'We're not necessarily looking to be revolutionaries," says Anna Faye Hunter, coordinator and emcee of The Millibo Art Theatre's upcoming Cabaret Voltaire. "We want to take that same intent of new work, new ideas, a place for artistic entertainment, run by people who make and perform, and we want to give people a voice."
Cabaret Voltaire, a variety showcase of local talent, is so named for its inspiration, a performing arts venue originally opened in Zürich, Switzerland, in 1916. The venue started as a reaction to World War I, and the violent and tense environment these artists had found themselves in. Hugo Ball, the original Cabaret Voltaire founder, wanted it to be a place of "revolutionary art for people to come and try new things," according to Hunter. "They were a center for artistic and political causes, and I think those go hand-in-hand in some way."
That is the kind of environment that Hunter and the Millibo are attempting to create with this showcase, the first of (hopefully) many. With poetry, storytelling, dance, comedy, magic, music and animation on the docket, along with a few other genres of artistic entertainment, the lineup is fresh, interesting and a little Dada-esque.
The Millibo is locally known for its cabarets, such as its yearly Circus of the Night, but Cabaret Voltaire is a different beast. For one thing, this is a whole group of performers new to the Millibo stage, and many of them are even new to Colorado Springs. For another, the whole feeling of the evening will be different, more intimate and experimental. Artistic Director Jim Jackson says, "It's not an open mic, because we do audition the acts, but it's closer to it. And hopefully it will inspire people to make new work."
Cabaret Voltaire also draws on old-style cabaret traditions, like the café hour that precedes each performance. Axe and the Oak Whiskey Distillery, which recently opened its tasting room in the Ivywild School, will provide tastings and a special cocktail. Plus, one of the performers, who also runs a chocolate business, will be selling her sweets.
They're hoping that a late-night event with plenty of opportunity for socializing and entertainment in equal measure will inspire people who don't always go to the theater. Hunter says she often hears people say that there's nothing to do around town, so she asked herself, "Why don't we put something together? Let's make a late-night option for them to come to. Something a little different."
We're not entirely sure what to expect, but it will certainly be a little different, and it will hopefully provide an outlet for artistic expression and revolution that our local talent doesn't always have access to.
Jan. 27-28, café hour at 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m., The Millibo Art Theatre, 1626 S. Tejon St., $12, themat.org.