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Shirl to star in Mardi Gras

Saturday, 2nd March, 2019

A 2.5m sculpture of June Marie Bennett’s character ‘Shirl’ for the Broken Heel float. PICTURE: Supplied A 2.5m sculpture of June Marie Bennett’s character ‘Shirl’ for the Broken Heel float. PICTURE: Supplied

By Myles Burt

June Marie Bennett will be centre stage on the Broken Heel float for the annual Sydney Mardi Gras this weekend.

Ms Bennett was chosen to be featured on the float having played the character of ‘Shirl’ in the movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Broken Heel Festival director Esther La Rovere said the float theme is a great way to celebrate Ms Bennett who recently turned 80 years old.

“She’s always been very supportive of the festival every year, and if you’ve ever meet her she’s our own little starlet,” Ms La Rovere said.

“It seemed to work really well this idea of ‘Shirl’ coming back to Sydney as part of the parade, and spinning around that idea of how far we’ve come.

“I guess we just wanted to be able to grow on that theme and bring certainly another element, and something that’s very particular to Broken Hill.

“You’re certainly not going to see that replicated anywhere else with the 300,000 people around for Mardi Gras, so yeah should stand out.”

Shirl, was known in the movie for not tolerating the three travelling drag queens, saying “No, no, you can’t have anything. We’ve got nothing here for people like you”.

Ms La Rovere said to redevelop Shirl they have created a new soundtrack with new audio saying: “Yes, you can have, you can have everything”.

Ms Bennett will play a more inclusive and glamourous Shirl, with drag queens surrounding her in Shirl inspired costumes.

“She will be a radiant sunflower in the middle of an army of Shirl’s,” Ms La Rovere said.

Accompanying Ms Bennett will be a two-and-a-half metre bust of her as Shirl placed at the front of the float.

The polystyrene sculpture was made by Melbourne company ‘A Blanck Canvas’ in two to three weeks.

The Broken Heel Festival float will be at position 44 in the parade, with The Palace Hotel screening the 2019 Sydney Mardi Gras this Saturday.

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