The Clichettes

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Artist.

Louise Garfield, Janice Hladki, and Johanna Householder


You Don’t Own Me

The Clichettes were a Toronto-based feminist lip-sync satirical trio who performed from 1978 to 1992 across Canada in a multitude of venues.  They created and performed in four full-length theatrical productions – “Half Human, Half Heartache”, “She-Devils of Niagara”, “Up Against the Wallpaper” and “Out For Blood”. Their reputation for fierce, hilarious feminist satire of pop culture’s inherent misogyny and their gender-bending use of lip-sync and spectacular visual design earned them a loyal national and international audience and the dubious title of  Champions of the 1984 National Lip-Sync Contest in Houston, Texas.

The group’s first retrospective , curated by Ivan Dizdar, running until November 2024  at the McMaster Museum of Art celebrates The Clichettes’ abundant and divers collaborations with artists, writers, designers, and directors. The exhibition brings together over 150 costumes, props, videos, photographs, drawings, scripts, and archival materials.

“Bridging theatre, lip-sync, dance, drag, costume, and comedy, the renowned Canadian artist trio The Clichettes developed a groundbreaking practice at the crossroads of performance art and feminist satire”.

Johanna Householder

Johanna Householder’s interest in how ideas shape bodies has led her often collaborative practice, in performance art, choreography, video and other media. As a member of the feminist performance ensemble, The Clichettes, she helped establish lip sync as a viable medium for political critique. She has performed across Canada and at international venues for over 40 years. Her recent work includes collaborating with performance artist, Judith Price and six sound artists to produce Diptychs, a series of zoom-recorded video pieces. She was one of the founders of Danceworks in 1978, and she is a founder of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art. With Tanya Mars, she co-edited two books: Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women (2004), and More Caught in the Act (2016). She is professor emerita in the Faculty of Art and Graduate Studies at OCADU.

Janice Hladki

Janice Hladki’s history in artistic production includes performance art, dance and choreography, theatre, and video art, with a focus on social and political issues. As one of The Clichettes, Janice has been fortunate to collaborate with Louise and Johanna on feminist performance work. She has curated or co-curated four group exhibitions and produced their exhibition catalogues, choreographed for films and for theatre and dance companies and created performance art works. Janice is a retired Associate Professor of Theatre and Film Studies and Gender Studies and Feminist Research at McMaster University. Her interdisciplinary research engages with critical issues in relation to art, culture, and embodiment and draws from approaches in disability, gender, sexuality, critical race, and cultural studies. She has co-edited two scholarly volumes, Embodied Politics in Visual Autobiography (U of T Press, 2014) and Pedagogy, Image Practices, and Contested Corporealities (Routledge, 2015), and published over 30 articles and book chapters.

Louise Garfield

Louise Garfield is a veteran of the thriving cultural scene in Toronto. Her  background in film & television, theatre and dance as an award-winning producer, performer and choreographer, lend her arts administrator’s eyes a distinct sensibility.

Louise was one of the three founders at Triptych Media, an acclaimed Canadian film company where she co-produced John Greyson’s ZERO PATIENCE – A MUSICAL ABOUT AIDS and Thom Fitzgerald’s THE HANGING GARDEN. She was Executive Producer of DANCES FOR A SMALL SCREEN, by Laura Taler and Mark Hammond, TELL ME EVERYTHING and YES/NO by Brian D. Johnson and Annie Bradley’s IN THE HOTHOUSE. As Executive Director of Arts Etobicoke, Louise expanded community-based arts programs and arts advocacy.   In 2017 she received an Urban Hero Award.  In 2018, the Louise Garfield Award was established at Nightwood Theatre. Louise has served on the Board of Directors of Dance Collection Danse, Bill James Dance Company and was a founding member of Danceworks and Women’s Cultural Building.