PHILMAH Bocks and her band of sparkling sisters will turn Ballarat's Sunday night from drab to drag when they take to the Frolic Festival stage.
Ms Bocks will be joined by Maude Boate and Jojo Zaho at Uptown Bar in Lydiard Street for what could just be the start of a brand new drag tradition in this city.
This trio of fractured fairies will delight and entertain with their cheeky wit and show stopping production with Ballarat's own HollyPop making a special appearance.
Ms Bocks who has been performing since 2002 is enjoying a career most performers would only dream about and it's due in large to regional communities.
"I love regional communities, it's part of my heritage, I grew up in the Adelaide hills," she said.
"We had the discovery of Broken Hill and it's Broken Heel festival and we've found that regional audiences really do have an appreciation for the art."
Having spent much of her career on stage in Melbourne, Ms Bocks said she was relishing a chance to hit the road with a posse of preened princesses.
"I'm a Priscilla queen from way back, I adore travelling," she said. "It reinvigorates you, in a way, city audiences are spoiled as they see drag every week and there are some expectations.
"In the regional centres, the audiences are so appreciative, it's a joy to perform."
Famously, Ms Bocks and her sister Art Simone appeared on an AAMI commercial, which she said had opened up new world of appreciation for her.
"It has taken us place we never thought it would go," she said.
"When we shot the commercial it was about three years back the producers admitted they weren't sure what to do with it,
"We did a test run at Mardi Gras time in outback New South Wales and it went through the roof.
"Within the first three months, we'd reached over a million views. It was all tying in around the yes vote and our community was in the spotlight a little bit.
"But what it did show was big corporations were behind us and that the community deserves recognition. I think being broadcast in lounge rooms made a huge difference. They put us on during the football broadcasts, I guess there are a lot of similarities, lots of pageantry."
Ms Bocks is no stranger to Ballarat, performing with Art Simone at White Night two years ago. She said she and her partner had also recently purchased a property at Enfield, so she now felt very much like a local.
She said she hoped Sunday night's performance might act as a springboard for many more drag performances in Ballarat.
"This is our first big adventure and I'm bringing a couple of girls friends along," she said.
"We contacted Uptown and said there's a festival, should we band together and put on a night of entertainment? So we're putting a set together, there will be a fair bit of audience interaction. It will be a night of fun and entertainment.
"I know a lot of the girls in Ballarat and am friends with the local performers, hopefully if this goes well we can continue to put on more shows. We're definitely keen to connect with local girls and build that relationship going forward."
She said she felt times were changing for the gay community for the better.
"In my opinion, you don't need a gay venue, you need safe places where you feel welcome and safe," she said.
"I grew up regionally so I know what it's like to walk into an environment when you're not welcome, now it's liberating, now you own it."
Uptown Girl is on Sunday night at Uptown from 8pm. Tickets can be purchased from frolicfestival,org for $15, or $20 on the door on the night.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FROLIC FESTIVAL
Frolic Art Show
November 7-13. The George Hotel Atrium, 27 Lydiard St, Ballarat Central. On display will be works from talented and creative artists from Ballarat and surrounds. Free.
Frolic Bush Dance
November 8, Ballarat Trades Hall, 24 Camp Street 8pm-11.30pm. Always a thigh slapping time, come learn some country dance moves and take to the dancefloor with The Northcote String Band. Tickets from $22.50-$30
Rainbow Story Time
November 9, Ballarat Library, 178 Doveton Street North, 10.30am-12pm. Kids event. Join queer cabaret artist Sarah Ward, best known as her cabaret character Yana Alana, as she reads you her favourite children's stories and sing's songs celebrating diversity and difference. Tickets free, but bookings required.
Frolic Carnival Day
November 9, Alfred Deakin Place, Camp Street, 12-4pm. Come show your pride at the very first Frolic Carnival Day! Organisers have trawled the region to bring you an extravaganza of local delicacies including live music, cabaret, circus performers, kids entertainment and all day activities, stalls, food trucks, and local boutique beer.
For a full list of all the events available, head to frolicfestival.org
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