They are now well into their fourth decade, are the oldest gay social club in the country and the second oldest in the world.
The Pollys Club celebrates its 43rd birthday this Saturday with celebrations at the UNSW Roundhouse, and according to showgirl Sue-Ellen, that’s worth kicking up a heel and raising a glass of bubbles.
“The club is ageless and it is a real cross section of every sphere of the gay community,” she said. “We have young people, middle-aged and older people, and they are all there having a good time.
“We like to think we make people feel welcome and we include them. The package of the dance and the show has not really changed much since 1964 because it continues to work and people seem to like it like that.”
The Pollys birthday parties at The Roundhouse have become a community red-letter day in recent years, attracting up to 800 people. The regular bi-monthly dances at Marrickville also attract strong crowds.
Sue-Ellen, who has been a Pollys member since 1981, is the producer of this weekend’s show, That’s Glamour.
The show will feature a range of production numbers and diva anthems, and also include a catwalk parade of community divas like Maxine Du Barry and Marcia Monterey.
“One of the reasons why our shows continue to be popular is because we have never taken ourselves too seriously – we are the first to laugh at ourselves,” Sue-Ellen said. “People are light and it lightens up the mood of the night. If you can’t laugh at yourself and what we do, then you are in real trouble.”
The Pollys has gone through a revival since its 40th birthday, with a large influx of new members. Sue-Ellen recalls the club faced a very different scenario only 10 years ago.
“I really thought we were going to have to shut down as numbers had dropped off so dramatically – things were not good,” she said. “But we now have a new group of members who are all so involved and have put new life back into this group. It is so encouraging. It seems to go in circles, and we are in a very good circle at the moment.”
The Pollys That’s Glamour is on Saturday, 7 July from 7pm at The Roundhouse, UNSW. Details at www.thepollysclub.com.au