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Soak in this year's Adelaide Cabaret Festival with a star-studded opening at Adelaide Festival Centre tonight

Friday, 07 June 2024

Get ready to soak in the joyous and warm world of cabaret as the 24th Adelaide Cabaret Festival kicks off this weekend with a glittering red carpet opening night and the sold-out The 2024 Variety Gala at Festival Theatre tonight.

The world’s largest cabaret festival of its kind and Australia’s favourite winter festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival lights up Adelaide Festival Centre and the Riverbank Precinct until June 22.


Adelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Director Virginia Gay’s debut program showcases world-class singers and storytellers throughout 76 performances over 12 nights, including 16 world premieres and 22 Adelaide premieres by Australia’s best classic and contemporary cabaret acts and international artists from the USA, United Kingdom and New Zealand.


On opening weekend, audiences can look forward to Kate Miller-Heidke’s Catching Diamonds at Dunstan Playhouse. See Kate sparkle alongside collaborator Keir Nuttall in a riveting showcase of original hits, musical numbers, unexpected covers, and debut material from her forthcoming sixth studio album.


Award-winning cabaret artist Gillian Cosgriff returns to the festival this weekend, with her heartwarming and hilarious show, Actually, Good - winner of Most Outstanding Show at the 2023 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.


In a funk-soul frenzy, Australian blues-rock royalty Mahalia Barnes & The Soulmates will rip the lid off Adelaide Festival Centre’s Banquet Room on June 7 & 9. And in a sparkly celebration of sisterhood, Christie Whelan Browne presents a brand-new bubblegum pop cabaret, Life in Plastic on June 8.


International acts include iconic trio Fascinating Aïda, direct from the UK with their diamond-sharp satire, lyrical wit and belligerent sass in The 40th Anniversary Show, and a raucous and absurd take on Jekyll & Hyde from New Zealand’s A Slightly Isolated Dog.


Award-winning Australian actor, writer, and personality - Adelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Director Virginia Gay: “Adelaide Cabaret Festival, in all its sparkling joy, is known by audiences and stars the world over. As this year’s Artistic Director, I am thrilled to introduce our glorious audiences to an incredible array of talent – from the game-changing iconic acts, to the up and comers who I know you’re going to love. So, dress up, come along, and see some world class Australian acts and international stars.”


Next week classic cabaret fans will delight in the return of Australian musical theatre royalty, Rhonda Burchmore when she tells her Tall Tales of the rich and famous, from Presidents to Hollywood stars. While Australia’s leading kings of swing, Swing on This, will celebrate a decade on the stage with a new show that’s suave, slick and oh-so-swoon-worthy.


A celebration of the decades-long legacy of the late luminary, Dame Olivia Newton-John, will be presented in a special and heartfelt concert at Festival Theatre in Hopelessly Devoted featuring former Adelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Director David Campbell, Jess Hitchcock, Georgina Hopson and Christie Whelan Browne and hosted by Tottie Goldsmith who will pay special tribute to her aunty Olivia Newton-John, with the incredible power of Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.


In an Adelaide exclusive, world-class Indigenous singer Jess Hitchcock pays homage to the jazz, blues, opera and rock that have shaped her truly unique sound and genre-defying voice in A Fine Romance - Songs That Made Me. 


In the not to be missed show Homage, an incredible lineup featuring Kween Kong, Brendan Maclean, Mama Alto, Malaika Mfalme, Maeve Marsden and Victoria Falconer will perform a selection of the queer songs that shaped them from George Michael to Janelle Monàe for one show only on June 16.


Contemporary cabaret artists include multi-award-winning comedy duo, Mel & Sam, who will present the world premiere of their show The Best Of in a raucous, bratty and proudly queer performance. And storyteller, songwriter and performer Darby James will ask audiences to come aboard as he sets sail into the unchartered waters of sperm donation, in the award-winning show, Little Squirt.


In an in-development showcase commissioned by the festival, writer and performer Cassie Hamilton will present part of her latest work, A Transgender Woman on the Internet, Crying, colourfully colliding love, identity, and the power of the trans community in a techno pop joy explosion. Adelaide Cabaret Festival has proudly supported previous in-development works, including Gillian Cosgriff’s The Fig Tree last year as well as Eddie Perfect’s Shane Warne: The Musical and Yve Blake’s Fangirls, which have both gone on to great acclaim.


