Ballarat’s second annual cabaret festival kicks off on Thursday with a sold-out opening gala. Over four nights, from 10 to 13 October, some of the best cabaret artists can be see in 14 shows in six venues that are all skipping distance apart. And it’s all only a train ride away from Melbourne.
Though sponsored by Her Majesty’s Ballarat, the festival’s venues include Craig’s Royal Hotel, The Lounge @ The George and the University of Ballarat’s Arts Academy and Post Office complex.
Theatre Manager, Graeme Russell, says, “We sought venues that offer a level of intimacy, so that the audience can really feel they’re part of the show. That’s a huge factor in how and why cabaret works. It’s a conversation, and it has to be immediately engaging.”
The Ballarat festival is the only regional cabaret festival in Australia, and the small city is perfect with enough suitable venues and being in easy reach of the capital for those wanting a weekend away.
Cabaret continues to be popular and festivals like this reflect the trend for single-purpose venues dedicated to cabaret, like The Butterfly Club and Bohemia in Melbourne, Proud Cabaret in London Don’t Tell Mama in New York. And not forgetting the touring Spiegletents and festival spaces like The Garden of Unearthly Delights at the Adelaide Fringe.
The festival features the amazing talent of Geraldine Quinn, Trevor Ashley, Antoinette Halloran, Bradley McCaw, Amelia Ryan, Goldie White and Amie Brulee, and it’s a chance to see shows like Yana Alana’s Between the Cracks, which sold out at the Melbourne Cabaret Festival, and Ballarat graduate Karin Danger’s Hot Box, which has just returned from a successful UK tour.
It’s also the festival to see the best new talent with the In Development program that gives third year students from the University of Ballarat’s Arts Academy the opportunity to develop and present new work.
Graeme says “There’s some great stuff happening here, and it’s a chance for people to do something within their own community.”
Sales have been strong, and as the momentum around the festival builds, this second festival is set to sizzle.