Helen Hopcroft plans for the summer heat 7 months into her year as Marie Antoinette

Marie, let them eat icy poles SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
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SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

SUMMER IS HERE: Helen Hopcroft cools off in Maitland Pool while dressed as Marie Antoinette. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Helen Hopcroft ahead of a fundraiser event in July for Maitland Regional Museum called Let Them Eat Cake. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Helen Hopcroft ahead of a fundraiser event in July for Maitland Regional Museum called Let Them Eat Cake. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette visiting the Versailles exhibition at the National Gallery of on Friday, March 16

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette doing a cross fit class in Thornton. Picture: Simone De Peak

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette doing a cross fit class in Thornton. Picture: Simone De Peak

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette doing a cross fit class in Thornton. Picture: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebookMy Year as a Fairy Taleproject on May 1 –a year dressed as lastQueen of Francebefore theFrench Revolution, who the phrase “let them eat cake” has been famously attributed to.

Despite the hot days ahead, Ms Hopcroft is committed to her craft, with the aim of using the costume to promoteMaitland as a creative city. It seems to be working.

“There’s certainly been a number of creative projects pop up this year,” she said.

Theartist-run Inside Out exhibition currently on displayat Rutherford and East Maitland Libraries, cafe poetryprogram Verses, portable puppet showFrank’s Fantastic Fairy Tale Theatre which will feature in The Levee next year and an upcoming micro-film festival areseveral examples of Maitland’s thriving cultural scene she mentioned.

“I’m not going to take the credit, but I hope I’ve been a little bit ofa catalyst,” she said.

The year has come with challenges though –Ms Hopcroft has had to attenda funeral and visit the GP all in 18thCentury attire.

Helen Hopcroft dressed as Marie Antoinette doing a cross fit class in Thornton. Picture: Simone De Peak

“It means you’re late for everything,” she said. “There are days you just do not want to do the supermarket run.

“School things are interesting –I promised my daughter I’d never wear the wig to school. Luckily I haven’t been pulled over for speeding yet.

“Any sort of responsibleadult thing, it naturally sends it straight towards comedy. It’s absolutely ridiculous and that’s the whole concept.”

It is worth it though for Ms Hopcroft, who wants to see a purpose built space for the city’s regional museum as well as a centrally located art space in Maitland before her year as Marie Antoinette is finished.

“If either one of those happens, I think it’s a year well spent,” she said. “The arts are important,you’ve got to fight for them.”

Ms Hopcroft also said the experience had allowed her to build resilience.

“I’m excited to see what happens –the shift in the psyche. How does that change you?

“It toughens you up. I feel like I’m capable of anything.”

Passers-by have also generally been supportive and joined in the fun.

“I’ve been bowed and curtsied to a lot,” she said.

“The reactions range from playful engagement to absolute terror.

“But most people know I’m genuinelytrying to do something to help Maitland along. I’m trying to get stuff to happen here.”

Ms Hopcroft hosts a monthly event for local creatives called Creative Coffee. The next one will take placeat The Hunter Artisan Gallery & Cafe on Monday.




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