A new cabaret club will be “the place to go for the open-minded adult in Chichester”, promises organiser, vintage entertainer Dawn Gracie.
Dawn is determined to put Chichester on the cabaret map with her new Chichester Cabaret Club which will run every other month in the Pallant Suite in South Pallant, starting on January 30 at 7.30pm.
“For the first club we will have the incredible Laura Nixon as Marilyn Monroe, the hilarious Griffin & Jones with their madcap magic and mayhem plus Avdotia the Russian Doll.
“I have been organising events in Chichester for what seems like forever, but my focus towards the end of last year was over in Worthing. But then I thought that my career in this had actually started in Chichester. I was looking around for what was going on in Chichester, and I couldn’t actually see that there was anything actually different. You have got the bands in the pubs, but Chichester is not blessed with a big venue with a stage, but I just thought that when I have done cabaret in Chichester, it has done so well that Chichester really should have its own cabaret club, to offer things that don’t necessarily fit the mould of the pub bands or anything that people would go to see in a pub,
“I have always been such a fan of variety, from Morecambe & Wise onwards, that that was really the kind of thing I wanted to do. I have done my Starlet Cabaret in Chichester, and that went well, but what I have learnt is that in Chichester you need to be giving people something they can really feel ownership of. That’s why I am making this the Chichester Cabaret Club. As soon as you put the word Chichester in, it becomes very different. Attach the word Chichester, and people straightaway do start to feel that ownership.”
For her Worthing shows, Dawn brings in the professional performers; and for Chichester there will always be a few key headliners brought in.
But increasingly Dawn is wanting to feature local performers, who should get in touch with her regarding future dates and opportunities via her website, www.dawnsvintagedo.com.
Dawn reckons she has found the perfect venue in the Pallant Suite: “It’s the centre of town, and the bar is very well priced. And I am a great fan of retro. It feels retro. It has got the original mirror ball. It reeks of 1960s. I grew up in the army, and it has got that officers’ mess feel to it.”
As for the required open-mindedness, Dawn explains the club will always have an element of burlesque: “And the theatrical performance of burlesque is essentially a lady or man removing items of clothing to a piece of music, and ultimately there will be semi-nudity, but never full nudity because that would be terribly rude – unless it happens by accident!”
So yes, it will push the barriers just a bit, but Dawn stresses it certainly won’t go too far: “I have lived here for 12 years, and I have got to know my market. I know I can push the limit, but not too far. If you are doing shows in Worthing or Brighton, it is a completely-different market. There are certain acts that I couldn’t possibly bring to Chichester!”
As for future local performers. Dawn is looking for singers, dancers, entertainers generally (not bands) - though she stresses they need to be targeted at an 18-plus audience. Tickets in advance via the website or on the door.
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