Elizabeth Burton on Goddess and her Extraordinary Life

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Who is Elizabeth Burton?

I believe I was put on Earth to remind people to love themselves. I am a Buddhist Stripper and 73 years young, my practice has taken me all around the world. A tour during the Vietnam War, resident Les Girl, company member alongside Michael Matou in The Sideshow Theatre Company, and defiant, vibrant, Mother – I continue to work as a teacher, mentor, performer and hairdresser to the homeless. Some know me as the ‘Ol’ Tart of Surry Hills.’ My life has been full of wonderful people and experiences. I am a very fortunate woman.

What made you want to tell your story, Elizabeth? And what drew you to Betty Grumble and Aaron Manhattan as collaborators?

I have been wanting to write a book since the 70s and I engage in storytelling as a way to do performance. I met Betty and Aaron at gigs and we hit it off. They remind me of my friends from the 70s and 80s and the two of them regularly come around to my place for a meal or a joint or both. The idea of doing a show came out of these dinners. We really want to reflect the special conversations we have together as friends onstage. It’s going to be very fun and very tender to dance and play with the two of them.


What is the power of cabaret?

Cabaret is good when it’s a bit naughty and beautiful and funny and intense all at once. It’s a great form because you can really challenge lots of different issues in it. The freaks can get together and play and it’s an opportunity for a more normal crowd to get exposed to lives that are different to theirs.

What are your impressions of the cabaret scene in Sydney?

It’s good when it’s good and it’s shit when it’s shit! Scene’s shift and change. People love a good show, they always have and always will.

What can people look forward to in Goddess?

You can expect to have a damn good time! There’s going to be glamour and dance and fun and flesh and a lot of honest stories. I’m so happy to be doing this show now, on my own terms. I can have my say. I also want people to sit with my body the way it is now, still going and still powerful. You don’t see older women up onstage telling stories like mine often! I feel equal parts nervous and excited about it all!  Can’t wait to see you there.

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