The wildest showgirl to walk Ballarat’s boards will be reborn at Her Majesty’s Theatre this weekend.
Ballarat will host The Exotic Lives of Lola Montez’s world premiere starring Caroline Lee, three-time winner of Green Room’s best female actor award, and dance siren Holly Durant.
Lola Montez scandalised Ballarat on a tour of the goldfields in in 1855.
The Irish-born Spanish dancer whipped the editor of the-then Ballarat Times for a bad review and raised her skirts at Castlemaine.
The production is directed by Moira Finucane of international theatre provocateurs Finucane & Smith.
Finucane first heard of Lola on an eight month tour of regional Victoria.
“Every goldfields town we got to said ‘you are the wildest or the most risque or the most racy thing that has ever come to us since Lola Montez,” Finucane, who is also a performer, said.
“We travel the world but we wanted Lola to be reborn here in Ballarat. Lola is alive, she is this symbol of opinion and particularly for women.”
Her infamous Spider Dance was dubbed “the most indelicate performance” to have been performed on the public stage by The Sydney Morning Herald.
The arrival of Lola was so fated that when she arrived in Sydney they were selling tickets at auction. She was banned in Geelong and we're not going to Geelong either.Director Moira Finucane
She threw off her clothes to evade police arrest, and insisted they took her naked as she stood in just her jewels, Finucane said.
She was banned from Geelong, and more than 150 years on Montez will snub the city in return.
“The arrival of Lola was so fated that when she arrived in Sydney they were selling tickets at auction. She was banned in Geelong and on this tour we're not going to Geelong either,” she said.
“Geelong said ‘we’ve got to lift the ban’. I said ‘don’t lift the ban, let’s keep the ban going’.”
Lee said Montez had led multiple lives, some of them as improbable as lies.
“(There were) very contradictory stories. A number of tombstones in different places in the world, different paper trails, different names, all sorts of different stories.
“It was like, ‘who is this woman and how come so much is known about her and how come so little is known about her’.”
The Exotic Lives of Lola Montez runs until Sunday, July 30. Visit: hermaj.com.