NAFA Kicks Off

Bernie Dieter's Little Death Club will be one of the many acts performing in the Wonderland Spiegeltent during NAFA, with shows from 4-14 July.

The North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA) will officially launch today, with Circus Wonderland – A Mermaid’s Tale and Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club both taking over the Wonderland Spiegeltent in Strand Park.

The performances are the first in an extensive list of creative events taking over Townsville throughout July, supported by the Northern Fringe Festival (launched last week).

Wonderland Spiegeltent will remain in Strand Park until August.

Lead singer of the Little Death Club, Bernie Dieter said the opportunity to perform in the first-ever NAFA was an incredibly exciting opportunity.

“It’s so exciting to be involved in the very first Festival of Arts, there are so many incredible cities in Australia where this kind of thing is quite new,” said Bernie.

“With things like cabaret and drag, things that are beautiful and artistic but push boundaries and approach the edges of what is considered appropriate, it is great they can come to a beautiful place like Townsville because there is such an audience here. We’ve seen so much excitement for it here already so I’m very excited and honoured to be a part of the first North Australian Festival of Arts.”

Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club is a risqué punk cabaret which has sold out shows across Europe and Australia.

“We have the most incredible circus cabaret drag artists here with us; a genderbending contortionist – the things he can do with his body will blow your mind; a lipsync maestro drag queen extraordinaire; the sexiest couple of acrobats I’ve ever seen; a firebreathing goddess; and me of course, I host the show as a mistress of chaos. I sing all original songs that are quite filthy but I think you all can handle them.”

Circus Wonderland – A Mermaid’s Tale premieres in Strand Park’s Wonderland Spiegeltent this afternoon.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the Festival had been a long time in the making.

“I’m really excited this day has come – it was an election commitment that we put together a Festival of Arts for the city, which was trialled with the Commonwealth Games last year and was a resounding success. Now 12 months down the track we’re here with some absolutely magical shows for the whole community,” Cr Hill said.

“Whether kids want to go to the dinosaurs or mermaids, or the adults want to see something like Bernie Dieter or Tom Gleeson. There are a lot of ticketed events as well as a heap of free ones as well.”

Early demand for both NAFA and the Northern Fringe Festival has been impressive, with Fringe events such as Heathers and Alice Through the Looking Glass selling out and others such as Bernie Dieter, Akmal, Tom Gleeson and Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo close to booking out.

“I have to say, especially with the V8s on and a lot of interstate people in town, if you want tickets don’t just walk up on the day – get on the Festival website and get them now because there’s a lot of interest from visitors who often stay in town after the V8s with this event becoming quite attractive to them.”

Due to demand, a third Tom Gleeson show has been added to the program.

“Today we’re announcing Tom Gleeson is doing a third show in the May Wirth Tent on 27 July. Since winning the Gold Logie Tom has been quickly selling out, so if you want tickets to his show you better get in early.”

Catch Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club and Circus Wonderland: A Mermaid’s Tale in the Wonderland Spiegeltent from 4-14 July, with tickets available here. For a full program of NAFA events click here, or for a program of Fringe events click here.

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