Your Village Peeps
is a live talent show to select the members of the next Village People, the audience choosing the two auditioning finalists for each of the six iconic characters. The show will be hitting Fringe World at Air Nightclub from Sunday, January 16 to Sunday, February 13, featuring Village People’s unforgettable hits for a night of fun, music and laughs. KWANWOO HAN caught up with Drew Anthony, the writer and director, to find out about the inspiration behind the show and why he can’t wait to bring it to the stage this summer.

Congrats on bring Your Village Peeps to Fringe in 2022! For those just hearing about it for the first time, what is the premise of the show and what’s your part in it?

I wrote Your Village Peeps 15 years ago just as the TV talent show genre was blossoming. We had Australian Idol, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance and Australia’s Got Talent and I thought it would be fun to create a parody of those shows which gave a fun performance opportunity to some super talented people and a great theatre experience for audiences who get to interact with the show by choosing the winners at the end of each and every performance. The show mirrors what a live TV broadcast is like for the studio audience.

The Village People are arguably one of the biggest and groups from the 70s, so there are some big shoes to fill with this contest. What kind of qualities does one need to make it in the Village People?

I am lucky to have secured an incredibly talented bunch of Perth based performers, all of whom are amazing singers and/or dancers.  All of these ‘finalists’ have to be charismatic, charming and confident in their own ability and I’ve written the show so that the audience gets to know a little about each of them along the way making it easier to connect with them before having to cast their vote.

It must have been challenging finding such impressive contestants! How did you manage to get them together?

I have previously worked with a lot of these ‘finalists’ and some of them I have known about but never had the chance to work with.  I am passionate about assembling casts of highly talented people who are also generous of spirit. I was lucky that they all agreed to join the cast and bring this fun and entertaining concept to life with me.

The Village People are known for their unique energy and style. What will the contestants have to do to earn their place in the group?

Each ‘finalist’ must perform to the very highest level to earn the audience’s votes. Some have chosen to sing, some to dance. The decision was theirs based on what they felt would best solicit the highest votes. It’s a unique and immersive experience for the audience who hold the show’s outcome in their hands.

I expect some of the contestants have some tricks up their sleeve and will be doing their best to win over the audience too! What can the crowd look forward to and how will they be able to engage with the show?

I’ve been blown away by the commitment by the cast to create their awesome individual performances. And they are very aware that, to get the maximum votes in any performance, they must appeal to people of all ages. Our venue for this Fringe show, Air Nightclub, is allowing under 18s to attend all performances of Your Village Peeps so the ‘finalists’ must appeal to children, parents, grandparents, singles, couples and groups who are just out for a great Fringe show experience.

The Village People have released some of the most iconic songs of the 70s. What’s a personal favourite you’re looking forward to seeing performed and why?

I have been obsessed with the Village People for a very long time. I used to dress up and dance around the house to most of their classic songs. At the moment I love Macho Man.  I’m not sure why. Oh, and I Am What I Am which I think is, lyrically, the essence of who the Village People are and what they were created to represent.

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