Valerie Hex. James Welsby – Producer/ Director/ Performer
James Welsby is a producer, choreographer and performer with a decade of professional experience in dance and cabaret. He graduated from the VCA School of Dance in 2007 and in 2008 founded Phantom Limbs (winner “Best Dance” Melbourne Fringe 2013 and “Melbourne Festival Discovery Award”). He has performed for numerous companies (BRIEFS, Finucane and Smith, Buzz Dance Theatre, Opera Australia) and independent choreographers (Luke George, Nat Cursio, Martin Del Amo). James has choreographed for Club Swizzle, Sisters Grimm, Zoe Coombs Marr, and Lucy Guerin Inc, and has created several full-length shows under his own name. One of which, “HEX,” was performed in Next Wave Festival 2014, the International AIDS Conference 2014, and toured Australia in 2015 – Brisbane Powerhouse, PICA, RCC, PACT, and The Street. A nominee for ‘Artist of the Year’ at the 2014 Globe Awards, James’s work has also been recognised through awards received from ReelDance, Theatre Works, and Adelaide Fringe. James taught at Chunky Move for five years, and was mentored by choreographer Stephanie Lake through JUMP mentoring. His drag alter ego “Valerie Hex” can now be seen touring internationally with BRIEFS, Glory Box, and YUMMY which is headlining numerous queer festivals in 2017 including Midsumma and Sydney Mardi Gras.
BENI LOLA – COLLABORATING ARTIST/ PERFORMER
With her unique combination of skills in the performance arts, production, writing and education Natasha Jynel (aka Beni Lola) has established herself as a creative powerhouse in Melbourne. After graduating from the Boston Arts Academy in 2004, with awards in technical theatre, Natasha went on to study film and photography at Emerson College on a full scholarship. In 2005, Natasha left Emerson College and immigrated to Australia where she completed studies in English literature/creative writing and education at Latrobe University. Since 2005 Natasha has worked tirelessly both behind the scenes as a producer and on stage as a performer with community based organizations and local artists to develop artistic content that focus on promoting emerging artists and promoting diversity in Australian media. In 2012 creative director Natasha Jynel launched The Fashion Market AU (FMAU) with the focus of creating a new visual narrative that acknowledges and celebrates the diverse style and beauty of contemporary Australia. Beni Lola is now a regular performer with James Welsby’s Yummy and Finuance and Smith. She has also recently produced and directed her own shows: Auto Bio Queen and Threadbare.
KAREN FROM FINANCE – COLLABORATING ARTIST/ PERFORMER
INTRODUCING the newest member of the team – Karen From Finance!!
Karen From Finance is the premiere ‘corporate’ queen of Melbourne, Australia. She lives alone with her budgie ‘Dantè’ and enjoys tax time, office-based bonding activities, and invoice archiving.
After being made redundant from the accounts team at a small pie wholesaler in Geelong, Karen From Finance has since moved to the big smoke to become a real team player here in Melbourne. Make her feel welcome! CC her in on an email. Heck, BCC her if you must! Karen From Finance will always Reply To All. Specialising in BAS statements, Payroll Systems, and Accounts Payable, Karen From Finance takes her role in your office very seriously. She will not leave a Manilla folder unturned. Board meeting? No worries! Karen has your minutes taken! The office fridge will never run out of milk, not with Karen From Finance around. Karen celebrates her New Years on July 1st each year, and isn’t shy of the odd Friday night after-work drink with the ladies. Her weaknesses include the ATO, Revolver, cute temps from the Agency and conjoined paper clips. So long as you don’t pinch her stapler without asking, Karen From Finance really is a good time gal. Take your chats further than the water cooler and buy her a stiff drink. You never know – she could be the one to help you out with your next promotion!!
In 2017 Karen From Finance took off to the United States of America for her first ever international tour where she was featured at RuPaul’s Drag Con, and continued on to headline shows in New York City, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, as well as a feature spot on the Californian based web-series ‘Hey Qween’. November 2017 saw Karen From Finance returning to the United States as a Headliner of the Austin International Drag Festival along side the likes of Milk, Latrice Royale and the UK’s Cheddar Gorgeous.
This ‘Queen of Corporate’ is a regular at hosting contestants from the smash hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race at special events by inthedark entertainment, as well as their exclusive DRAG FEST tours which have included season winners Sasha Velour, Alaska Thunderfuck, Violet Chachki, Jinkx Monsoon, Sharon Needles, Bob The Drag Queen and Raja, as well as fan favourites Katya & Trixie Mattel.
Karen co-wrote, co-produced and co-starred in the full-length independent production ‘Karen & Olympia On Ice’ with Olympia Bukkakis in early 2015, the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival hit ‘Les N Mis’ with Dean Arcuri, as well as the 2017 Adelaide Fringe show ‘Mary’s Divas’. Karen From Finance is one of the original cast members of Melbourne based cult queer cabaret ‘YUMMY’, which is touring the fringe circuits in Australia throughout 2018.
