ADELAIDE – Royal Show Celebrates 175th Anniversary through fashion

Copyright 2014 Tanysha Bolger

Tinker Tailor Fashion EXTRAVAGANZA


Fashion has always been a significant part of the Royal Adelaide Show; for decades Show-goers have been entertained with annual fashion parades exhibiting and showcasing inspiring new designs and pieces.

At this year’s Show, fashion has made a comeback to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of South Australia.

Honouring the Royal Show’s more traditional fashion parades of the past is the magical production Tinker-Tailor-Fashion Maker, produced by Shane Wilson of Shane International, which explores 175 years of fashion through dance, theatrics, aerial acts, music and special effects.

Copyright 2014 Tanysha Bolger

The production is made up of ten segments, each celebrating different eras of fashion, music and dance from 1839 up until today.

Performed by over twenty dancers, two aerialists and lead character Tinker Tailor, a Victorian-era tailor, the production takes audiences on a magical journey through a very fashionable history.

Fashion parades from past Royal Shows were a great inspiration for Tinker-Tailor-Fashion Maker, as were the memorable clothing trends from periods such as the start of the Victorian era, the roaring twenties and the disco seventies.

The production’s choreographer, Rhys Bobridge, runner-up in the first season of So You Think You Can Dance Australia, says the production team wanted to pay homage to the 175th Anniversary and present their history in an entertaining way that appealed to a wide array of people.

Copyright 2014 Tanysha Bolger

Bobridge says the fashion was such an important part of the production, as much of the story is told through the different outfits.

“A lot of the pieces are true to the period in which they’re from and we’ve had a lot of help from the State Theatre Company who have provided many of the original garments,” he says.

The male and female fashions in the segments offer a glimpse into each era, and the dancing and theatrical scenes reminiscent of each time period enhance the exploration of past times.

“We have really tried to create something the Show has never seen before,” says Mr Bobridge.

“We are on a twenty-five metre wide stage in one of the most technologically advanced buildings in South Australia, so it’s quite fitting we have put all of our energy and as many different things that we can into the show, like multimedia, aerial, circus acts and various styles of dance.”

Tinker-Tailor-Fashion Maker producer Shane Wilson, explored multiple forms of performance acts to wow audiences, and included two aerialist performers who join the dancers on stage to perform in the air on ropes and silks.

Aerialists Jon Bonaventura and Phoebe Carlson
Aerialists Jon Bonaventura and Phoebe Carlson – Copyright 2014 Tanysha Bolger

The aerialists, Phoebe Carlson and Jon Bonaventura, hired by Shane International and both flown over from Melbourne to perform in the production.

22-year-old Ms Carlson, who has been with the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) for four years, and who performed on ropes at the Adelaide Fringe Festival earlier this year, says she loved working with the rest of the cast.

“Everyone’s from different backgrounds and they are really, amazingly talented, and I love being able to put glitter on my face everyday,” she says.

As well as performing on ropes and silks, Ms Carlson and Mr Bonaventura played the role of two fairies who take Tinker Tailor on his dream-like journey 175 years into the future.

Mr Bobridge said these three characters are the glue that holds the production together.

“It was a bit of a challenge to present all these different times in history and have them correlate, have them all focus around a central character and a theme,” he says.

Rachel Mifsud and Max Garcia-Underwood Copyright 2014 Tanysha Bolger

“The character of Tinker Tailor helps audiences to make sense of it all; it’s his dreamscape, he’s travelling through time to observe the fashions of the period and interact with the characters as well.”

Performed four times daily on all ten Show days, Mr Bobridge said audience reaction and feedback to the production has been very positive.

“People react to a certain decade or reminisce to a time where they may have worn something similar in their day,” says Mr Bobridge.

“They get excited by a particular song, and are just generally entertained by the dancers and aerialists on stage.”

“Tinker-Tailor-Fashion Maker is the most technologically advanced and expensive show ever produced for the Goyder Pavilion at the Royal Adelaide Show.”

The production which runs four times daily in the Goyder Pavilion is free and great entertainment for kids and adults alike.

“I think we’ve kind of set the bar now as to the standard of entertainment.

“Hopefully we can meet that same level or even exceed it in years to come,” he says.

The Royal Show closes this Sunday, 14th September.

You can view a gallery from the stage production below!