Cabaret Festival

Stay and play, with our ultimate guide to Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2024

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival is back! Not sure where to start? Here is our ultimate guide.

Photo credit: Naomi Jellicoe

If you’ve never been to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, this dazzling event is one to clear the calendar for, not only because of its array of stunning hand-selected shows and artists, but because of the LIFE that surrounds the entire thing.

It’s a party that goes for 16 days, where you can enjoy grand stage shows; immerse yourself in bar-side, piano sing-a-longs; or tuck yourself away in a room filled with tiny cabaret tables, cheese boards and bottles of wine, while you are transported to New York cabaret bars.

The diversity of the talent is incredible, but it’s the experience that brings the whole festival to life. And it’s all been curated by the Cabaret Festival’s Artistic Director Virginia Gay.

When we sat down with the vibrant performer, Gay shared “The thing that I love about cabaret and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is its tonality, and I wanted to turn up the volume on its mischief, wits, sex, sass, and community celebration. That’s what is exciting to me about this art form. That’s the stuff that gets me really electric. Like those people who are godlike performers who you would just follow into fire – that’s the stuff where I’m like, whoa, that’s cabaret.

“So when I’m talking about shows like Reuben Kaye’s late night show or Victoria Falconer’s late night show and Mark Nadler on the first weekend, they will be curated by that godlike force. But they will be bringing in moments and things that you will not see anywhere else in the festival, collaborations that happen basically right in front of your eyes. And if you miss them, you miss them. And that’s the glory of live performance.”

Now there’s plenty on offer at this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival, with epic shows, free entertainment, great food and drinks, places to kick back and relax, and some pretty amazing premium packages. And we have the low down on it all.

So whether you’re an experienced festival-goer, or new to the scene, there’s a few things you’ll want to know about before booking your shows, and planning your night. My one tip though, is to make the most of your night. Leave time before your show, between shows, and after your last show, to truly immerse yourself in the experience, and understand the joy that the Adelaide Cabaret Festival brings to Winter in SA.

Must See Shows


Dive into the enchanting world of Patti LuPone as she takes you on a musical journey through her extraordinary life. This three-time Tony Award winner brings you songs that span from her youth in the fifties to her rise to stardom. It’s a nostalgic trip down memory lane that you won’t want to miss.


Celebrate the incredible legacy of Olivia Newton-John with Australia’s brightest musical talents and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Featuring David Campbell and other stars, this concert will have you singing along to favourites from Grease, Xanadu, and more. It’s a joyous tribute that captures the magic of Olivia’s music.


Get ready for a suave, slick, and swoon-worthy night with Australia’s kings of swing. Luke Kennedy, Matt Lee, Ben Mingay, and new member Bert LaBonté celebrate a decade on stage with a show that’s packed with sharp wit, even sharper suits, and unforgettable tunes. This is the ultimate swing experience.


Join Dame Lisa Simone as she honours her legendary mother, Nina Simone, with a powerful performance of timeless classics like “I Put a Spell on You” and “Feelin’ Good.” Accompanied by an All-Star Big Band, this show promises to be an unforgettable tribute to the great Dr. Nina Simone.

Check out the full Adelaide Cabaret Festival program here.

Our Top Picks


Join Michelle Pearson in her bold and empowering show “Skinny,” where she challenges societal norms around body image. Through a mix of pop, power ballads, and comedy, Michelle encourages us to embrace our bodies and reject the pressures of being ‘skinny.’ This Frank Ford Commission recipient is a must-see for anyone looking to break free from societal constraints.

Chat 10 Looks 3 Live

Celebrate ten years of the beloved podcast with Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales in this special live show. Featuring cabaret stars and Artistic Director Virginia Gay, the night promises lots of laughs, quirky stories, and pure entertainment. It’s a delightful evening you won’t want to miss.

Christina Bianco: In Divine Company

Experience the incredible talents of Christina Bianco as she brings iconic divas to life with her spot-on impressions and powerful vocals. From Dion to Bassey, this fresh-from-London show is a high-energy, dynamic performance that will leave you in awe. A must-see for fans of great music and impressive mimicry.

Flo & Joan, Now Playing

Get ready for a night of sharp-tongued, self-deprecating humor with the singing sisters Flo & Joan. Known for their appearances on Live at the Apollo and their Amazon Prime special, they bring their seriously funny songs and distinctively deadpan charm to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Be prepared to be humming their tunes long after the show ends.

Gillian Cosgriff – Actually, Good

Don’t miss Gillian Cosgriff’s award-winning show “Actually, Good,” a brilliant hour of hilarious original songs and killer stand-up. Inspired by the simple joys of life, Gillian explores the little things that make the big, hard things manageable. From fancy hotel foyers to shouting “COW!” at a cow, this show will have you shouting, “WOW! Isn’t this GREAT?!”

Check out the full Adelaide Cabaret Festival program here.

