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Mandy Nolan & Áine Tyrrell Country Witches Association


Mandy Nolan & Áine Tyrrell Country Witches Association

Tired of waiting for change, creative women around the world are getting ready to stir the political pot – Welcome to the CWA!

The (dis)organisation everyone’s been waiting for! The Country Witches Association!

Irish musician Áine Tyrrell and Australian comedian Mandy Nolan mix the genre cauldron to bring dangerous dialogues and uncomfortable collaborations to the boil!

The two come from very different sides of the yard, with Mandy a tit flashing, irreverent, blaspheming stand-up comedy banshee and Áine an articulate, deep-thinking, politically-charged powerhouse of rock. What bound them was their shared politics, their sense that as women things just aren’t as rosy as we’re sold, and this passion to give voice to the rising dissent they feel in their audiences.

The two use site mapping and projection to unite their two genres, to weave a new narrative.

The show kicked off at the end of 2019 with sold out shows in Brisbane, Byron Bay, Sydney and Katoomba. While COVID may have taken some of the wind out of their sails, cancelling their Vivid gig for Sydney and their trip to Edinburgh Festival and scheduled appearances at music and arts festivals in Ireland and Scotland, they managed to innovate performances online, working with Women Of the World Festival as part of the Aussie contingent. In 2021 they head out regionally as part of the Women of the World outback tour. The Country Witches have just returned from regional NSW touring funded through Arts North West – taking their fast talking comedic and musical disruption to conservative heartland. The girls half expected to be run out of town, but instead they were hugged by audiences who thanked them. It's not just about a show for the Country Witches. It's a movement.

What surprised these newbie witches was how many women, and men, wanted to join their association. They wanted to belong to an aberrant dis-organisation... with an anthem, their own queen and a secret handshake! They have been busily nurturing their online community of Country Witches, who turn up at their shows – or share with like-minded communities elsewhere.

Country Witches Association brings two separate genres and stands them side by side. Comedy and song. Not funny songs. Powerful anthems. Cutting satire. Audience engagement through agenda setting, secret handshakes, an anthem, and always with a welcome and story from a traditional owner.

They talk about feminism. As someone from the Republic of Ireland Áine sings of her experience of colonialism and the duty of all those with Irish heritage to support their Indigenous brothers and sisters.

Multi-talented Mandy Nolan is an accomplished comedian, artist, journalist, scriptwriter and memoirist. Her humour is sharp, honest, sometimes self-depreciating, somewhat outrageous, but never cruel or pretentious. Frequently irreverent, it speaks to a diverse audience with no set demographic, no gender, race or religion, occupation or tribe.

She is a columnist for the Byron Shire Echo, and writes regularly for Mamamia – where she’s also a featured podcast host for 'The Split', which just won an award for best Native Post in Berlin. Mandy has written five books, is in demand on the national circuit and tours nationally with her comedy show Women Like Us with colleague Ellen Briggs.

‘Mandy can make a rock laugh!’ Australian Stage

Australia’s favourite adopted Irish sister, Áine Tyrrell is a modern day pirate queen, except instead of ships, she captures audiences, one heart at a time. Her latest offering Return to the Sea was written and recorded in her homeland but mastered and crowdfunded with one boot in the red dirt of Australia. The album is alive with contemporary narratives rising from a solid respect for tradition. Critics worldwide lauding Áine as a force of nature and this album full of anthems for humanity. Return To The Sea is a call to arms, a siren's wisdoms and warnings and, most importantly, the soundtrack of a woman who walks her own beat. In 2020 Áine was one of just 150 artists to showcase at New Orleans, testament to her clout as a rising star in the music industry.

Country Witches Association isn’t a show for cake bakers, it's a show for troublemakers. Although the two are quick to acknowledge the real CWA. ‘We don’t send them up’ says Nolan, ‘we just take the format and bend it a little to make it fit. The real CWA are staunch. They bake it and we shake it!’

Country Witches Association is not a show like any other you will see this year.

Suitable for audiences 18+

Before and after the show

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  • Kick on at The Festival Club!

    An intoxicating mix of the best stand-up, cabaret, burlesque, lip synchronisers, drag kings and queens. Spontaneous, bold, high-octane comedy genius!

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