The veteran cabaret performer shares some of her favourite photos with Time Out. Cult cabaret diva Ursula Martinez has been taking her clothes off on stage for years. My British, public-school-educated father had a slightly different agenda: he was more of an old perve. But either way, me and my parents would spend a few weeks in August, with my extended family, camping out by the river or a remote lake in the National Park, being nudists. However, it was never my intention that it should become a bit of a trademark of my work.
Ursula Martinez in pictures
Ursula Martinez - Hanky Panky - Celebs Roulette Tube
On the surface, British cabaret performer Ursula Martinez and I have very little in common. She's tall, slender, half-Spanish, a lesbian feminist comedian and theatre sensation who has performed all over the world. I am a chubby New Zealand heterosexual with zero stage skills who spends his days hunched over a computer keyboard, bolting words together. But Martinez and I have one rare thing in common.
Ursula Martinez - Hanky Panky
Ursula Martinez is an Anglo-Spanish performance artist noted for her use of nudity and non-actors. Her father is English and her mother Spanish. In the s she began to combine this with her experience in cabaret, establishing a reputation in the queer arts community. With collaborator Mark Whitelaw, she created A Family Outing, a performance piece in which she deconstructed her own childhood and coming out, including appearing nude on stage alongside both her parents. It debuted at the Edinburgh Festival and toured for three years.
Ursula Martinez steps on to a podium to perform the final part of Hanky Panky, the magic strip tease that has made her a cult figure. There is a second of total silence. You'd think she'd whipped a pistol out. This is the sound of the audience realising that Martinez, after gradually discarding all her clothes, is about to make a red hankie vanish and reappear even though she is not wearing a stitch. Take a guess.