Address: 5 Carson Place off Little Collins Street, Melbourne, Australia
Date: 14-19 March
Ticket: $25 -$32
Buy / Ticket: https://sa2.seatadvisor.com/sabo/servlets/TicketRequest?eventId=100893101&presenter=AUTBCT&venue=&event=&version=
Daisy and Violet Hilton were conjoined twins born in 1908 in Brighton, England. They were the highest paid Vaudeville act of the 20s and 30’s. Colleen Burke was born with twin internal sex organs, and had a ‘twin’ sister who was born with cerebral palsy. Cleave is a night of intimate storytelling and puppetry that intertwines the narratives of these two sets of most unusual twins.
The Hilton Twins were exploited from the day they were born. When their appearance at Luna Park, Melbourne at the age of 4 failed to draw big audiences, the sisters went to an outback circus where they encountered Mike Myers, a Balloon Salesman from Clifton Hill. Myers took them on to fame and his own vast fortune, however they were kept prisoner throughout their lives until they were emancipated at 21, in a highly publicised court case. After numerous failed efforts to find love and marriage, they ended up working as strippers in their later lives and eventually going to work weighing fruit for a grocer before dying alone from the flu.
Colleen Burke’s family lived close by in the US at the time the sisters died. The Burke family were preparing the make the same trip across the sea back to Australia. Burke’s sister was treated as a freak at the time that many people with disabilities were shut away and forgotten in institutions. At the age of 21 Burke discovered her own ‘freakdom’ and despite her anomaly that caused a great deal of grief, she found her own taste of freedom.
Cleave is a work quite unlike any other. Colleen Burke has the unique perspective and agency to discuss the chequered history of ‘freak culture’. The production opens on the 14th of March and runs for 6 nights. Bookings highly recommended.