7 June 2023

From London to the Illawarra: The Spiegeltent makes a spectacular return to Wollongong's art precinct

| Keeli Royle
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London Calling performer showcases skills at world premiere of the show in Adelaide. Photo: Vanessa Van Dalsen.

A London Calling performer showcases their skills at the world premiere of the show in Adelaide. Photos: Vanessa Van Dalsen.

The Spiegeltent has made a spectacular return to the Illawarra, with the variety festival celebrating the best and most creative performances from around the world.

For the next three weeks the new space will host dozens of shows, with a jam-packed schedule showcasing comedy, music, theatre, magic and everything in between.

“It’s unique, the Aurora is a beautiful tent, it’s such a stunning environment to see work and the idea is that you can come and see maybe three things across three weeks,” says Merrigong Acting Artistic Director Leland Kean.

“Bring your kids to one, come and see some local content and then come and see some of the best international acts as well.”

Headlining the program is the international cabaret show London Calling which just claimed the ‘Pick of the Fringe’ award at its world premiere in Adelaide.

“I have gathered, convinced, cajoled and conned the greatest variety performers in the world to come and join me in this show,” says the show’s creator and host Paul Dabek.

London Calling creator and host Paul Dabek during the show's world premiere in Adelaide.

London Calling creator and host Paul Dabek during the show’s world premiere in Adelaide.

The stars, who have featured in global phenomenons such as Cirque Du Soleil, The Illusionist and La Clique have flown all the way back Down Under from Las Vegas, London and Germany to perform their acts at Wollongong’s art precinct.

Their combination of unique skills and talents promises an exciting night of entertainment for every age.

“This is a show that you can bring your kids to, or you could come on a date, or you could bring your grandparents,” Paul says. “Or you could bring all of those people and everyone would have a good time.

“It’s a beautiful experience being inside the Spiegeltent and the audience is so close, which makes it so great for the magic and the comedy, and you’re going to have acts that you would not expect being so close.”

And international performers aren’t the only ones that will get to experience the magic of the Spiegeltent stage.

Homegrown acts such as Roxee Horror and Cell Block 69 are also set to entertain audiences in the big top this month, while Wollongong-raised songwriter Kay Proudlove will help set the mood by performing free shows in the courtyard.

READ ALSO Illawarra Performing Arts Centre unveils its multi-million dollar renovations

Merrigong Theatre Company hopes the integration of local programs will highlight the incredible quality of Illawarra talent and give them a rare opportunity to perform alongside their international counterparts.

“These shows are travelling to Edinburgh, they’re travelling throughout Europe and throughout America, and to have our local artists then exposed and working on the same stage, because the quality of work is the same, being able to give them that platform is really important,” Leland says.

The event marks a fresh start for the theatre company, which has been plagued by pandemic delays and construction work for years.

London Calling performer juggling with her feet as part of the variety show in Adelaide. Photo: Vanessa Van Dalsen.

London Calling performers thrilled audiences at the show’s world premiere in Adelaide.

But now that the tent is up and the IPAC renovations are complete, the opportunities for performance in the Illawarra are better than ever before.

“Really last year was us just getting back up to speed, there was still the cloud that was hanging over many productions that were still affected by cast members and crew getting COVID,” Leland says.

“So the idea of pushing into full momentum, launching it with the internationally renowned tent sitting in Wollongong whilst we throw the doors open at IPAC is fantastic and a great way to do it.”

London Calling will run until Sunday 11 June, but if you miss out there’s plenty more on offer with the Spiegeltent in Wollongong until 25 June.

Tickets can be purchased at the box office or through the Spiegeltent website.

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