope she’ll come back!
[photos: Andrew Nash & Lovany Manson]
I’m a complete vintage addict and Amanda Suter is one of my favourite vintage dealers. If I had to pick one place to get my fix in 2015, it would be Butchwax Vintage. Her stock is divine, like seriously world-class, A grade, stunning vintage. I’m never more thrilled than when a glorious piece she posts in her Etsy shop is not my size!
From gowns made for Persian royalty to frocks from Hawaii and everything in between, she is my go to gal for beautiful pieces that make me smile. She has an amazing eye for vintage that is unusual and rare as well as just downright divine.
Looking at her gorgeous clothes really does bring a smile to my face and I’m always enjoy it when she lists her new things and there is an internet scramble for the choicest morsels! Her parcels come beautifully packaged and wrapped with love and I’m always excited when one drops onto my doormat. I urge you to look at her fabulous Etsy shop.
[photos: Amanda Suter]
Three years ago, I started my variety show, AFVS, at the Edinburgh Festival. I was in the early stages of being pregnant with my son and I was aware that my lifting, carrying and people organising abilities were slightly compromised! I decided to take on an intern for the Fringe and I put the call out. I sifted through a raft of applications and one caught my eye. It was from a teenager from Dundee.
She didn’t have much experience, she hadn’t worked in cabaret but something kept bringing me back to her email. I decided to interview her and adored her immediately. I was concerned at her age so decided to take on a different chap and offer her work experience for the month. It was the worst decision ever, the chap turned out to be utterly incompetent and Sophie saved the day after day after day! She learned quickly, was efficient and awesome to be around.
She is amazing at organising, wrangling performers and keeping everyone (including me) on the straight and narrow. Since then, she has become a fixture of our team and even though she is now studying stage management at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London, we can’t imagine doing a variety show without her. Once she’s graduated, I’m sure she’ll be fighting off offers of work and I will be thrilled to see her doing amazing shows.
Miss Corcoran has had a rather fabulous year, a sell-out season of a brand new Frisky & Mannish show at the Edinburgh Fringe with her partner-in-crime Mannish (Matthew Floyd Jones), followed by a very successful tour and directing the Elaine Paige show and national tour.
I have been lucky enough to work with her regularly at the Cafe Royal for the Salon des Artistes and her powerhouse vocals and inspired interpretations never fail to make me applaud very loudly. Her rendition of Florence & the Machine’s ‘Girl with One Eye’ remains one of my favourite interpretations of 2014. When Frisky goes freaky it’s fricking fabulous.
I look forward to working with her more in 2015 – hurrah for sisterhood.
So those are some of the ladies who inspired me this year. I can’t wait for 2015 and to be inspired again by all the creative, clever and funny ladies with whom I get to pass time. See you next year!
Love Lili. x