South Australia’s darling Annabel Crabb and her more-famous-but-from-Queensland colleague Leigh Sales will present a special cabaret edition of their popular podcast Chat 10 Looks 3 Live on the Festival Theatre stage, joined by the cream of the cabaret crop.


With their unique deadpan charm, the UK’s singing sisters Flo & Joan will make their festival debut with Now Playing and have audiences crying with laughter.


In a live theatre spectacular, Musical Bang Bang will see actor-comedians Jane Watt, Rob Johnson, former Adelaide Cabaret Festival Artistic Director Julia Zemiro and Tom Cardy come up with a brand-new musical every night, entirely on the spot… no two shows are the same.


In Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s third and final week, three-time Tony Award winning stage and screen icon Patti LuPone performs the Australian debut of her new concert, A LIFE IN NOTES at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Festival Theatre, singing hit songs from Evita and Les Misèrables.


In an Adelaide exclusive, the incomparable Dame Lisa Simone will present Keeper of the Flame – A Daughter’s Tribute to Dr. Nina Simone Big Band Concert and perform iconic classics of her mother, Dr. Nina Simone, as only she can, for one night only at Festival Theatre on Saturday, June 22.


At Dunstan Playhouse, Noongar and Gumbaynggirr woman Emma Donovan (The Donovans, Black Arm Band, The Putbacks) will command the stage in her supreme solo glory to sing stories of Country and community in Til My Song is Done, as part of her album launch on June 20.


In an Adelaide exclusive award-winning vocalist, Emma Pask, accompanied by her spirited jazz trio, will leave audiences spellbound in the Banquet Room with an intimate musical portrait of composer Harold Arlen’s timeless works including ’Over the Ranbow’ and ‘Stormy Weather’ in AC-CENT-TCHU-ATES The Positive.


Led by crowned World Queen of Burlesque, Imogen Kelly, Bent Burlesque features Yana Alana, Ruby Slippers, Sarah Birdgirl, Lillian Starr and Kitty Obsidian who will dazzle in an eccentric display of twisted tease, carnal carnival and grotesque burlesque on the final night of the festival, June 22.


Cabaret favourite and Helpmann-Award winning performer iOTA returns to the festival with the world premiere of Enter the Dragon, performing songs from Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Smoke and Mirrors in an intimate candlelit performance in the Banquet Room.


And making her Adelaide Cabaret Festival debut, Australian singer-songwriter and musician Missy Higgins celebrates the 20th anniversary of her ARIA award winning album The Sound Of White, in a special sold-out performance.


Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM: “Adelaide Cabaret Festival is a shining star in Adelaide Festival Centre’s year-round program of festivals, and we look forward to welcoming our passionate cabaret audiences from across the country to the Riverbank precinct for a spectacular three weeks of the world’s best cabaret acts.”


The Hon Andrea Michaels MP, South Australian Minister for Arts: “Adelaide is home to the biggest cabaret festival in the world and it’s 24th star-studded program is filled with must-see performances by talented Australian and international artists. I congratulate Virginia Gay and the Adelaide Festival Centre team on putting together an incredible festival program. Gather your friends for an unmissable Adelaide Cabaret Festival and I look forward to seeing you there!”


Adelaide Cabaret Festival Executive Producer Alex Sinclair: “The 24th Adelaide Cabaret Festival is our most creative, comedic, and contemporary program yet. We look forward to welcoming our loyal cabaret fans and a new generation of cabaret audiences for our wonderfully talented Artistic Director Virginia Gay’s debut program.”


Free events include Michael Griffiths in Big Gay Sing at the Quartet Bar and All The Queens Men LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club in the second weekend. Beloved Adelaide Cabaret Festival institution Dr Trevor Jones will play his Piano Man extravaganza nightly in the Quartet Bar during the final two weeks.


Those wanting to party on can revel in the divine and delicious chaos of the Festival Late Nights, which will be hosted by a different artist each week, including piano-pounding New Yorker Mark Nadler, Adelaide’s own Victoria Falconer and cabaret favourite Reuben Kaye.


Produced and presented by Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Cabaret Festival has been a platform for shows and performers who have achieved critical acclaim and featured world-renowned artists including Ms Lisa FischerKristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Dita Von Teese, Eddie Perfect and Tim Minchin to name a few.


Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2024 sparkles from 7-22 June at Adelaide Festival Centre.

Full program and tickets at

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