Ironing Maidens 2

The Ironing Maidens – A Soap Opera

The Ironing Maidens are cleaning house and are on a mission to spit shine the image of women in the work place.

Favourites in the FNQ arts scene, the Ironing Maidens have been delighting audiences and filling laundromats up and down the coast as people flock to see their quirky blend of social commentary, satire and live electronic music show.

Utilising irons and ironing boards that have been converted into musical instruments, the aptly titled Ironing Maidens explore concepts surrounding the notion of “a woman’s work” in a high energy live music show.

“We originally chose the irons as a symbol as they sort of scream the 1950’s and house work. It’s about recognition of women’s work in the music industry in particular for us but also about women’s work in the home, about the amount of unpaid domestic labour women are still doing now, not a lot has actually changed since the 1950s for women in the house.” explains singer/songwriter Melania Jack, one half of the dynamic duo alongside Patty Preece.

Currently premiering their brand new show, A Soap Opera, at Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Cairns based duo are striking while the iron is hot after their sell out show Electro House Wife took out the festival’s John Chataway Innovation Award in 2019.

After their run of fringe shows they’re returning home to Cairns to perform A Soap Opera at the Tanks Arts Centre on Saturday March 7th celebrating International Women’s Day festivities, as part of the Flame arts project.

Melania describes the concept behind the new show and how the Ironing Maidens have evolved in the previous 12 months.

“Our previous show, Electro House Wives, we performed at the Tanks last year, was a very high energy electronic set and this new show, A Soap Opera, moves into a bit more gig theatre territory.”

“Gig theatre is new genre thats really big in Europe and England at the moment but it’s essentially a band that has a narrative running through the set. It’s a cross over genre.”

A Soap Opera began as a love letter to Daphne Oram, an early electronic music pioneer, and pays homage to the oft silent and unrecognised work done by women in both the music industry and within the domestic space. The duo a month in the UK poring over archives and historical information to get a clear picture of this woman whose dedication to technology and development was intrinsic to the history of modern electronic music.

“She (Oram) basically built one of the worlds first early synthesisers and we’re really fascinated with her work and we were at the time doing a lot of building instruments ourselves, so we decided to look at those years she was building in the 1950s and we thought it was kind of ironic that we hadn’t heard of her and she was doing all this quite pivotal work in the movement to try and invent electronic sounds, but during those years women were more or less expected to be in the kitchen and there was daphne out there in the studio building those machines.”

Speaking about the new show, Jack is inspired by the melodrama of the humble TV soap opera, the duo even bringing in television script writer, Annette Moore to collaborate on writing the show.

“Because this show is called a Soap Opera we went right down that soap opera drama aesthetic, theres lots of big soap opera themes; fights, flash backs and near death experiences. The kind of thins you would expect if you we were watching Days Of Our Lives. But it’s still essentially a set. You can still dance the whole way through if you wanted to, or you could sit down and really get right deep into the story. Its a personal choose you own adventure.”

After a huge international tour of the festival circuit in Europe, The Ironing Maidens were inspired to develop their new show in this innovative new format that will see their stage show become more interactive.

“People can expect the traditional Ironing Maidens electronic music and that kind of play on the concept of House Music but this time with a little but more drama and a little bit more of a story line threaded through. It’s got a lot more interactive elements, we have a projection and aspect which is a bit different that’s starting to effect the look and the feel of the whole piece.”

Returning to the Tanks Art Centre with a brand new show will be both a victory lap and a homecoming for The Ironing Maidens after a smash 2019 festival season which included a run of shows performed in laundromats from Brisbane to Cairns.

“The Tanks gig last year was such a great gig, we still talk about it. The audience came and they just literally did not stop dancing all night. It’s a fantastic venue, the stage and sound system there and the crew are just amazing to work with, we love working over there. We’ve been there for the last few weeks running rehearsals out of Tank 3. So we spend a lot of time there!”

Catch The Ironing Maidens perform their brand new show A Soap Opera at The Tanks Arts Centre Saturday 7th of March. Doors at 6:30pm with support from The Tegan Koster Project. Tickets available through Ticketlink

Stacey Brown

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