The Adelaide Cabaret Festival returns for another stellar year

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival returns this year and is sure to be another magnificent show, but what makes it so important to have a whole festival dedicated to cabaret? (Image source: Francis Hills via Adelaide Cabaret Festival)

By Alexandra Bull | @ally_bull19

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival has been held annually since 2001, and has featured the likes of James Morrison, Phil Scott and Caroline O’Connor.

The festival has been a staple for supporters of the arts for over 20 years now, confirming South Australia is indeed the festival state.

It showcases cabaret  a form of theatrical entertainment featuring music, song, dance, recitation or drama mainly distinguished by the performance venue.

The festival was conceived by Adelaide arts pioneer and founder of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Frank Ford.

It is Australia’s major winter festival, and the largest cabaret festival in the world, with 48,000 attendees by its second year running.

The festival showcases everything from comedy to immersive, from intimate to nostalgic there is something for everyone on the program.

The biggest festival of its kind, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival continues to attract an array of incredible artists from around the world, and this year is no different.

Audiences are guaranteed spectacular evenings with performers such as Tim Minchin, Alan Cumming and Robyn Archer taking stage this year.

Cumming, who won a Tony Award for his Broadway performance in Cabaret in 1998, is this year’s artistic director, which is sure to mean the festival will be a showstopper.

But with the Fringe Festival held in February and March, what makes it so important to have a whole cabaret festival in June?

The Fringe and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival are two very different celebrations of the arts in South Australia and Australia alike.

While the Fringe spans for a month, in what is classified as Adelaide’s ‘Mad March’ season, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is a bit more exclusive, only lasting for two weeks, with many of the performing artists having only two shows.

With the arts being so heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, any opportunity for a city to hold something as incredible as the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is more than welcome, especially now that things are slowly starting to recover.

Jamila Main, one of the stars of this year’s L’ Hôtel, an immersive theatrical world of French intrigue, says that the Adelaide Cabaret Festival is a celebration of ecstasy and delight.

“It’s wonderful to see pumping theatres again in such a fraught time. We are so, so lucky,” Jamila said.

“As an actor based in SA, this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival has given me the chance to work on L’Hôtel, created and directed by Craig Ilot, alongside some of the most fabulous and skilled cabaret performers.”

“I love seeing the Festival Centre come alive beneath the fairy lights, to hear the excited voices of audiences as they move to the Spigeltent, and feel the hub abuzz,” Jamila said.

South Australia is the festival state, is it not? So why would we not have a cabaret festival, celebrating some of the very best performers that Australia (and the world, once upon a time) has to offer.

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival is being held from June 11-26, with show locations varying from the Dunstan Playhouse to the Quartet Bar. The full program is available to view here.

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