finucane smith feature

¡Arte Total! ¡Amor Total! ¡Libertad Total!: Moira Finucane

Molly McLaughlin

From Colombia to Canberra, Moira Finucane is taking on the world with her provocative performances that bring together elements of cabaret, burlesque, circus and drama.

Moira is currently in Canberra for Art, Not Apart and I was lucky enough to chat to her about her travels, her art and what we can expect from her performance.

As one half of Finucane Smith, Moira has been taking her subversive cabaret show Glory Box around South America with her partner Jackie Smith.

“Last year we went to Cuba, which was totally thrilling,” she says. “We were recently awarded the CHAMACO award for the best International Theatre Show presented in Cuba in 2015. It was such an honour.”

She sees the ideas of her work reflected in the cultural and social fabric of the countries she has visited.

“In Cuba, I was deeply moved by the waiting staff at the Copa Room – a classic  1950’s Mafia built hotel cabaret room that had frozen in time and not changed since the revolution – where we performed Glory Box. The staff came and watched the show every night, and one waiter told me how he had brought his family in from the country to see the show. He said ‘It is about liberation. It is a very important show for us all to see.’”

“And when I was in Argentina for example, a leading newspaper interviewed me: I began the interview talking about the history of the show, and cabaret in general, and they said, enough about that, we want to hear about your work on human rights. I was happy to oblige!”

In turn she has been influenced by Latin America itself, bringing a fresh and passionate interpretation to her artistic practice.

“So many influences have gone into the pot to make contemporary Latin America and the pot is still boiling,” she says. “The passion, the politics, the liberation theology: the catholic spirituality and mysticism, the indigenous religions and mysticism; the many religious beliefs brought via the slaves stolen from Africa.”

“I have been inspired by so many people in my travels there: artists whose work on liberation has brought me to tears; the mothers of the disappeared, who still march for their missing children; incredible musicians, dancers, writers… too many to name.”

Compared to all that Canberra must seem quite tame, but Moira is excited to revisit the city that influenced her path as a performer.

Moira in

Moira in ‘The Queen of Hearts’

“I always enjoy coming to Canberra.” she says. “The audiences here are so responsive, and there is a great engagement with the arts in Canberra. I was in the Canberra Airport when I had my epiphany about becoming a performer many years ago.”

“I had just finished a gruelling lobbying session regarding saving an important wetland. Good news is that particular wetland was spared. Now I am coming to Canberra as a performer rather than a lobbyist, but I am no less passionate!”

Moira will be performing two works at Art, Not Apart, she explains. Total Art is a work inspired by the Vienna Secession movement that she has translated into Spanish (and Portuguese for Brazil) when she performed it in Latin America.

“Arte total! Amor total! Libertad total!” she pronounces.

Her second work is a classic that has consistently received rave reviews wherever she takes it, called The Queen of Hearts.

“She is my infamous showgirl shark,” Moira explains. “200 red balloons, and a bikini covered in 6 inch spikes. Say no more!”

Moira will be performing from 5-5.15pm on the Nishi Grand Stair with a super secret performance at night.

the essentials

What: Art Not Apart
Where: Across a variety of locations in NewActon, Acton, Westside Acton Park and West Basin. See website for more information.
When: Saturday 19 March from 1pm onwards
More information: See the website


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin is new to Canberra and is attempting to prove to her friends that the capital city can be cool. This mostly involves frequently going out for brunch and then posting about it on social media, along with trekking up hills and around art galleries. She is half way through her uni degree but spends most of her time reading, writing and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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