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Currently in its 6th year of production,

"My Other Closet, the cabaret" is a true first-hand account of one man’s journey to “Domestic Violence Survivor”. Through powerful storytelling and creative re-workings of classic pop songs, it dispels the myths surrounding DV and especially DV in same-sex relationships. One part entertainment, one part awareness campaign, this production helps those experiencing DV to become “survivors”, gives powerful insight and teaches us all how to end Domestic Violence.

Russ, a father of 3 now in his 60’s, takes us on a musical journey through the story of his life. Beginning in a Melbourne gay bar in the 1970’s, we follow Russ’s queer journey through a 17 year straight marriage, and into his first same-sex relationship; a relationship riddled with extreme violence, psychological and emotional abuse, manipulation, and control…

But wait! This story can and does have a happy ending! We follow Russ as he finds the courage to proclaim “this is not what love looks like” in a moving process of healing, with the help of his first love; Music.

Woven with stories from his past and a sprinkling of jazz and crooner re-workings of classic pop songs such as “Love on the Rocks”, “Help!”, and “I Will Survive” (with the help of accomplished composer & musician, Daryl Wallis), "My Other Closet: The Cabaret" is a true story of domestic violence told from an insider’s perspective. .Sometimes light-hearted, sometimes heart-wrenching, this layered performance leaves the audience with a lasting impression and creates dialogue and discussion about an issue often thought to be taboo.  

Now coming to Ballarat and Daylesford…

After sell-out seasons in Sydney & Melbourne, My Other Closet, the Cabaret, a raw, personal and deeply affecting true-life account of domestic violence in a same sex relationship, comes to Ballarat and Daylesford in March 2019.

Described as “moving”, “brave” and “wonderful”, the one-man show features Russ Vickery, who developed the performance piece with partner Matthew Parsons, Manager of LGBTI Domestic Violence at Rainbow Health Victoria, to highlight the little-known reality of violence in same sex and gender diverse (LGBT) relationships.

Russ says he wants to dispel the myth that domestic violence doesn’t happen in LGBT relationships. “At first I couldn’t comprehend what was happening. It was so unexpected. It took some time for me to realise that this was abusive, this was manipulative. And it seems that this is a common reaction for LGBT survivors.”

Matthew points out that the 2016 Royal Commission into Domestic and Family Violence found LGBT people experience higher rates of domestic violence than heterosexual couples and yet are severely under-supported by professional services. “It also found the issue is so poorly understood that even LGBT victims often don’t recognise the abuse when it is happening to them—and it’s often also unrecognised by their families, colleagues and friends,” Matthew says.

In preparation for the public season, the show was first incorporated into a training event in Sydney for 150 domestic violence workers in 2013, then in Melbourne in 2016 for 300 domestic violence service. The first of their kind, these events made a tremendous impact, enabling more services to become LGBT inclusive, and more LGBT victims of domestic violence to access appropriate help. And now this same successful format will benefit Victoria’s Grampians Region.

A public performance of My Other Closet, the Cabaret will feature in this year’s ChillOUT Festival in Daylesford on March 9th and will expose a local public audience to a topic they’ve likely never even considered. And taking place shortly before this event, will be a training day (incorporating the show ) held in Ballarat for our local region’s service providers to learn how they can better support LGBTI people experiencing domestic and family violence in the Grampians Region.

One part entertainment, one part education and awareness campaign, this production gives a powerful and moving insight into the causes of domestic violence and how to end it.

These local Grampians events are produced by MAROPA Productions, in partnership with Central Highlands Community Legal Centre. With funding and support from Rainbow Health Victoria, Switchboard Victoria, CAFS – Child and Family Services, Hepburn Health Services, Springs Medical, Dianne Hadden Lawyer, Sonya McDonald Legal, Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee, & Hepburn Family Violence Action Group.