Mahla Bird (AKA Themme Fatale) is a multidisciplinary artist and chronic over-achiever. They are a performance artist, scientist, aerialist, author, sideshow dabbling drag bimbo, queer body-positive fitness instructor, co-creator of the award nominated cabaret KillJoy, and proud co-parent of queer saloon The Saddle Qlub.
Locally and internationally, from tiny queer clubs to The Arts Centre, underground labs to NYC’s infamous House of Yes, they create work that explores themes of gender, power, vulnerability, autonomy, and hope.
As a performance artist, Mahla Bird is an aesthetic agitator — a Themme Fatale — and likes making work that allows their varied roles to inform each other, like turning gyms into queer dance parties, using trapeze to tell tender stories, and giving neuroscience presentations at punk gigs. Their work is fundamentally a celebration of survival, and a spell cast for a brighter, more liberated future.
Never one to do things by halves, Mahla first made their way from science to performance via FOUND Festival (2015), where they undertook ideation, development, programming and production of The Church space, then headlining this venue.
Since then, Mahla has burst onto cabaret and queer art stages from their home in Melbourne (Including The Arts Centre, The Melba Spiegeltent, Honcho Disko, Midsumma Carnival, Kong’s Kings, Dr Sketchy’s), across Australia (Adelaide Fringe Festival, Sydney Mardi Gras) to NYC (Coney Island, House of Yes), enthralling audiences with their signature blend of physical skill, engaging stage presence, and tenderhearted chutzpah.
Mahla, along with with co-creators BamBam and Cat Scurvy, was awarded the Still I Rise artist development program via the Women’s Circus in 2016, in order to develop KillJoy, a live-scored feminist cabaret nominated for Best Circus in its first season. KillJoy has enjoyed standing ovations and glowing reviews in its seasons at Melbourne Fringe, Midsumma, and Adelaide Fringe Festivals, being described as “sexy, funny, awe-inspiring, moving and just damned brilliant” (The Upside News).
In addition to performance work, Mahla still engages with her background in neuroscience, unshackling it from university institutions to bring her findings to places unexpected. Mahla’s Punk Science presentations make science accessible, engaging audiences in the neurological processes behind art, music, meditation, and sex - all the while live-streaming the EEG output of her own mind!. Mahla has presented Punk Science at Art Salons, Punk Gigs, Warehouses, and Carnivals across Melbourne, Sydney, and New York since 2015.
FLEX! Fitness - Presented by QueerJoy
As a physical performer Mahla spends a lot of time moving, so has an intimate understanding of the relationship between physical movement and mental health and wellbeing. However, many gyms' narrow focus on aesthetics and weight loss turn movement into a punishing experience rather than a inclusive, joyful one.
Mahla combines their years of experience in various physical practices (yoga, circus, injury prevention, pilates, dance, and a whole lot of anatomy/physiology training), and desire for a fitness space that's more supportive of all bodies - and particularly queer bodies - to build a group where we can access the benefits of regular guided movement practice, and skip on the sh*tty bits.