Sister competition to New Zealand’s DIY BurlesKiwi, DIY BurlesKoala is an Australian burlesque competition run by Sydney’s Mae de la Rue.
What’s with the name?
In New Zealand, ‘to kiwi’ something is local slang to use ingenuity and cunning to fix a thing or solve a problem. Similar to the Australian ‘she’ll be right’ and determination to solve a problem with a beer in hand, the Australian version of the competition is named DIY BurlesKoala, mainly because it follows the same convention as DIY BurlesKiwi. But the desire “to jimmy something together” out of what you have to hand and/or without money remains, no matter which side of the Tasman competitors are on.
How does the burlesque competition work?
The challenge, in a nutshell, is to create an entertaining act on a budget of less than $100. That budget includes costume costs, music editing, hair and make up, props, and everything you might need to create an act. However, competitors are allowed to use one existing item for free, and can borrow one item for free to help them create their performance. Pre-existing items and materials have a depreciation formula applied to work out the amount to apply to the budget, Items found in the natural environment or genuinely ready for rubbish are also free and there are a few other options to help competitors achieve their budget goal.
Why enter the DIY BurlesKoala burlesque competition?
Many people performing burlesque don’t make a whole lot of income from performance, and those costumes can be expensive. DIY BurlesKoala is the perfect opportunity to test run an act concept without investing heavily in the act until you’ve been able to ‘prove’ it’s going to work. It’s therefore a great competition for all levels of experience – whether you’ve got one act or 10, the competition will push you to create something new.
It also pushes competitors to go back to their stash or their existing wardrobe and put together a costume from items and materials already owned. It’s a more sustainable way of putting together acts and encourages creative reuse and reimagining of items competitors might have been holding on too for a long time.
Check out the competition
Read more about the Inaugural DIY BurlesKoala competition in 2019, won by Lady Hart
The 2023 Competition will take place on Friday 27 October 2023 in Sydney at The Red Rattler Theatre. Tickets are now on sale.
Catch highlights of our 2019 and 2020 shows in our video montage. Footage by Stuart Bucknell Photography, 3 Fates Media, Clear Image Photography and Sound Bitch NZ.