Interview originally published by The AU Review on 08/04/20
With venues across the country closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, performers are looking to digital platforms to share their creativity. Enter Sarah Marriott and an exciting new project, dubbed Lounge Room Sessions.
With more than 2,000 tuning into the first event last weekend, Lounge Room Sessions are already off to a flying start. Fronted by Brisbane drag queen Bebe Gunn (pictured above), the Sessions promise a wealth of entertainment, all enjoyed from the comfort of your own sofa.
We sat down with Sarah to chat a little about the show, and what we can expect from the next event this coming Saturday!
First off, can you tell us a little about Lounge Room Sessions? Where did the idea come from?
Lounge Room Sessions is a live-streamed event brought to you by Australian comedians, drag queens, burlesque dancers and DJs every Saturday night that we are in isolation.
The ideas had been born out of the current COVID-19 self-isolation situation we’re in currently. We all used to go to cinemas, theatres, clubs and bars for a fun time, but now we are doing the right thing and staying at home. This doesn’t mean we stop having any form of entertainment and personal interaction; it means we transition to be even more digital.
I have many wonderful people in my network in the arts. Having grown up around this community it really made my heart ache when I found out they had lost all their gigs for the year because venues had been shut down. My background is in project management and film, so I thought I can do something about this.
Mainly our intention for Lounge Room Sessions is to let the creativity of our performers fly and make the event fun as hell!
So how does it all work? Where/how can we tune in?
Every Saturday 8pm the event goes live across the Lounge Room Sessions Facebook group and Facebook page, YouTube and Twitch. It’s free to watch, and you can find link for all the places to view here.
You can expect to see comedians, drag queens, burlesque dancers and DJs each week with new rotating performers and the same faces you know and love. The show goes for 2-3 hours.
We encourage everyone to watch live in the Facebook group and share Instagram stories with us and tag me @smmarriott so I can reshare everything.
The first event took place last weekend. How did it go from your end? And what was the audience response like?
Considering we got it up on time with no I.T. issues when we went live, I’d say it went brilliantly!
Aside from that we had over 2,000 people watch the first event. There were hundreds of positive comments, especially in the Lounge Room Sessions Facebook group. It’s quite amazing to see how in just under a week we were able to build such an amazing community of people that get us and get each other.
You’ve got Bebe Gunn as MC, and plenty of incredible talent rotating through – how do you pick/find your collaborators?
How amazing is Bebe Gunn! There is a small core team of us that already knew each other. We all have different people we know in comedy, drag, burlesque and music. From here we have simply asked for referrals onto new performers. We’re already in a place where performers are coming to us! Crazy!
There’s a GoFundMe set up to support the guests. Can you tell us a bit about that?
There are near 15 performers and support people that all work together to create each event. We are raising money through a GoFundMe page to support the team most of which are without a job. We hope to one day soon raise enough money to also be able to donate to the Artists Benevolent Funds in each state. These are charities that provide crisis relief to the arts.
The GoFundMe is staying open all the time so anyone can donate at anytime. You can find the page here.
And, finally, what can we expect from the next event this coming weekend?
Bebe Gunn is still hot on the MC mic and has many, many more laughs to give us. We have all new comics from Sydney and Canberra. More from our Brisbane drag queens, with a couple of new faces, they will have new looks and performances. And Wizards of Kingston are coming in with a banging new set, we saw so many Instagram stories with lounge room discos last week!
Huge thanks to Sarah for taking the time to answer our questions!
The next Lounge Room Sessions takes place this Saturday at 8pm. You can find all the info in the Lounge Room Sessions Facebook group.