Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | August 12, 2020

Scroll to top




| On 12, Jul 2016

The Short + Sweet Festival kicks off its 2016 season in Brisbane this week, showcasing a variety of ten-minute theatre and cabaret acts by local artists.

Brisbane-based actor and director Cienda McNamara is returning to the Short + Sweet stage after winning a slew of awards for her cabaret show at Sydney’s 2014 festival.

A tale of red-hot (and imaginary…) rivalry between her and Nicole Kidman, Cienda’s Hardly the Portrait of a Lady won Best Script, Best Comedy and Best Female Cabaret Artist.

This time Cienda’s new cabaret show, Natural Born Spinster, will be delving into her newly-formed realisation that she might very much end up a modern-day spinster. Cienda describes the show as dealing with the aftermath of that realisation, and is about trying to negotiate singledom in a world where everyone is coupling up.

“The idea for the show came out of the blue. I was sitting around with two couples and we were talking about life and I realized: ‘oh, I haven’t hit all the milestones I’m supposed to have hit, have I?’

“I didn’t feel bad about it, I didn’t feel defective about it, but I felt, kind of like, the pressure all of a sudden. The very external pressure.”


During that time Cienda says she came across a book by American essayist Kate Bolick, titled—appropriately—Spinster.

“I started reading it because I was fascinated by this notion that you’re potentially damned if you do or you’re damned if you don’t. So if I want a family and I want a partner, how do I go about that? But if I don’t have that, how do I convince people that actually I’m okay?

“Which is a big thing because there is an expectation around: if you’re single you’re searching for the other.”

Compacting all that into a show of ten minutes is quite the feat and Cienda says she thinks it requires a particular skill set to create a show for the Short + Sweet Festival.

“It’s a beast. It’s a challenge to find out how you can tell a story in its entirety in ten minutes, because that’s the struggle.”

You can catch Natural Born Spinster along with six other cabaret acts at the Brisbane Powerhouse on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd July. The Short + Sweet Festival begins Thursday 15th July.


What: Short + Sweet Festival, Brisbane
Where: Visy Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse
When: Thursday 14th July – Saturday 23rd July
Cost: Adult $25 -$30/ Concession $22-25
More Information: Visit the Short + Sweet website

Image credit: Dylan Evans (La Boite Theatre Company) and Brisbane Powerhouse