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The Frank Ford Commission

Starting in 2019, the Frank Ford Commission will provide $20,000 each year for 10 years, toward the commissioning of new work from a South Australian cabaret artist or group.

2016 Frank Ford

Frank Ford (18 Mar 1935 - 27 Sep 2018) was the godfather of cabaret; his dedication and passion was whole-hearted and unwavering.

He was a champion of artists, a mentor to several generations of Adelaide artists and creatives, and an active writer and director.

Sadly, Frank Ford passed away in 2018, a loss felt across the entire Adelaide arts community. To ensure his passion for supporting new work by local artists continued, he bequeathed a generous, long lasting legacy to his beloved SA arts community. Starting in 2019, the Frank Ford Commission will provide $20,000 each year for 10 years, toward the commissioning of new work from a South Australian cabaret artist or group.

 Applications for the 2024 Frank Ford Commission are now closed and applications for 2025 will open in July 2024.


  • July - October: Expression of Interest open. Application via JotForm on Adelaide Cabaret Festival website
  • November: All applicants notified, shortlisted projects requested to provide development budget, presentation budget, full artistic scope details, project timeline
  • December: Commission awarded, and all shortlisted projects advised of outcome
  • December– June: Contracting and development phase (as detailed in timeline provided)
  • June: Presentation at Adelaide Cabaret Festival. Schedule TBD but will fall within festival dates

Artist to provide:

Once expressions of interests close, shortlisted applicants will be contacted and asked to provide the following:

  • Detailed artistic scope for the work including synopsis, bios of key creatives
  • Detailed development and production budgets
  • Timeline for development and production
  • Images for marketing and promotion
  • Negotiation and confirmation of cast and associated practitioners
  • All rights clearances, consent and permissions associated with content
  • Technical rider
  • Commissioning Credit for all future presentations as well as payment of royalty of 3% of Net Box Office Revenue (NBO) from all future presentations of the Production for a duration of two (2) years from the conclusion of the first presentation.

Festival to provide:

  • $20,000 in Commissioning fee
  • Additional support across presenting cost (as agreed by both parties)
  • Contracting for associated practitioners (Director, Musical Director, local musicians)
  • Venue for development and general rehearsal (where available)
  • Up to 7 hour bump in, set up & technical rehearsal in venue before the performance as required
  • All required production costs – incl technical engineers/operators, sound & lighting equipment etc
  • All required backline and technical equipment (agreed upon by both parties)
  • APRA Licence fees
  • Marketing and promotion of the work as part of Adelaide Cabaret Festival including in festival brochure, website, social media and through festival PR team
  • Printed handbill for performances to showcase the key creatives and the work developed under the Commission
  • Up to 6 complimentary tickets for each performance
  • Still and moving image assets of the work as presented at the festival
  • Ongoing support to promote and sell the show to national and international markets and venues

If interstate parties are required and agreed to in advance, the festival may also cover Travel and accommodation (where applicable).

Past Frank Ford Commissions

Expand 17 06 2023 Brag Drunch Space Theatre Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2023 Photo Credit Cassie Ackerman

Image: Brag Drunch by Post Dining, 2023

"The Frank Ford Commission was pivotal in developing and launching our food/drag/cabaret concept: Brag Drunch. The support provided by the commission alongside the venue, technical and production assistance provided by the Festival Centre and the Cabaret Festival team made for a truly enjoyable experience. Rarely are independent artists given the opportunity to focus so singularly on new experimental work, let alone trial this work as part of such a fantastic program. We can’t wait to see where Brag Drunch goes from here and tribute this ongoing potential to the support of the Frank Ford Commission."

- Post Dining, 2023 Commission

Expand And Then You Go Vali Myers ACF22 SPACE Claudio Raschella

Image: And Then You Go - The Vali Myers Project, 2022, Claudio Raschella

“Receiving the Frank Ford Commission this year allowed me to bring a project to life that I had been dreaming about for a decade. Vali Myers is perhaps one of the most underrated figures in Australian art history, and I wanted to find a way to tell her story in a way that enraptures an audience, honours her immense legacy, and highlights the brilliant talents of the performers involved.

With the funds I received, I was able to bring nine performers and musicians (including myself) together to devise, rehearse and debut the first iteration And Then You Go (The Vali Myers Project). The support of the commission, as well as Adelaide Cabaret Festival team’s commitment to the ambitious vision of the show and its ongoing journey, is immeasurable.

One particular highlight is that Vali Myers’ own family - her sister, a number of nephews and nieces, and some great-nieces - all flew in from various places around Australia to be in the audience for the first show. They had heard about it, had got in touch, and were excited to see the outcome. Fortunately, they were absolutely blown away by the show, and have been very enthusiastic in supporting future productions in any way that they can. Similarly, Ruth Cullen who runs the Vali Myers Trust also came to the show, and expressed the same sentiment. To receive such a positive endorsement from people who knew Vali so personally, people who are connected by blood and invested so deeply in her reputation and legacy, felt like a significant achievement. It is one of many reasons to continue the journey of this project, and to bring the show to further audiences in the future.

Both Frank Ford and Vali Myers were committed to living so authentically, without compromise, and with such commitment to artistic expression, as supporter and as creator. It feels very fitting to have given Vali’s story its first outing on the live stage with Frank’s support.”

- Victoria Falconer, 2022 Commission

Expand Acf ern 1200x627

Image: Max Savage - ERN: Australia's Greatest Hoax, 2021

"The Frank Ford Commission has been the most unbelievable opportunity. I never had the honour of meeting Frank, but as we load our show into the labyrinthine bowels of the Adelaide Festival Centre, he's been on my mind. I wonder what he'd make of the show and all this. I sincerely hope we do his legacy proud."

– Max Savage, 2021 Commission 

Expand Hero 1 Unsung ACF19 454842

Image: Amelia Ryan & Libby O’Donovan - UNSUNG, 2019

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