DIVA: Maude Boat as MC of the Cabaret Show at a previous Tropical Fruit’s New Year Eve Party in Lismore.
DIVA: Maude Boat as MC of the Cabaret Show at a previous Tropical Fruit’s New Year Eve Party in Lismore. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Maudeville is back, brighter and shinier than ever

IN A city full of divas, only one reigns supreme: Maude Boate.

If you flip the shiny coin that is Maude Boate you find the witty and talented Michael Gates, Lismore born and bred talented artist and gender illusionist.

Maudeville is an exhibition of the costumes of Maude Boate, but it is also a celebration of the genius of her creator, Michael Gates, and how his work has enriched our community.

Michael Gates is a fourth-generation Lismore man, son of a former Lismore mayor, ex-owner of Lismore Bridal, and events coordinator of the Tropical Fruits Festival.

As Maude, Gates has won 18 national DIVA Awards (Drag Industry Variety Awards) and in 2007 was inducted into the DIVA Hall of Fame.

Maude is the shiniest of the jewels in Lismore's crown.


Lismore Regional Gallery director Bret Adlington set up the exhibition last December to coincide with the last Tropical Fruits Festival.

"Lismore Regional Gallery has been discussing working with Michael Gates for quite some time, as he really epitomises what makes Lismore unique," he said.

"Growing up here, and being the son of a former mayor, his return and presence (and more so Maude's presence) capture the openness and acceptance of present-day Lismore."


Mr Adlington said the exhibition was more than just about fashion, but creativity and artistic expression.

"In the past few years, there has been a bit of a move throughout the art museum sector to stage the blockbuster fashion show, however I haven't seen this project in this way," he said.

"Michael's creations are not about fashion, or indeed clothing. They are exuberant expressions of creativity that almost act as positive talismans for a community who had weathered the ravages of HIV/AIDS and victimisation," he said.

* Maudeville will open at the SCU Library, Lismore Campus, from May 2.