Hot Brown Honey at Hota

Fierce, unapologetic and deliciously disobedient

If arts festivals are not your thing you may not have heard of them, but Hot Brown Honey is about to become your new favourite live act. Speak to anyone who’s seen them, and you’ll realise that this smash-hit, genre-defying, firecracker of a show could possibly be THE ultimate girls’ night out.

Part theatrical extravaganza, part radical consciousness-raising social activism, this show packs plenty of punch in a sexy mash-up of cabaret, musical theatre and piping-hot political hip-hop.

We chatted to Lisa and Busty from Hot Brown Honey about how this show came about:

‘The show was born of the desire to see more (much, much more) hot black, brown and mixed bodies on stage. We had been making our own music, theatre and visual art for some time and we didn’t fit into the mainstream. The roles for Black and Brown women in general had become two dimensional – tropes and stereotypes – and we were like hell no, it’s time for a shake-up.

Hot Brown Honey at Hota

‘So Hot Brown Honey began as an outlet. We started making pieces that made us giggle, exploring the taboos of our own traditional cultures as well as the social structures around us. From there it was organic. If we were all in the same place, we would call up talented sisters we knew and put a show together. Then things got interesting.

‘More and more Black, Brown and Mixed sisters from all over the country and the world made themselves known to us, all with astounding skill sets, creating unique, hilarious, outstanding and political responses to the world around them. We actually have a cast of thousands but due to budgetary limitations we have a stellar company of six representing – Lisa Fa’alafi – The Game Changer, Ofa Fotu -The Myth Slayer, Hope One The Beatboxer, Crystal Stacey – The Peace Maker, Juanita Duncan – The Truth Sayer and myself, Busty Beatz – The Queen Bee’

‘Hot Brown Honey has gone on to become a platform, shining a light on untold stories of phenomenal women. A platform for us to be kick ass performers and to talk about the sticky points of our existence such as denial, privilege, access and opportunity and dismantle it all, personally and politically. We are highlighting the lack of diversity on our stages, pages and screens by making a show like this, but we’re also celebrating the fact we are creating this space for ourselves and for people like us – game changers, risk takers, Diaspora, sisters, feminists, queers, punks, poets, provocateurs, thinkers, those of us from the edges, fringes and margins. We ask our audiences to stand with us, we invite them to make change, to question, to see for a moment what the world looks like through our eyes and let’s not forget to celebrate our fabulaaashness.’

Hot Brown Honey at Hota

The Brisbane based all-female group is made up of powerful and talented First Nations women from Aboriginal Australian, Samoan, Tongan, Indonesian, Maori and South African heritages and are all about empowerment and challenging the stereotypes around women of colour

You can expect to thoroughly enjoy getting ALL your prejudices and racial assumptions challenged in this foot-stomping celebration of our similarities and differences.

‘Some of the stereotypes we challenge that go across racial barriers are The Maid, The Dusky Maiden, The Savage, The Scorned Woman, The Colonised, The Gender Fluid, The Angry Black Woman, The Australian Tourist, The Golliwog, The Battered Woman – it’s all in there and more. We are taking all these ideas and flipping the script, retelling, exposing truths. But even bigger than that, just portraying ourselves as positive, powerful, fierce, strong women of colour are breaking through mainstream stereotypes in one clean swoop.

‘While everything we tackle in our show comes from a place of protest, Hot Brown Honey takes that protest to fever pitch. We party and revel in OUR time on OUR stage. We take our audience on a ride full of fun, joy and ridiculousness as let’s be honest laughter can help bind us. Comedy, satire, cabaret and burlesque are dynamic forms to play within the context of a political piece such as Hot Brown Honey where we use eclectic forms from Hip Hop to Indigenous languages to dance song and circus to create our world. These are some of the best tools to dismantle issues we often want to push under that dusty couch in the corner. So by inviting our audiences in, inviting them to laugh with us, maybe, just maybe we can ask them to rethink their own preconceptions and assumptions.’

Hot Brown Honey at Hota

A hands down favourite on the Festival circuit, they’ve been tearing up the biggest venues and festivals across the globe, including the Sydney Opera House, Victorian Arts Centre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Auckland Pride Festival and Hull Freedom Festival.

