Company / Producer Name Tomás Ford
Contact Person Tomas Ford
Contact Email email@example.com
Company Website: http://www.tomasford.com.au
I produce a range of solo cabaret shows and party formats for touring, which can be booked as a package or individually. I’m looking to find new communities to engage with and to set up new adventures for presenting and developing work.
I’m keen to chat about how we can package shows I have in repertoire in such a way that we can create a deeper connection to communities. My work has a great track record in regional settings, and I’ve come to value the deeper relationships I’ve been able to build with audiences through repeated engagements. I’m keen to expand that with more hands-on collaboration with local communities and residencies. Many of my shows have undergone (or are about to undergo) redevelopment processes to facilitate higher production standards than those required by the fringe festival circuit, and so I find myself at a point in my career where I’m ready to step up to venues like those run by CircuitWest’s membership. In the past, I’ve primarily presented my work regionally through festivals and my own touring to live music venues. Though I’ve worked quite a bit with spaces like Mandurah Performing Arts Centre, mounting work through CircuitWest venues is largely uncharted territory. The high energy clowning at the core of my work makes my eccentric shows quite accessible to regional audiences, and allows me to sneak the creation of conversations around themes including chronic illness, mental health and LGBTQIA+ visibility under the radar. These can be difficult issues to raise and, especially for the latter, I’ve found my regional audiences have responded hugely to them.
My approach to cabaret and clowning was developed through a decade in the 2000s of touring Australia’s dive bars and music festivals, followed by a 2010s spent building a reputation on the fringe circuit. The DIY nature of production in those contexts led to an obsession with audience connection, and finding ways to create communal experiences that bind people together. That’s built even more through the success of my Crap Music Rave Party clowning DJ shows, where my clowning has come to the fore but it’s also built a role for me as a shepard of my audience’s safety and good times. There’s a common thread in my work about embracing your individuality and not being afraid to let go. With my incorporation of ratchet drag, nobody-else-would-do-it-this-way video projections and my unusual songwriting, I like to think audiences go away having their status quo a little shaken up. In regional areas, I find my shows often become a rallying point for the sometimes quite underground LGBTQIA+ scene and the kind of people who were Drama Kids at school. I’m often told that by me being so far out there, people feel safer to be themselves at my gigs. That’s really important to me, and one of the reasons I keep making work in my uncompromisingly unique way.
I like to make touring an adventure and really explore places. A good example is when I was booked for Red Earth Arts Festival – I decided to drive up and make the “Have A Bath With Me?” movie in the Pilbara on the way. I love adapting my work to play in contexts it might not otherwise work. So I’m interested in chatting to smaller presenters who might be on the lookout for something a bit unusual-but-accessible. I’m also looking to build relationships with presenters in regional centres, as I am keen to build a touring network for Crap Music Rave Party in WA as I have internationally, and to develop audiences for my other work. I’m also keen to explore collaborations in these communities, potential residencies and engagements. I habitually build deeper connections than just-passing-through when I tour, and it’d be great to do a lot more of that in regional WA. As my career has alternated between performing in theatre, festival and live music settings, my shows have a large amount of flexibility in presentation. The tech specs should be considered a guide with my work, as I’m very used to scaling them up to present with full production in a theatre, or adapting to more unconventional spaces. Is what you want to discuss No time-sensitive, or does it have a date for commencement or completion? What do you see as the next steps? I’m naturally collaborative, so I think the first step in this process for me is finding partners and having chats about where I might be able to engage community and present work. Having built a career on international touring, my calendar is quite open at the moment and I see this as an exciting opportunity to engage in a side of my work that I didn’t have as much time for pre-pandemic. So, lots of conversations!
For eighteen years, cult cabaret crooner, electronic songwriter and punk storyteller Tomás Ford has blazed his own trail as an independent solo performer. His range of award-winning alternative cabaret spectacles, immersive nightclubs and underground festival programs have built him an audience around Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Europe. Since his start in the punk rock scene of early ’00s Perth, he’s toured every dive bar, music festival and club he can make his way to. Through the 2000s he toured in the fringes of the Australian music scene, joining huge tours with Birds Of Tokyo, Gary Numan, Laneway Festival and becoming a staple of the Big Day Out’s anarchic sideshow Lilyworld. In 2012, he switched gears to focus on performing at Fringe Festivals and found a home there, touring shows including his solo spy musical Chase!, late night David Lynch freakout Electric Cabaret, confessional travelogue Sad Dad and pop music explosion Craptacular. Alongside this, he’s built a hit comedy nightclub event around his hyperactive clowning skills, Crap Music Rave Party. These shows saw him carve out a reputation as a master of chaos at the Edinburgh Fringe and at festivals around the world. Prior to the pandemic, his touring business saw him performing in markets around Australia, New Zealand and the UK most weekends of the year. Along the way, he’s had other random side-adventures, including running Normal Place, his own streaming service for fringe artists, during the pandemic. He has had a long engagement with Malaysia that culminated in an AsiaLink Creative Exchange in 2019 to KL Performing Arts Centre and winning a VIMA (Malay music award) for Best Dance Track. He’s also masterminded a bunch of pop-up independent fringe programs as part of Fringe World, including Midlandia, the first 3 years of Noodle Palace, punk performance program The Fxxk Yxu and Mandurah’s Hubbub.