Fairytale comes to life

CROSSFIT: Helen Hopcoft will carry on with her regular life while dressed as Marie Antoinette for 12 months.
CROSSFIT: Helen Hopcoft will carry on with her regular life while dressed as Marie Antoinette for 12 months.

FOR one year Maitland’s Helen Hopcroft will dress as Marie Antoinette all the while going about her daily business.

“It’s part community development, part cultural activism, part performance,” Hopcroft said. 

“It will involve me dressing in historically accurate costume as Marie Antoinette for one year from the first of May.” 

Ms Hopcroft who works at the University of Newcastle will carry out her job in full costume. 

The artists was told a “formative story” about the famous monarch in her childhood.

“The story that was communicated about Marie Antoinette was historically inaccurate,” she said.

“When the people were rioting because of a lack of food, she apparently said to a courtier. ‘Let them eat cake,’ of course that is not right.”

“The persona about Marie Antoinette is about power and excess, a person who was disconnected from their community and had no real appreciation of the needs of the people around her.”

Hopcroft’s Marie Antoinette will mend that notion as she immerses herself in the community. 

“I want it to be about community engagement and serving my community,” she said. 

She hopes the project will promote Maitland as a “creative city and a tourist destination”.

“It’s like an extreme form of community service,” she said. 

During the 12 months she will hold Let Them Eat Cake Stalls and will be available to appear at community events. 

Hopcroft describes herself as a “jeans and minimal make-up kind of girl.” The project will see her spending up to two hours a day dressing for the role. 

“The clothing of late 18th century France for an aristocratic woman was incredibly ornate … it involved a number of layers of dress,” she said. 

The costumes will be made by local designers and artists. 

It will be documented by Jessica Coughlan. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to fund the filming of the project at: pozible.com/project/my-year-as-a-fairy-tale