Cabaret Festival

Adelaide Cabaret Festival ends on high note while gearing up for special anniversary program in 2023

Here’s some of the highlights from this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival, plus news about a special program coming in 2023.

Bernie Dieter – Photo by Claudio Raschella

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 finished on a high last night with a sold-out performance of Tina Arena’s headline show, Songs My Mother Taught Me, and will soon announce a special program for 2023, alongside Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th Anniversary.

This year, the world’s largest cabaret festival featured 32 shows and 86 performances over 12 decadent days and nights and almost 40,000 attendances at ticketed and free events across six venues, including Her Majesty’s Theatre and The Famous Spiegeltent, located on Festival Plaza.

Led by international star and Australian icon Tina Arena AM, the festival program showcased 14 World Premieres, 2 Australian Premieres, 14 Adelaide Premieres and countless standing ovations throughout. Songs My Mother Taught Me, featuring Tina Arena, Wendy Matthews, LiorThandoJess Hitchcock, and Sophie Koh wrapped up the festival with sold out performances at Her Majesty’s Theatre on Friday and Saturday nights.

An exciting announcement about next year’s Artistic Director will be made in November and will coincide with Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th Anniversary, which will be celebrated during Adelaide Cabaret Festival in June next year.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 Artistic Director Tina Arena said “This year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival has been a smorgasbord of fun and frivolity mixed with some touching and memorable performances shared with cabaret audiences. It has been a privilege to take on this role and see the artform of cabaret connect with people through the power of music, song, storytelling, dancing, and shared laughter.

“Thank you to our dedicated artists and audiences for your support and love, I have felt nothing but welcome by you all and have reveled in being part of this festival and its rich history, which will undoubtedly continue to highlight the best cabaret from across the world. I look forward to seeing what’s in store for 2023, which is sure to be another stellar event.”

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM echoed the sentiments, saying “We thank Tina Arena for her artistic vision in bringing this year’s festival to life and to cabaret staff and team who go above and beyond to deliver this internationally recognised festival for our loyal audiences.

“Adelaide Cabaret Festival has been the highlight of South Australia’s winter arts scene for 22 years and we look forward to celebrating with gusto next year as we mark Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th Birthday!”

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 highlights included:

  • South Australian cabaret favourites Amelia RyanMichaela Burger and Michael Griffiths celebrated the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll, sexual revolution and the leaps and bounds of women’s liberation in Simply Brill – The Women Who Defined Rock ‘n’ Roll, officially opening the festival and performing to sold out audiences on opening weekend.
  • US swing band Davina & The Vagabonds brought the house down in The Famous Spiegeltent in their Australian premiere.
  • Cabaret favourite Reuben Kaye hosted the The Piña Colada Room and performed at his sold out show Live & Intimate.
  • The Gospel According to Marcia featuring Marcia Hines and accompanied by Adelaide’s own Charmaine Jones & The Gospo Collective, had audiences rejoicing at Her Majesty’s Theatre on the second weekend.
  • Bringing her Italian heritage to the program, audiences connected with Tina Arena on a personal level, as well as special guests LiorThe Voice 2022 finalist ThandoJess HitchcockWendy Matthews and Sophie Koh, who celebrated their culture, legacy and family in the touching show Songs My Mother Taught Me. 
  • South Australian artists KukoKatie Aspel and Rob Edwards entertained audiences in a special Adelaide Premiere where First Nations regional musicians and performers presented a mix of blues, jazz soul and folk in an evening of remarkable sound and story-telling in the show T.R.A.I.L.
  • A brand-new event, Cabaret Life Drawing – saw audiences become artists and create charcoal drawings of a live model while sipping on wine and being entertained with live music in The Famous Spiegeltent.
  • LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club by All The Queens Men proved popular for a third year – a fabulous free afternoon tea dance party for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse and intersex elders and all allies in The Famous Spiegeltent.
  • Victoria Falconer made her festival debut in And Then You Go – The Vali Myers Project, harnessing the flame haired-bohemian figure and visionary artist. The show was this year’s Frank Ford Commissioning Award recipient – the award by Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s late founding father provides $20,000 a year towards the creation of new works by South Australian artists.
  • Musical Theatre fans were delighted with Moments in the Woods – Songs & Stories of Sondheim which paid tribute to the genius and legacy of musical theatre’s most ground-breaking composer, Stephen Sondheim, featuring Philip QuastGeraldine TurnerQueenie van de ZandtJosie Lane and Adelaide’s own Mitchell Butel who performed to an enthusiastic standing ovation.
  • Festival favourite Trevor Jones – The Piano Man entertained audiences every night of the festival and had patrons singing along to song requests and show tunes.

Produced and presented by Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Cabaret Festival has grown from modest beginnings in 2001 to become Australia’s major winter festival and the largest cabaret festival in the world. Previous Artistic Directors of the festival include Julia HoltDavid CampbellKate CeberanoBarry HumphriesEddie PerfectAli McGregorJulia Zemiro and most recently, Alan Cumming.  

The festival has been a platform for shows and performers who have achieved critical acclaim and featured world-renowned artists including Ms Lisa FischerKristen ChenowethIdina MenzelDita Von TeeseTim Minchin, and Patti Lupone to name a few.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2023 Artistic Director and dates will be announced soon – updates at: adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au

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