Free Events

There’s nothing that makes your heart sing with job, quite like the lure of free events so you can channel your budget into fabulous bottles of champagne and cheese platters (or is that just us?). Here’s some thoroughly entertaining shows, that you can enjoy gratis.

Dr Trevor Jones – Piano Man

You really haven’t experienced the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, until you’ve spent some quality time with festival institution Dr. Trevor Jones. He’s returning for his nightly Piano Man extravaganza, and to quote ourselves, Dr. Jones is “A crowd favourite at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.” Join him behind the grand piano as he shares the spotlight with surprise guests and takes special requests from the audience. Whether you drop in for a quick drink or stay all night with cocktails, Dr. Jones will have you singing along and feeling festival vibes.

Libby O’Donovan – Big Gay Sing

Let Libby O’Donovan OAM fill your heart with joy and laughter at the Big Gay Sing. This icon transforms the Quartet Bar into a lively hub of spontaneous sing-a-longs, laughter, and surprise guests. Libby is known for her nuanced interpretations and extraordinary voice, and just the right smattering of humour to keep audiences on their toes. As the recipient of the 2022 Cabaret Icon Award, and a critically acclaimed Jazz and Cabaret performer, you easily find yourself not wanting to leave!

LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club

Experience the kindest, most inclusive dance event in the queer calendar with the LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club. Brought to you by All The Queens Men, this festival favourite brings people of all ages together on the dance floor. No dance experience is necessary, and free tea and coffee are provided by the Office for Ageing Well and Seniors Card. Join this intergenerational celebration that will spark joy in your soul.

Find all the details on the free events here.

Food and Drinks

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again. The best way to enjoy the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is to settle in for the night, and make the most of everything that’s on offer! So once you’ve booked your shows, and enjoyed some of the free entertainment, make sure you leave some time to wine and dine your way around the precinct. There’s a great variety of food and drink options available before, between, and after performances. Here are some top spots to check out:

The Star: Kitchen and Bar

Located adjacent to Festival Theatre, perfect for a sit-down dinner.

Woodside Cheese Platter

Share a delicious cheese platter with friends while you catch up.

Lexus Lounge

Enjoy a luxurious new experience with premium drinks.

Quartet Bar by Corryton Burge

This festival favourite returns, pairing your choice of wine with a great vibe.

Artspace Bar

A brand new, cosy hub offering winter warmers and delicious drinks.

Adelaide Gin Pop-up Bar

Located in the Artspace Bar, perfect for gin enthusiasts.

 For all the details, head to

Premium Packages

Hand-Picked Show Packages by Virginia Gay

Get ready for an unforgettable experience at this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival with these expertly curated show packages by Artistic Director Virginia Gay. With so many fantastic shows to choose from, our ‘Premium Packages’ make planning your festival adventure a breeze.

Three Shows, One Fantastic Evening

Each package includes three specially selected shows happening on the same day. Best of all, they’ve made sure there’s enough time between venues so you can relax, enjoy a drink, and catch up with friends. Plus, every package comes with a drink voucher (available at the Adelaide Festival Centre Box Office).

  • 6pm – Christie Whelan Browne – Life in Plastic
  • 9pm – A Slightly Isolated Dog – Jekyll & Hyde
  • 10.15pm – Mark Nadler – Hootenanny
  • 5pm – Gillian Cosgriff – Actually, Good
  • 8pm – Kate Miller-Heidke – Catching Diamonds
  • 10.15pm – Mark Nadler – Hootenanny

Friday 14 June

  • 7pm – Musical Bang Bang
  • 9pm – Mel & Sam – The Best Of
  • 10.15pm – Victoria Falconer – The Parlour

Saturday 15 June

  • 3pm – Catherine Alcorn – The Divine Miss Bette
  • 6pm – Michelle Pearson – Skinny
  • 8pm – Swing on This – 10th Anniversary

Sunday 16 June

  • 3pm – Jennifer Byrne – Between the Covers
  • 4.30pm – Maeve Marsden – Homage
  • 6pm – Michelle Pearson – Skinny
  • 6.30pm – Comedians On Stage Auditioning for Musicals
  • 8pm – Christina Bianco – In Divine Company
  • 10.15pm – Reuben Kaye – The End
  • 6.30pm – Comedians On Stage Auditioning for Musicals
  • 8pm – Imogen Kelly – Bent Burlesque
  • 10.15pm – Reuben Kaye – The End

 To book, head to

In the true spirit of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, our best advice is just to stick around. With an incredible line up of ridiculously talented performers all immersing themselves in the festival, watching each others shows, popping up at the Quartet Bar and other venues around the Adelaide Festival Centre, you never know what might happen!

Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Friday 7th June — Saturday 22nd June, ’24
Adelaide Festival Centre & Her Majesty’s Theatre
Check out the full Adelaide Cabaret Festival program here.

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