So while it’s a hell of a lot of fun Hot Brown Honey also want to inspire change in those who see them perform.

‘Ok first up for us it’s about what all humans will take away from the show, as true change needs a balanced multifaceted approach.

‘You know how once you see something you can’t un-see it? Hot Brown Honey is all that. This party doesn’t end when the show does! This is about a continuing feeling. And from all our experiences so far peeps are up for this party! They are up for getting sticky, confronted, delighted, messy, joyous and angry with us – all the feels. We know that audiences want to see more of their communities reflected on stage, so we are giving it to them. Our biggest hope is that audiences walk away talking, chatting, laughing, arguing. We want conversations to be generated because it’s these truly open conversations that will take this country forward. We want people to walk away and feel empowered to seek truth and MAKE NOISE!!!

‘ In the Words of Angela Davis: “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”’

Hot Brown Honey at Hota

Hot Brown Honey are unapologetically fierce, and we can’t wait to see them take to our Outdoor Stage in an explosion of colour, culture and controversy.

‘With a cast of phenomenal Black, Brown and Mixed women with global First Nations heritage including Xhosa (South African), Tongan, Gamilaroi (Indigenous Australian) Samoan, Indonesian and Maori, the show represents how we as Women of Colour intersect, smash stereotypes, poke fun at the world around us to rock the motherlovin boat. Hot Brown Honey crosses forms and defies labels by serving up an audacious platter of dance, poetry, song, circus and burlesque. We make you laugh until you cry, clap until your hands bleed and shake every part of what your mama gave you. Fiercely feminist and deliciously disobedient, we are the latest models of our ancestry. We are here. Centre stage. Welcome to the Hive – hold onto your seats because Fighting the Power Never Tasted So Sweet! We also have a giant Bee-Hive who speaks.’

Hot Brown Honey will perform at the Outdoor Stage on Fri 6 Dec followed by Hip Hop Junkie Yo! Mafia with a power punch video DJ set that will keep the party going all night long.

“It’s phenomenal – sexy, foot-stomping fun and radical consciousness-raising all at the same time.” ★★★★★ The Scotsman

“Whoever you are and wherever you come from, this will change your life. I have never been surer of anything else ever before.” The Huffington Post

“Gleefully challenges stereotypes of sex and race with a full grin, bared chest and raised middle finger.” ★★★★★ Edinburgh 49


Check out what else is happening at HOME.

Queenie van de Zandt to dazzle HOTA audiences with new cabaret

Blue: The Songs of Joni Mitchell, co-presented by Pindara Private Hospital, is set to be an evening of melancholic songs, poetic storytelling, and haunting vocals, in honour of the renaissance woman, painter and poet who created a soundtrack for the Woodstock generation.

Queenie, alongside musical director, Max Lambert and a live band, will affectionately reinterpret Joni’s beautiful music, and intimately reveal the stories behind some of her most haunting songs, including A Case of You, Both Sides Now, and Little Green.

With HOTA presenting the best cabaret performances from around the country, CEO, Criena Gehrke, is looking forward to seeing Queenie reinterpret some of Joni’s most poetic songs from the sixties.

“There’s no doubt Joni Mitchell crafted the soundtrack for the Woodstock generation. While that was a bit before my time, I’ve always been drawn to her poetic storytelling and raw vocals,” said Criena.

“She’s one of those artists whose songs are still as emotive today as they were in the sixties.”

In the show, Queenie will explore her love of all things Joni, using voice overs and storytelling to take audiences on a sonic journey of Joni’s life, losses and loves.

“Joni is my favourite singer/songwriter, and I’ve been wanting to do a show about her and her music for some time,” said Queenie.

“She gave her daughter up for adoption early in her career, and her music was so influenced by this experience. When I gave birth to my daughter, it felt like a perfect time to explore this mother daughter relationship and the effect that becoming a parent has on your creativity.”

This is the perfect show for mothers and daughters, and the team at HOTA hope that Joni Mitchell fans will use this as an opportunity to introduce their daughters to cabaret.

On top of receiving rave reviews in the past, Blue: The Songs of Joni Mitchell has also won three prestigious theatre awards for being the best cabaret, as well as receiving a nomination for the Helpmann Award for Best Cabaret Performer and the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Cabaret Production.

