How Did I End Up in

Shirley Gnome is taking Wellington by storm with her brand new show Taking It Up The Notch playing NOW at BATS Theatre. This internationally acclaimed, award-winning cabaret comedian will sing you shameless, obscenely honest songs about sex and human nature that will have you in stitches. She was the Winner of Funniest Show at the London Fringe Festival and the Patrons’ Pick at Orlando Fringe Festival 2016, performing to sold out audiences everywhere she goes.

New Zealand being the next place on her agenda.

She tells us more about how she ended up in here in windy Wellington.



I’m a Canadian singer/songwriter, with a smutty and taboo oeuvre. It’s my job to travel around and sing my songs for people. This shocks me almost every day. When I began singing these songs, I did it in spite of it’s lack of marketability – I thought I’d never make a career out of singing about the elephant in the room. I didn’t care. I wanted to have fun and make my friends laugh.


About 7 years ago. I did my second (maybe third) show. A kiwi called Jesse Matthews was there. We had a mutual friend, and we became friends too. You know when you get a good feeling about someone right away? That was Jesse. In fact, I’ve never met a kiwi I didn’t like (as of writing this, Feb 13th 2017 – still haven’t, and I’m currently surrounded by them).


I jokingly said to Jesse, “Maybe someday I’ll tour to New Zealand!” and he said to look him up when I did. I always wanted to visit, whether it would be on a tour (which I thought was a joke) or a vacation (once I got a “real” job and saved up my money).


Cut to the present, where I’m signed with Canada’s largest independent record label (604 Records). I’ve toured Australia once, and I’ve been all over North America and the UK too. When I was planning my tour, I realized I was finally in a position (read: financially) that I could take the risk of coming to NZ with a show. Even if I lost money, I’d be checking a box off my bucket list.


I wrote to Jesse and told him the good news. He picked me up at the airport and it was like no time passed at all. Him, his girlfriend, his brother and roommate are all wonderful folks and introduced me to Wellington. A wonderful bookend to that story that began seven years ago.


“Making it” in the arts is a strange concept – big breaks, getting big, etc. My focus is always making it to new countries, to new people, and to new experiences. Record deal or not, and knowing that a record deal guarantees nothing – I’ve made it to New Zealand.


It is nice to know that there are pockets of artsy merriment where mouthy folks like myself have a place to do their thing, and that one exists in Wellington. I am glad my joke came true. I am glad that jokes are the way by which I careen through this wacky world. I am having so much fun playing my songs at BATS and being a part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival.


Here are some photos of what it looks like when I look at my feet, and look over my shoulder. Also a panorama that I took the moment it all became real to me – I’m here! A now and then of how my act has changed since I first debuted it – and a photo from the finale of Taking It Up The Notch. 






You can still get tickets for Shirley Gnome: Taking It Up The Notch here or at BATS Theatre on NOW until Thursday 16th at 8:30PM.



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