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'My Other Closet the Cabaret' is one man’s true, first-hand account of his journey to intimate partner violence survivor. Since 2013 this show has produced sell-out seasons across NSW, VIC & QLD.

Russ, a father of three now in his 60s, takes us on a musical journey through the true story of his life. It begins in Melbourne’s gay clubs in the 70s, follows Russ through a 17-year straight marriage, then sees him coming out of the closet and into his first same-gender relationship—a relationship marred by extreme physical violence and emotional abuse. 

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 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 intimate partner 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 too rarely discussed.

One part entertainment, one part education and awareness campaign, this production gives powerful and moving insight to the causes of intimate partner violence and how to end it. 'My Other Closet’ connects with its audience because it is first and foremost a celebration of triumph in the face of extreme adversity. Whilst being a moving musical theatre piece in its own right, this production breaks down myths and provides genuine insight to the audience to identify LGBTQ DV and to seek support for themselves and/or their LGBTQ friends and family. A professional DV counsellor is on hand every performance. This has often directly facilitated audience members to access services & and find safety outside their abusive relationships.

Delivered within a local sector capacity building concept, each public performance run is precluded by an LGBTQ family violence training day hosted in partnership with local LGBTIQ specialist and family violence services to ensure the local sector is better equipped to support LGBTQ people experiencing family violence.

The show presents strategies for avoiding or leaving potentially abusive relationships, and provides tailored information for victim/survivors and potential victims as well as intervention methods for bystanders. This project functions as a unique health promotion tool that builds empathy, understanding and the will to act through the emotional impact of musical theatre, while celebrating the resilience it takes to proclaim (and even sing) “I Am What I Am” and "I Will Survive!"

Previous funders (in chronological order):

The Aurora Foundation, The City of Sydney, The City of Yarra, The City of Melbourne, Ballarat and Grampians Community Legal Service, The Victorian State Government, The City of Greater Geelong, PLATFORM Arts, LifeLine, The City of Greater Bendigo, Defence Bank   

Previous project partners (in chronological order):

ACON NSW, Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, GLHV, Thorne Harbour Health, Switchboard Victoria, queerspace, Transgender Victoria, Rainbow Network, Minus18, Rainbow Health Australia, Dayelsford ChillOUT Festival, Central Highlands Integrated Family Violence Committee, Headspace Ballarat, Hepburn Family Violence Action Group, Geelong Rainbow Festival, Bethany Community Support, LifeLine Darling Downs LGBTIQ Family Violence Service, Rainbow Door, Bendigo Pride Festival, Bendigo Health, Bendigo Community Health Services, Thorne Harbour Country, Greater Bendigo Against Family Violence, Headspace Bendigo, Piano Bar