Your Place, Our Venue, welcome to Cabaret Connects

Downtown looks forward to Cork's Cabaret Connects and catches up with the organisers ahead of the grand finale
Your Place, Our Venue, welcome to Cabaret Connects

Carl and Linda Plover (aka Mr & Mrs Wasps) of Cabaret Connects.

In a few years, when we look back at the entertainment options we had from March 2020 to summer 2021, many will remember Zoom calls with faltering audio connections; various live streams from people’s homes and of course the high-budget professional broadcasts. However, Carl and Linda Plover tried something a little different with their Cabaret Connect events.

This Friday they bring the current series to a close or, as Linda puts it, “not necessarily the end, but more a break”.

In a nutshell, they would invite three or four artists to perform short sets, which the Plovers would host from their kitchen table and interact with the live chat as people enjoyed the music and spoken word.

Lorraine Nash: Up for Cabaret.
Lorraine Nash: Up for Cabaret.

Since they moved to Cork around 20 years ago, Linda has worked mostly behind the scenes in the music industry and Carl would be known to many as the driving force of Wasps Versus Humans, as well as the MC of the spoken word stage at Indiependence festival.

The various strands of their careers have combined to create this new project, but Linda sees the contrast between what they’ve done in the past and their online streaming project very clearly.

“When we curate the stage at Indiependence it focuses on spoken word, whereas Cabaret Connect encompasses a whole mix of genres. Also, at Indiependence Carl takes on an MCing role and introduces each artist, but we’ve taken that further by having the two of us talking about and introducing each artist and having that bit of extra banter in between, which also gives us the opportunity to bring in the audience.

“We’ve adopted the tagline ‘Your Place Our Venue’ with the idea that we’re bringing performers and audiences together and recreating an evening in with friends and a sense of community. The audience can take part by way of live interaction with the Whatsapp-style function featured as part of the event.

“We’ve been able to create a sense of occasion and be part of something and, whether you’re watching from a living room in London or Brazil, you can still make it to the party.

“I like the idea of being able to bring together both the grassroots venue experience with the online community. You can also be in the virtual house with friends in your PJs and no one will know!”

For us, cabaret is about the hosting of the event and introducing all the acts, as well as making sure each line up is very different style wise and dynamically

As opposed to simple alliteration, they chose the word ‘cabaret’ for their event title with a clear purpose.

“For us, cabaret is about the hosting of the event and introducing all the acts, as well as making sure each line up is very different style wise and dynamically, so there is always an eclectic mix of spoken word and music —from folk, blues, hip hop, to country, trad, punk, spoken word to comedy and everything in between. Basically there’s something for everyone, as well as introducing folk to artists and performances they may not normally come across. It also keeps the evening dynamic and moving.”

Those contrasts in line ups are very important to Linda.

“It’s very carefully thought out in that we want to make sure the four acts are very different. For instance, in May’s show we had the passionate rhythmic monologues of Manchester poet Mike Garry contrasting with the hilariously titillating performance by farmer/burlesque chanteuse comedic duo The Wild Geeze.”

The June installment of Cabaret Connect contains another quartet of acts about who Linda enthuses.

“This Friday we have Stephen James Smith, a Dublin poet and playwright who is central to the rise of the vibrant spoken word scene in Ireland today. To date, his poetry videos have amassed over three million views online.

 Aoife Scott. 	 Picture: Ruth Medjber 
Aoife Scott. Picture: Ruth Medjber 

“Our first musical guest, Aoife Scott, was born into the legendary Black family. She’s been steadily rising to the top of the traditional and folk music scene, and has long enjoyed success as an established artist in her own right, recently receiving the accolade for ‘Best Folk Act’ at the Irish Post Music Awards.

“As well as Aoife, we have the Kerry multi-instrumentalist Lorraine Nash. She signed to Cork label Fifa records earlier this year, who released her critically acclaimed single ‘Sing With Her’ and made the top five on RTÉ Radio 1’s airplay chart.

“Rounding off the line up is singer/songwriter Ross O’Halloran. With an emotive sound echoing fellow Irishman Dermot Kennedy, this upcoming Cork artist is tipped for great things.”

The duo’s decades of experiences has informed how and who they programme for the line ups.

“There has also been a personal connection with all the artists we have had in, that we have either shared the stage with them or worked with them in some form. We’re incredibly lucky that we have a pool of artists, who we have met over the years and we have been able to approach about taking part.

“Having said that, it is not our intention to create a clique. The music and arts scene has always been a melting pot of creativity, so you’re constantly meeting and connecting with other like-minded people... It’s also important for us to align emerging artists with those who are more established and presenting them within an informal and equal space.”

Equality also comes to the fore in regards to paying the performers, Linda continued and explained how the event works and crucially how to attend.

Stephen James Smith. 	 Pic: Babs Daly
Stephen James Smith. Pic: Babs Daly

“Cabaret Connect is a ‘pay what you can afford’ event, with all money being shared equally amongst the four acts.

The grand finale is being live streamed between 8.00pm-9.30pm on Friday June 25

Spaces are limited and it is highly recommended that anyone wishing to attend, register and save their spot well in advance. Go to or

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