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Adelaide Cabaret Festival Goes All Out With The Brightest Program Ever, Unveiled Today Celebrating Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th Anniversary

Monday, 27 March 2023

Adelaide Cabaret Festival has gone all out, with the biggest and brightest performers announced today, as Adelaides favourite winter festival gets set to sizzle when it celebrates Adelaide Festival Centres 50th Anniversary in June.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival presents its 23rd program, featuring 342 artists and musicians across 91 performances including 13 world premieres and 20 Adelaide premieres by a large contingent of Australian artists and performers from the USA, United Kingdom, and France. 

Curated by an all-star line-up of nine previous Artistic Directors, The Cabaret Collective - Julia Holt, David Campbell and Lisa Campbell, Kate Ceberano, Eddie Perfect, Ali McGregor, Julia Zemiro, Alan Cumming and Tina Arena - each has brought their own flair to the program, bringing back some cabaret classics and presenting new and emerging artists. Many will perform at the already sold-out opening night The 2023 Variety Gala, and some have their very own shows as part of the stellar line-up, on sale today.

Among this years highlights:

Julia Zemiro and Brian Nankervis bring back RocKwiz this time the wiz salutes Adelaide and celebrates incredible South Australian musicians, from Cold Chisel and Paul Kelly to Sia and Hilltop Hoods, on the second weekend of the festival, June 17 at Festival Theatre.

 Returning to Adelaide Cabaret Festival for the first time in a decade, direct from the US, internationally acclaimed cabaret great Mark Nadler will perform two shows. The charismatic New Yorker will take to the stage with Hootenanny and The Old Razzle Dazzle, both on the second weekend of the festival.

Other international acts include Grammy Award winning chanteuse Rizo, whose show Prizmatism makes its Australian premiere in the final weekend and stage legend and social media sensation, Broadway Barbara who boasts almost half a million followers makes her Australian debut on the festivals first weekend. Following sold-out UK tours, Sarah-Louise Young brings her show, An Evening Without Kate Bush, to Australia for the first time and pays homage to the music, majesty, and mythology of one of the most influential voices in British music.

In an Australian premiere, Ali McGregor, who shares her golden 50th year with Adelaide Festival Centre, brings her brand-new show to the cabaret stage, Fools Gold. Performing new arrangements of her old favourites with a six-piece band on June 10 at Dunstan Playhouse.

One of Australias most prolific writers and composers, Eddie Perfect (Shane Warne: The Musical, Beetlejuice) brings a new program to the stage - The Blank Page with Eddie Perfect. Perfect will be joined by incredible composers and lyricists from the cabaret and musical theatre worlds, giving audiences an exclusive glimpse of the entire creative process from page to stage.

Singer, writer and performer, Ursula Yovich is not to be missed in her show, An Evening with Ursula Yovich, where she explores culture and connection through story and song in a moving love letter to language and taking inspiration from her Arnhem Land roots and tri-lingual childhood household.

Cabaret fans can delight in the return of favourites Paul Capsis in Dry My Tears his first ever acoustic show, while diva Mama Alto will perform a stunning hour of vaudeville delights in Follies Girl. And audiences can meet the man behind Bob Downe as Mark Trevorrow steps on stage as himself in Singing Straight.

South Australian cabaret stars featured this year include the legendary Robyn Archer presenting An Australian Songbook, spanning 150 years of Australian voices from rock, folk, country, and musical theatre. Adelaide Cabaret Festival Icon Award 2022 winner Libby ODonovan joins renowned jazz vocalist Michelle Nicolle and The Yankalilla Miracles to belt out hit songs from the 60s to the 90s in More Than A Melody. Helpmann Award winner Michael Griffiths gets personal in the world premiere of Its A Sin - Songs of Love and Shame in Space Theatre, and fresh from Ru Pauls Drag Race Down Under, Kween Kong takes to the Dunstan Playhouse stage in a variety extravaganza celebrating the best of drag, burlesque, circus, and cabaret.

This years Frank Ford Commission is Brag Drunch - an immersive dining and performance experience looking at the intersection of queer history and food featuring a spread of South Australian drag artists. The award by Adelaide Cabaret Festivals late founding father, provides $20,000 a year towards the creation of new works by South Australian artists.

Jazz lovers are in for a treat with a new festival exclusive show hand-picked by Kate Ceberano, where ARIA Award Winner Vince Jones performs the much-loved songs from the ABC television series Come In Spinner soundtrack, which became the highest-selling Australian jazz album of all time, accompanied by a 17-piece big band and special guest Nina Ferro.

Making her Adelaide Cabaret Festival debut, Nancy Denis will present Map Boulè, exploring her Haitian heritage and stories of her ancestors revolting against their colonisers in a riveting and raw show combining storytelling, theatre, poetry, and song.

And direct from Paris, in an Australian exclusive, world-famous French cabaret act, Paris Combo will perform their show A Celebration of Songs of Belle Du Berry in tribute to their late charismatic chanteuse and songwriter.

Heres what The Cabaret Collective have to say:

Julia Holt: It is my most incredible privilege and honour to be part of the 23rd Adelaide Cabaret Festival, standing alongside the collective of previous Artistic Directors and the amazing festival as well as performers, crew, staff and supporters. Here we are in 2023, reviewing the past and looking to the future and perhaps most importantly though, we are celebrating the present. Where we can, once again, be out together dancing cheek to cheek.