Blue: The Songs of Joni Mitchell is on in the Lakeside Room at Home of the Arts on Saturday 9th November, 2019 at 2pm & 7:30pm.

The performance is presented by HOTA, Home of the Arts and Pindara Private Hospital.



A new live storytelling event and Gold Coast first

On October 18, local wordsmiths will weave their tales in amongst a soundscape of live sound designed by songwriter and musician, Fletcher Babb, in Stories in the Key of GC at HOTA, Home of the Arts.

As a strong participant in HOTA’s Creative Development Program, Fletcher will launch his new event, Stories in the Key of GC, which features great live storytelling, music and even better vibes.

In the vein of Yarn Storytelling in Brisbane or Moth in New York, Stories in the Key of GC is a celebration of local culture, and the joy of stories.

As an accomplished guitarist and jazz-trained flautist, Fletcher works under the moniker, Cold Ghost, a spoonerism inspired by the city he now calls home.

‘Bachelor Tapes’ by Cold Ghost was this year nominated for Album of the Year at the Gold Coast Music Awards and was the culmination of Fletcher’s Bachelor of Popular Music degree at Griffith University.

“Since moving to the Gold Coast in 2011, I have worked extremely hard to get where I am today and am currently busy writing, recording and producing a new album that I hope to release later this year,” said Fletcher.

“I absolutely love what I do and having been selected as a recipient in HOTA’s Creative Development Program has allowed me to grow as an artist and really progress with my work.”

Completely deaf in one ear due to childhood mumps, Fletcher has created a feast for the senses in stereo by manually manipulating his own mono experience.

“The idea of this event is that everyone can come together and listen to local wordsmiths tell their stories amongst a dreamlike soundscape in the key of the Gold Coast.”

ABC Gold Coast’s Breakfast Show host – who also happens to be Fletcher’s partner – Bern Young, will MC Stories in the Key of GC and use her intellect and warmth to connect and engage audiences attending this unique event.

Joining the couple on stage to tell tales of their own and sharing those from others, will be reporter and serial eavesdropper, Amy Mac; award-winning writer, Lystra Bisschop; best selling author, Tim Baker; and hilarious co-host of Hot Tomato’s Breakfast Show, Sean Flanagan.

As the leading arts and culture hub of the Gold Coast, HOTA’s commitment to work with local artists and help transform ideas into outcomes will continue to grow through programs like this to encourage participants to explore new ideas, experiment and collaborate.

Stories in the Key of GC will take place at Home of the Arts on Friday 18th October at 7.30pm.



HAIR the Musical brings the house down

HAIR – The Original Tribal Rock Musical, starring Hugh Sheridan, Paulini and Prinnie Stevens, has hit Australian shores, opening in Perth last month to standing ovations and rave reviews.

The creation and tour of a brand-new Australian production of this seminal work was co-commissioned by HOTA as part of our support for Australian creatives and our desire to bring great work to the Gold Coast.

Normally you’d have to travel to Brisbane to enjoy a major large-scale theatrical production such as this, but for the first time you can see a show of this scale right here on the Gold Coast. And we’re the only venue on the Australian tour where you can enjoy this amazing piece of ground-breaking theatre in the glorious outdoors.

In a true Gold Coast experience, it’s sure to be a great night out as you kick back on a picnic blanket under the stars and watch this uplifting, iconic musical on our Outdoor Stage. We’re the final venue on the national tour (and it’s a Queensland exclusive) so don’t miss your chance to see this show in a venue unlike any other.

The reviews are in:
Written by two unemployed actors, HAIR captured the zeitgeist of the 60s and truly rocked a conservative society.

‘Director Cameron Menzies has embraced the original intent of Hair writers Gerome Ragni and James Rado, enveloping the audience in the sweaty, hairy embrace of hippy culture, in all its glorious freedom and messy failure.’

After premiering off-Broadway in 1967, the musical was first performed in Australia in 1969 and the reviews of the first performances in Perth are confirming that this new production captures the spirit and joy of the original production that made such an impression on people.

‘Half a century after its debut, Hair packs a mighty emotional punch, a theatrical knockout.’

