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Courier Mail Spiegeltent

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by Geraldine Massey (subscribe)
I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
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That magical, mirrored marvel, the The Courier Mail Spiegeltent, is back in town for three weeks as part of the Brisbane Festival. She's taken up residence in King George Square and will host a memorable line-up of Festival talent from Saturday 3 September to Saturday 24 September.

The word spiegeltent is Dutch for mirror tent, and it's not hard to see why. These are hand-made tents, constructed largely from timber and canvas and decorated usually in Art Deco or Art Nouveau style with an abundance of mirrors, stained glass and sumptuous fabrics like velvet and brocade. They evolved in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Belgium as travelling cabaret, dance and music halls. Think Marlene Deitrich, husky-voiced and sultry-eyed, in a smoky, sparkling tent and you more or less have the picture. Deitrich did perform her well-known rendition of Falling in Love Again in the legendary Famous Spiegeltent in the 1930's.

Velvet curtains - image: productions

In recent years spiegeltents have been reinvented as temporary performance venues at a number of festivals around the world, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Melbourne International Arts Festival and of course our very own Brisbane Festival, where the Spiegeltent has played a starring role for the last few years

From jazz to indie, acoustic pop to funk, and folk to reggae, music is alive and well in this year's Spiegeltent lineup. It will once again be home to musical mavericks and melody makers alike, including Lior, Frente, Syd Johnson and the Bamboos, indie chanteuse Kimbra with Mosman Alder, and US sextet Eighth Blackbird, who will feature on different nights for the Coopers' 7pm Shows. Coopers also presents comedians such as Sam Simmons, Josh Thomas, Tommy Little and Tripod in the 7pm timeslot.

Lior - image from Brisbane Festival website

9 pm shows feature Dream Menagerie, an impossible to describe, off-the-wall circus cabaret experience. From 10 pm Thursdays to Saturdays DJs Mitzi and Tim Fuchs will turn up the beat and the heat. On Wednesday nights throughout the Festival QUT Sessions presents FREE 10.30 pm sessions showcasing fresh new musical talent.

If your tastes run more to jazz then the Spiegeltent has that covered too. Sunday afternoon concerts from 2pm feature the likes of Latin Vibe, Bec Laughton, The View from Madeline's Couch and the Brisbane Contemporary Jazz Orchestra.

Bec Laughton - image from Festival website

Information regarding performances, session times and ticket costs is available here through Foxtix.

Tickets range from $40 to $45 for most events with discounts for concession card holders and under 30's. You can also purchase MultiTix discount packages. Buy tickets for 3 shows and save 10%, 4 shows and save 15% and 5 shows and save 20%. The Spiegeltent is a General Admission venue but limited reserved booth seating is available for groups of up 8 people. Under 18's may attend but must be accompanied by a legal guardian, and must not purchase alcohol.

The Spiegeltent presents contemporary Australian and international talent with a 1930's European twist. Sound like a heady cocktail to me.
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Why? Because Marlene Deitrich would have loved it.
When: From 3 September to 24 September.
Where: King George Square
Cost: Varies depending on event
Thanks for this article. I have always loved going to the spiegeltent in Melbourne. For some silly reason, I didn't realise until I just read your article, that the spiegeltent actually comes to Brisbane too- good stuff. Now I can go again :-)
By Tracey Winning - senior reviewer
Thursday, 22nd of September @ 07:40 am
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