Tawdry Heartburn's Manic Cures, James Berlyn Photo: Otilee Lamb

I lied to my friend about why I can't go to her wedding...... I told her I couldn't get time off work but really I just don't really like her very much.

Anonymous, 12th February 2009

Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures

James Berlyn


If you could tell your deepest darkest secret without being identified, would you? Should you?

Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures is a free interactive performance, installation and web-work offering you the chance to “get it off your chest”.

The performance unfolds in an intimate 20 minute conversation between Tawdry Heartburn, a six-foot-five nail technician, palmist and Manic-Curist of Secrets, and a single audience member or ‘client’. Surrounded by varnish, typewriters and things unsaid, Tawdry will professionally paint and polish your nails, or read your palm, while inviting you to consider divulging a secret via his collection of mechanical ‘gossip machines’.

Anonymous secrets or regrets may be handwritten or typed, then placed in Tawdry’s secrets boxes. At the end of each day, the boxes are emptied and contributions added to the ever expanding Wall of Secrets for passers-by to read. A selection are later posted to tawdryheartburn.com, a website documenting secrets disclosed.

Tawdry’s mission in life? To achieve a world without secrets, to un-furrow the brows of millions and heal the consternation caused by unspoken truths – one set of nails at a time.

Performance History
| Brisbane Festival, Brisbane, QLD
2014Festival Of Live Art, Melbourne VIC
2013 | Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Adelaide SA
2013Sydney Festival, Presented in association with Carriageworks, NSW
2012Enlighten, National Library of Australia, Canberra ACT
2011APACA, State Theatre Centre of WA Foyer, Perth WA
2011 | Ten Days on the Island Tasmania Tour as ‘State Secrets’, TAS
2011 | WOMADelaide, Adelaide SA
2010 | Australian Performing Arts Market, Adelaide Festival Centre, SA
2010 | Perth International Arts Festival Beck’s Music Box, Perth WA
2009 | 25 Summer Nights Festival, The Blue Room Theatre, Perth WA
 2009 Putting On An Act, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth WA


James Berlyn Creator/ Performer
James Berlyn is an award‐winning performing artist and lecturer of more than 25 years’ experience. Trained in dance at VCA, he has worked in dance, dance‐theatre, theatre and community art nationally and internationally as a creator, performer, director and curator. James’ hybrid one‐on‐one theatre work Tawdry Heartburn’s Manic Cures (2009) has had more than 1000 performances  across the country including Perth, Brisbane and Sydney Festivals; Ten Days On The Island; WOMADelaide; Enlighten ACT; Festival of Live Art and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. James is the instigator and co‐founder of Proximity Festival, Australia’s first one‐on‐one performance platform. He was a founding co‐director of Tracksuit, WA’s adult disability performance company supported by DADAA WA. He is WA’s only accredited trainer for Ausdance’s Skill Set: facilitator and assessor and a core artist with Performing Lines WA. James recently returned from Europe where he was an assessor for the 2014 Total Theatre Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe. He also created a new solo work in Basel, Switzerland with director Jim Hughes to be premiered in 2016. Other recent career highlights include his solo theatre work Crash Course (PICA, APACA Conference) and Awesome Festival commissions Dreamstore, Splat! and Twyping. James directed Perth festival shows Tenebrae et Lux (2013) and assisted on You Once Said Yes (2014). He performed in Sue Healey’s Variant (2012), Hydrapoesis’ Prompter, and as Lord High Executioner in ICW Productions The Mikado (2014). James created the role of Agamemnon in Matt Lutton’s Elektra (2012).


James Berlyn’s hands move purposefully as he expertly applies lashings of bright nail polish to the hands of his client. Dressed entirely in black, with the exception of a black-and-white pinstriped neckscarf, he looks more like a magician than a beauty therapist as he works on the Kingston Beach foreshore... read on The Mercury


Producer Contact:
Fiona de Garis
+61 8 9200 6213

Visit the official Tawdry website


In the studio with James Berlyn

Posted: January 11th, 2016