And praise for the actors:
‘As a four-time winner of the Most Popular Actor Logie, Sheridan took the gong in this performance. From the minute he leapt onto the stage announcing that he and his ‘tribe’ wore no underwear or watches, he had the audience spellbound.’ ArtsHub

‘Australian Idol star Paulini is relatively new to music theatre (she made her debut in Bodyguard in 2017), but commanded the stage as Dionne, singing with agility and power; White Boy was a show highlight.’

‘The final scene left me with tears flowing down my cheeks, the final refrain of the chorus echoing in my ears, and surrounded by an audience giving a standing ovation.’

Don’t miss HAIR on our Outdoor Stage for two nights only on 11 and 12 Oct.



HOTA Kids Take Over

Kids go wild at HOTA September school holidays

This October 3 to 5, HOTA will host their bi-annual Kids Take Over school holiday program, featuring a range of adventure-filled activities where kids can create, explore and let their imaginations go wild.

This year’s theme of ‘Into the Wild’, sponsored by The Paradise Point Community Bank® Branch of Bendigo Bank, will encourage kids to don their explorers hats and be inspired during a fierce and fun mini-fest daily from 10am to 2pm.

HOTA will play host to a full program of activities for all mini-explorers and lovers of the wild, as the precinct comes alive with live performances, interactive experiences, arts and crafts and more.

HOTA CEO, Criena Gehrke, said childen will have a blast with all the activities planned at this year’s Kids Take Over event.

“Parents can raise their expectations this school holidays. We’ve got some of the best theatre companies at Kids Take Over – I’m talking Circa and Shock Therapy amongst others – with some fantastic, imaginative experiences, just for kids,” she said.

“There’s a jam-packed program of art activities and creative experiences for kids and families to get amongst – including great coffee and cinema options running during workshops to keep the adults entertained too.”

Headlining the festivities on October 5 is Dan Sultan, who will take to the stage with his very first album for kids Nali & Friends; written alongside long-time friend, collaborator and filmmaker Rhys Graham. Inspired by their journey through Uganda and Kenya, Nali & Friends is a tale about unconventional, oddball animals from different parts of the world.

Dan Sultan | PHOTO: Supplied by HOTA, Home of the Arts

Kids are invited to take a leap of faith in Danger Club By Circa, a series of circus workshops across the entire week, hosted by one of the best circus companies in the world. With only seventeen spots available, kids between the ages of 8 to 13 will learn a range of circus skills that will culminate in a special performance, which the kids will put on for a live audience at the end of the Kids Take Over program.

For those younger ones wanting to experience some circus fun during the three days, there will be Circus Antics Workshops with Spaghetti Circus, where kids can drop in and learn about takings risks, showing off and having fun with circus props.

HOTA Spaghetti Circus

Spaghetti Circus | PHOTO: Supplied by HOTA, Home of the Arts

Another workshop on offer from October 1 to 3 is Toonworld! Stop Motion Animation Workshop – teaching kids how to develop a storyline and create a unique clay character that will feature in their very own movie. Spiced up with some cool voice and sound effects, the short films will  play on the big screen before Dan Sultan’s concert on October 5.

Delving into the power of imagination, Gold Coast company Shock Therapy has created a colourful and iconic interactive experience that invites kids to take a walk with bush adventurer and mythical creature researcher, Pat Malone, through The Magic Garden – a fun-fuelled interactive journey of exploration and creativity for families.

Magic Garden

African Beat | PHOTO: Supplied by HOTA, Home of the Arts

The wild theme of this year’s program is complemented with African Beat, an African drumming workshop that shows kids how to move their hands and feet to the rhythm of the jungle beats.

Kids will also receive their very own passport on arrival at HOTA, which encourages them to collect stickers that they earn from each activity; travelling on to experience their next adventure throughout the school holiday program.

Kids Take Over is an incredible part of the culture and community spirit of the Gold Coast, which is why Bendigo Bank are proud sponsors of the program. Bendigo Bank’s ‘profit-with-purpose’ community banking model means profits are returned directly to the community that generates them, enabling branches to sponsor local organisations like HOTA.

With plenty to see and do, HOTA’s adventurous Kids Take Over program will be one for the whole family to explore from October 3 to 5.


Kids Take Over: in the Wild is presented by HOTA, Home of the Arts, Paradise Point Community Bank® Branch of Bendigo Bank.