David and Lisa Campbell: Our time at Adelaide Cabaret Festival is a career highlight for us both. There is nothing more thrilling as an Artistic Director than walking around the festival talking to people about what they had just seen and hearing their immediate reaction. We have loved seeing the festival grow over the years and cannot wait to see this brilliant program come to life and catch up with those familiar faces!

Kate Ceberano: Cabaret is incredibly inventive and almost beyond description. The audience experience can be as big or as small as the artist intends it to be on their terms, in their words, in their safe place offering their heart and soul. I can't wait to perform My Life Is A Symphony with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra at Festival Theatre, reconnecting through music with Adelaide audiences at this fabulous festival!"

Eddie Perfect: My cabaret heart has always been obsessed with the creation and development of new works and new songs for the stage and my picks in this years program largely focus on that. Adelaide Cabaret Festival has been instrumental in my development as a composer and lyricist, so Im excited to provide those opportunities to the next generation of original Australian writers. We have an opportunity through this world-leading festival to create bold, intelligent, and unique works for the stage and its time that Australias composers and lyricists found their way to a global stage.

Ali McGregor: Australians do cabaret well. Theatre has branches that take you to both familiar and unimaginable places and Adelaide Cabaret Festival is The Magic Faraway Tree of festivals. The artists I chose this year I consider some of the best the world has to offer. They are true cabaret artists and have powerful voices with something to say.

Alan Cumming: When I was asked to be Artistic Director of Adelaide Cabaret Festival, I thought long and hard about the form of cabaret itself, and I really tried to present a programme that showed the true variety of possibilities the cabaret form encompasses. And with that in mind this year I am bringing back two shows that are different every night! Bojana Novakovic's Blind Date Project, a fusion of theatre, comedy, karaoke, and improv, and Adelaide Tonight, which is an intergenerational variety feast! Alas I can't make it to Adelaide to celebrate in person, but I hope you enjoy gorging on both these shows.

Julia Zemiro: Being Artistic Director of Adelaide Cabaret Festival was a thrilling challenge and I sought to bring more improv, politics, and immersive shows alongside the brilliant music. I will be bringing back RockWiz with a brand-new salute to Adelaide and the LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club by All the Queens Men. Cabaret is a place of community and joy and the dance club did this so beautifully in 2019, celebrating diversity with a cup of tea in an afternoon disco. Heaven. See you soon mes amis.

Tina Arena: I learned so much during my tenure as AD and delighted in exploring the hearts and minds of the Australian cultural landscape. Unfortunately, other projects prevent me from being in Adelaide in June, but Ive chosen two shows that present the spontaneity and story-telling spirit of cabaret, THNDOs The Reintroduction and Reuben Kayes enGORGEd. Last year we promised to Lead You Astray. May the path be long and winding.

With more free events than ever before, audiences can hear from some of our Cabaret Collective in Artistic Directors in Conversation with Julia Holt in The Quartet Bar on Saturday, June 10 and those who love a singalong can join Carols Cabaret Choir where audiences will belt out tearjerking torch songs led by Adelaide's favourite community choir conductor and renowned musical director, Carol Young.

Festival favourite Dr Trevor Jones The Piano Man is back at the Festival Theatre foyer Quartet Bar nightly, plus will host a brand-new Show Tunes Trivia night on Thursday, June 15. And the Corryton Burge Bar and Cabaret Lounge return as the perfect places for patrons to settle into a quiet corner or keep the party going between shows.

The popular LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club by All The Queens Men, the fabulous afternoon tea dance party for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse and intersex elders and all allies, will be held at The Quartet Bar on June 17.

The Hon Andrea Michaels MP, South Australian Minister for Arts: Theres so much to look forward to at this years Adelaide Cabaret Festival - a wonderful time of year when Adelaide takes centre stage, and we see cabaret lovers and performers from all over the world flock to our state. Im thrilled to see previous artistic directors return to this years Adelaide Cabaret Festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary milestone of Adelaide Festival Centre, demonstrating that art is a powerful way of connecting with each other and the world.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival Executive Producer Alex Sinclair: Working alongside the collective of Artistic Directors has been an incredible exercise in creativity and collaboration and shows the passion so many artists and audiences have for Adelaide Cabaret Festival. This years program brings together some old favourites and new beginnings that speak to the legacy of past festivals and hopes for its future. This is an historic collaboration in honour of a very special 50th Birthday celebration at Adelaide Festival Centre and we hope audiences, new and long-standing, can join the party.

Partygoers can revel in the atmosphere of this years late-night line-up, which will be hosted by a different artist each week and feature guest performers and impromptu performances. Who knows who might appear on stage each night?

The inspiring Class of Cabaret program, introduced to the festival by David and Lisa Campbell, returns to shine a light on the cabaret stars of tomorrow, proudly supported by Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation through the Nathaniel OBrien Scholarship, which supports one student from regional South Australia to participate in the program.

Produced and presented by Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Cabaret Festival has grown from modest beginnings in 2001 to become Australias major winter festival and the largest cabaret festival in the world. The festival has been a platform for shows and performers who have achieved critical acclaim and featured world-renowned artists including Ms Lisa FischerKristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Dita Von Teese and Patti LuPone to name a few.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2023 opens on June 9 and runs until June 24.

Tickets on sale March 27 from 10am at

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