BENJAMIN HANCOCK – COLLABORATING ARTIST/ PERFORMER
Benjamin is a prolific solo performer, having presented work as a contemporary dancer and performance artist for a variety of Sydney/Melbourne clubs, short works nights, commercial/ corporate functions and festivals within Australia and the USA. Within his contemporary practice he has had the opportunity to present solo work through Chunky Move – Next Move, Lucy Guerin Inc – Pieces for Small Spaces, Performance Space – Day For Night, National Gallery of Victoria Australia – Melbourne Now, Mona Gallery & New Orleans Biennial – Prospect 3 USA. Benjamin has also engaged with the performance/club scene for a number of years. Collaborations continue with MOFO & Dark MOFO Festivals Hobart, The Arbory Bar and Eatery and Projekt 3488 Warburton. Other nights, Festivals and venues include: Adelaide Fringe Festival – Strut and Fret, BARBA Party, CLOSET Party, Darwin Festival, Disco Abyss, Unicorns, Honcho DISKO, House of Mince, Hugs & Kisses, The Toff in Town, The Carlton Club, Melbourne Festival, Melbourne International Jazz Festival – The Cave, Melbourne Fringe, Next Wave Festival, Tokyo Sing Song, The X Studio, Hares & Hyenas, NGV and ACMI.
JAMES ANDREWS – COLLABORATING ARTIST/ PERFORMER
James Andrews is an Australian dancer and dance maker working in the realms of experimental contemporary dance as well as the underground queer club landscape. Alongside his dance practice he maintains a broader practice spanning sound, costume and visual design. Since graduating from the VCA he has worked with a range of artists and companies including Lee Serle, Antony Hamilton, CHUNKY MOVE, Supple Fox, MONA, YUMMY, Ghost Pictures, Exit Films, ACCA, James Welsby, Strut & Fret, Shian Law and 2NDTOE to name but a few. Recent performance credits include solo works “An Other”, “I Can Disappear.” and “Between Us” for Performance Space DAY FOR NIGHT 24HRS (Sydney) as well as Antony Hamilton “RUTH”, Lee Serle “P.O.V.”, James Welsby “HEX” (Australian Tour 2015), Geoffrey Watson “Camel”, Ghost Pictures “Ecco Homo” and various projects and events for DARK MOFO (MONA Hobart, 2013-16).
HANNIE HELSDEN – COLLABORATING ARTIST/ PERFORMER
With a comprehensive background in Artistic Gymnastics, Hannie has toured extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand as a long time cast member of Circus Quirkus, performing acrobatics, aerial hoop and hula hoops. A born entertainer, she has done Fringe shows, Corporate events and Cabarets, and has a Bachelor in Circus Arts after completing three years of full time training NICA, Melbourne. She quickly became known, and loved, for her clever character work and high level circus skill. Hannie works in burlesque as well as circus, and has performed as a soloist with Sina King’s Burlesque 54 and The Burly Q Club. She is an original cast member of James Welsby’s YUMMY; A Drag Pop Cabaret which debuted in 2015 to a sold out crowd as a part of MIDWINTA Festival, and has since travelled to Berlin’s Chamäleon Theatre, and rocked a season at the Melba Spegieltent. She has also performed hula hoop and burlesque in Stockholm as a Guest Entertainer at MELT. When Hannie’s not performing you can find her training aerial hoop, hula hoop and pole dancing at Pole and Aerial Divas, where she has been an Aerial Syllabus Coordinator and Pole and Hoop Instructor since 2013.
ZELIA ROSE – COLLABORATING ARTIST/ PERFORMER
Rose steals the stage” as written by The Age and this illustroius talent has graced many from theatres, festivals, & productions worldwide. Zelia came from the world of dance and theatre to become one of Australias most in demand showgirls. Having won “Best Debut” in the reputable Burlesque Hall of Fame, Las Vegas to a standing ovation and rapture applaude, She is also the title holder of Miss Burlesque Australia 2014 & noted in the worldwide top 50 burlesque artists. Zelia is known for her onstage Mojo and Prowess as a dancer, singer, & multi dimentional performing artist.
TANZER – COLLABORATING ARTIST/ PERFORMER
Tanzer is the dark and dazzling solo project for Melbourne-based musician and composer Hayley Foster. Named for her maternal German family (and not a European dancing career), this commanding chanteuse possesses a voice and enigma that literally silences a room. Blinged-out like a female Frank N’ Furter with the haughty glare and big hair of a 60s film siren, Tanzer spins tales of OTT love affairs and fabulous heartbreak to a swelling, thumping soundscape. Equal parts dreamy, stark and seductive, Tanzer conjures film soundtracks, new-wave divas and other-worldly exotica – but ultimately lives in a genre all its own. Equally at home on a band bill or a theatre event, Tanzer has played the likes of Falls Festival, Secret Garden Festival and Gaytimes, shared bills with Ella Hooper, Peter Bibby, Kira Puru, Stella Angelico, Holiday Sidewinder, Jaala and Mojo Juju, and is an active ambassador for the queer community, performing and DJing at weekly gay/drag events in Melbourne as well as major events such as the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. Tanzer has also performed in support of fashion events for Melbourne designers Edgeley and Gun Shy, events curated by Holly Durant, Boon Companions and Projekt 3488, and cultural events for Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Darebin Council and The Festival of Live Art at Melbourne Arts House. She is also a core member of genre-busting smash hit cabaret YUMMY. As a recording artist and songwriter, Hayley has collaborated with the likes of The Preatures, Passenger, Paul Mac, Philip Judd (Split Enz/The Swingers), Kirin J. Callinan and Robots In Disguise (UK).