Article by Cassandra Ramsay @cassramsay

An interview with Hot New Sensation – Emma Gibson

One of Canberra’s hardest working emerging artists is heading to Crack Theatre Festival 2013 to perform the next version of her intriguing intimate performance Dead Beauty Queens.

Emma’s plays have been performed across Australia, including the well-received Love Cupboard (2010) at The Street Theatre Canberra. As well as being a delegate at the Women Playwrights International Conference in Stockholm 2012, her work Widowbird was selected to be presented as a staged reading at the esteemed event. She was also a delegate at World Interplay in 2009 and a resident writer in The Street Theatre’s Hive Development Program from 2010 to 2012.


In 2012 Emma began developing a research-informed play about true crime, mentored by established playwright Colette F. Keen through JUMP, the Australia Council’s national mentoring program for young and emerging artists. This project developed into a play called The Pyjama Girl, set to premiere at Hothouse Theatre (Albury-Wodonga) in November this year. It was through the process of writing this work that Dead Beauty Queens emerged.

“While going through old newspapers I found a lot of articles about murdered women who had been beauty pageant contestants or models” says Emma. “This struck me as interesting because statistically, men are far more likely to be murder victims, but with a beautiful woman there’s a kind of eroticisation of death, and so it follows that there is often more media coverage.”

Dead Beauty Queens had its first life during this year’s You Are Here Festival in Canberra.  “I knew I wanted to experiment with something small scale, and I’d already found my subject matter,” says Emma.

It doesn’t get scaled much smaller than this – part of the show involves audience members being inside a car with Emma, enrolled in the work as a voyeur (or more) and thrust into heart of the story.

“It’s intimate, almost claustrophobic, as I invite audience members into one of my personal spaces and relinquish control.”

Operating under the company name Hot New Sensation (a name which she admits is a joke that stuck) Emma will be making her mark at Crack Theatre Festival, and her work is sure to be seen in a number of other events nationwide in the near future.