In her national theatre debut, ‘Bloom Girl’, Brisbane independent artist Charli Burrowes challenges what it means to be liked, loved, or just real in the social media age.
Reminiscent of the wickedly witty and all too relatable ‘Fleabag’ the neon bright, 80-minute, one woman spectacle follows the protagonist ‘Bloom Girl’ as she navigates the good, bad and downright ugly of living a life online.
An independent filmmaker and artist by trade, Ms Burrowes has built a decade-long career in the blue light of social media, amassing more than 35,500 loyal followers.
Now, she’s trading likes for applause as she steps out from behind her phone to play an influencer in denial of her pending cancellation, traversing the realities of near romance in an aimless digital world.
“Like anything worthwhile, the show is pretty uncensored,” Ms Burrowes said.
“You could say it’s a protest against the superficiality of what social media has become and the people who pander to it…
“Social media used to be a place where artists could freely share their work, but what was once a digital wonderland is now a bottomless content pit designed to keep the algorithm well fed.”
Ms Burrowes has been taking shots at social behemoths in a series of viral photo essays for months, declaring social media a graveyard for originality, creativity, and authenticity. The series reached over 2 million people and was reshared by artists all over the world thousands of times per day (including celebrities like Tina Arena).
Ms Burrowes is no stranger to tackling taboo topics, often challenging what’s real and what’s not. During her research for the show, she planted actress Kirsty Sturgess as a fake influencer in the heart of Sydney Fashion Week to see what the reaction would be. With well-placed pleather pants, a next season top, and luxury brand sunnies, the plant went viral with media supergiants like Vogue, 9Honey and Pop Sugar proving her point more than her art ever could.
Bloom Girl has been Ms Burrowes’ passion project for many years and has been realised across a diverse range of art forms including visual art and a short film of the same name released in 2018.
She said she hoped this latest rendition, the convergence of her real and digital life experiences, gave people something to talk about and connect with.
“It’s a story about wanting to be loved (and ‘liked’). With a few heartbreaks in my back pocket, I have combined my experiences of the digital dating scene to turn them into something a little fun, just in time for Valentine’s Day,” she said.
“It’s probably not the play you would take your nanna to see, but fun drunk aunties, definitely!”
Stepping off London stages, Bloom Girl is directed by Elise Lamb, an award-winning writer, director, producer, and actor who lends the show her 20 years’ experience. She has worked with London’s Young Vic Theatre and National Theatre and was recently long listed for the Australian Writers’ Guild Monte Miller Award.
With almost half the tickets already sold, Bloom Girl will be the first play to activate at the new $100million performing arts hub, the Thomas Dixon Centre, in West End.
The Brisbane leg of the show will run from 3-11 February before moving on to Sydney and Melbourne. Guests can also see Ms Burrowes’ art exhibition by the same name at the Thomas Dixon Centre, free to the public during trading hours along the walkway and in the wardrobe workroom windows.
The pièce de résistance of the show is closing night’s ball hosted at Lightspace, an event oozing with the rampant energy of angsty artists let free for one night only.
What: Bloom Girl
Who: Charli Burrowes (Me Oh My)
When: Friday 3 February – Saturday 11 February
Where: Talbot Theatre, Thomas Dixon Centre