GILL HICKS Still alive and kicking

Accompanied by Dylan Paul on double bass and Julian Ferraretto on violin, singer and storyteller Gill Hicks is hitting Perth International Cabaret Festival this year to guide us through a mesmerising hour where insights of life, through the reality of death, are powerfully shared using the languages of art, jazz and a spellbinding narrative of triumph over adversity. This internationally acclaimed show, showing at His Majesty’s Theatre on Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 5, won the much coveted Edinburgh prize at the 2021 Adelaide Fringe and is Gill’s first foray back into live theatre since the life-changing events of the 2005 London Bombings which left her with permanent injuries, most notably the loss of both her legs. BRAYDEN EDWARDS spoke to Gill Hicks to find out more about her remarkable story.

Your life has taken plenty of unexpected turns, so how does performing a cabaret show compare to the many other things you have done?

Cabaret is so special as it allows the combination of all the creative pieces that make me feel whole. For me it is the ultimate form of communicating, through narrative and song, drawing from the learnings and insights from lived experience.

It’s another achievement to add to so many already. What do you feel is your biggest motivating factor and how were you able to embody it after facing such adversity?

My greatest motivator is the reality of death – living with the knowledge of a certain end point makes being alive completely exhilarating. I embrace all that being alive means – to feel, to feel everything, the good, the not so good, the joy, the pain – every moment that induces a feeling is a moment that I appreciate that I am present.

Have you thought about what you might be doing now if you were not impacted by the London Bombings?

I often think about this. I was an artist and designer working for the UK Government at the Design Council at the time of the bombings, a self-imposed workaholic. I’ve watched the rise of my peers to prominent and influential positions within the London, UK and European contemporary culture arena, applauding their achievements and taking the moment to consider my ‘what if’… Would I be along side them? At the helm of a respected institution had it not been for the bombings? I have made a clear demarcation between that life and the one I have now, I am so grateful to have all I have, especially the privilege of being a mum!

I have heard you describe having what you called ‘constructive anger’? What do you mean by that and is it something we can all apply to our lives?

Being ‘constructively’ angry is what motivates me to keep getting up and keep making a difference. It’s that ‘fire in your belly’ – the fuel that keeps me pursuing my purpose, to be the living example of all who have saved my life.

What’s something you are looking forward to most about Perth International Cabaret Festival, and coming over to WA?

I’m thrilled to be bringing our multi-award winning show to Perth audiences. Working in His Majesty’s Theatre is a real highlight.

What’s next for you for the rest of the year? Any more exciting adventures in your sights?

I am currently writing for a book series project and carving out time in my art studio. Writing new music is also a focus – furthering the recent work around the brain and our association with and importance of music to light up the mind!




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