Adelaide Cabaret Festival Starts Tonight

Get set for an avalanche of powerhouse performances, sublime storytelling and gritty glamour as the world’s biggest and best cabaret festival kicks off tonight with The House is Live at Thebarton Theatre.

For the next 16 days and nights, more than 380 artists in 245 performances will dazzle and delight audiences as they explore alluring new venues at Adelaide Festival Centre’s 2019 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

Showcasing classic and contemporary cabaret, the festival features 17 Adelaide exclusives, 17 Adelaide premieres and 7 national premieres by Australian and international artists from as far afield as Germany, Sweden, USA, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK.

In her debut as Artistic Director, Julia Zemiro is ready to get the party started and see the 2019 program come to life:

“It’s been eight months of hard work with an incredible team and we are ready to kick it all off on opening night. With three new venues coming to life – The Famous Spiegeltent, The Blue Room and Thebarton Theatre – I can’t wait for audiences to experience the glitz and the grit of everything cabaret can be. Escape to be seen mes amis! I encourage old and new audiences alike to step outside of their comfort zones and see something different. Take a chance. We promise it will be warm, inviting and there WILL be champagne!”

Breathing new life into the festival, this year’s opening night event – The House is Live – features cabaret favourites Meow Meow, Paul Capsis, Reuben Kaye, Mitchell Butel and Queenie van de Zandt alongside emerging cabaret stars including lead singer of Saskwatch, Nkechi Anele, award-winning rapper, poet and author Omar Musa and jazz chanteuse Alma Zygier.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM says it’s shaping up to be a fabulous festival:

“South Australia’s favourite winter festival is back and better than ever with a program that celebrates the festival’s 19-year-old history and delivers creative new acts. Headliners including German chanteuse Ute Lemper and David Campbell are sure to entertain our loyal audiences. It’s a wonderful time of year to get out and enjoy some world class entertainment right here in Adelaide”

Already a hit with ticket-buyers, the new late-night club – The 11 O’Clock Number – will light up The Famous Spiegeltent, specially constructed above Adelaide Festival Centre’s terrace. Featuring a different cabaret star each weekend, including International superstar Hans, Julia Zemiro as Eurobeat character Bronya and vaudevillian duo Hot Gin Punch, the club kicks off at 11pm with a DJ and dancing until 2am.

In an Australian and festival first, award-winning immersive show The Swell Mob from the UK will transport audiences into an historical epoch and perform throughout the entirety of the festival.

In a special tribute to Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s founding father, Frank Ford the first Frank Ford Commissioning Award sees Amelia Ryan and Libby O’Donovan perform Unsung – telling the stories of female singers of the 1960s. The award provides $20,000 a year towards the creation of new works by South Australian artists and will continue to help mentor and nurture emerging cabaret talent for years to come.

Celebrating its 10th Anniversary, the Class of Cabaret program returns to shine a light on the cabaret stars of tomorrow.

Free events include the LGBTI+ Elders Dance Club by All the Queens Men, held on the Queen’s Birthday. LGBTI+ elders and their allies are invited to an afternoon social at The Famous Spiegeltent. The QBE Cabaret Lounge in Festival Theatre foyer is the place to unwind, home to the Pol Roger Bar and free roving performances. Festival favourite Trevor Jones returns to the Quartet Bar, and a new talk series over three weekends explores the life of a cabaret artist, politics in cabaret, and storytelling.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2019 opens on June 7 and runs until June 22.

More info and tickets at

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