Canberra sweethearts behind spiegeltent magic
Entertainers who will perform in the Famous Spiegel Garden, at the Senate Rose Garden at Old Parliament House from March 1.
Canberra high school sweethearts David Bates and his wife Michele Bates d'Arbela are back in town and they've bought some interesting company with them.
The pair have become the owners of The Famous Spiegel Garden, a large travelling tent, constructed from wood and canvas and decorated with mirrors, leaded glass, velvet and brocade and filled with live music and dance peformances.
Spiegeltents have been popular in Europe and originated in Belgium in the early 20th century for use as travelling dance halls, bars and entertainment salons.
Spiegeltent owner, David Bates, at the Senate Rose Garden at Old Parliament House, where The Famous Spiegel Garden will be situated. Photo: Rohan Thomson
The tents are hand-hewn pavilions that take about two days to erect.
This visit will be the first time the Spiegel Garden has visited Canberra.
The tent will be erected in the Senate Rose Garden in March for three weeks of performances by international acts and Australian and local artists.
Sarina Dell Fuego will perform in the Famous Spiegel Garden, at the Senate Rose Garden at Old Parliament House. Photo: Rohan Thomson
The Spiegel Garden is a Centenary of Canberra project, which will bring burlesque acts, children's shows, cabaret and vaudeville to the capital.
Bates, who lives in France most of the year, said he and his wife were thrilled to bring the garden to town.
"I am a jazz musician and I was playing in it (the Spiegeltent) and I talked to the owners about travelling it and they said they would love to do that but it needed to be used all year.
"I started hiring it for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and produced seasons in it since 1996 and when the owners decided to sell it I bought it.
"Michele is my business partner and because of our connection with Canberra we thought it was a great time to bring it here."
The gardens have travelled to the Sydney Festival annually for the past seven years and the tent has been making appearances in Melbourne since 2001 as well as doing spots at the Adelaide Finge Festival.
The Canberra programme will begin on March 1 and conclude on March 24.
The season includes such famous names as Parisienne chanteuse Caroline Nin, Irish folk singer Mary Coughlan as well as circus and burlesque from the five-star show Briefs.
Bands include The Gadflys, Perch Creek Family Band, Mikelangelo & The Black Sea Gentlemen, Flap! and The Naughty Rhythms.
Other highlights include a live broadcast by Australia's longest-running satirical radio show, How Green Was My Cactus and an afternoon of smooth sounds from Canberra Jazz Club.
The season will include children's and family entertainment during the days, along with food, drinks and more adult shows at night.
The tent will be open from noon until late daily. For programme information and tickets visit www.spiegeltent.net