Melbourne Cabaret Festival – Bigger and Better in 2013

Executive Producer Neville Sice Photo:  Alana Aphoy
Executive Producer Neville Sice
Photo: Alana Aphoy

Early last year there were doubts that the 2012 Melbourne Cabaret Festival would go ahead. It was thanks to the support of cabaret artists and those who love their work, that a crowd funding campaign succeeded in raising sufficient money to allow the Festival to go ahead as planned. Not only that, but the 2013 Melbourne Cabaret Festival, launched recently amidst the art-deco splendour of Ormond Hall, promises to be bigger and better than ever.

The 4th annual Melbourne Cabaret Festival will include eight overseas shows, none of which has previously been seen in Melbourne, together with a host of artists from all over Australia. There are some 150 performers in 150 performances across 16 venues over 12 nights. WOW! Looks like you’ll have to get into training for a cabaret marathon.

The lineup is impressive and promises something for everyone. Whether you like your cabaret dark and confrontational, quirky and funny, or musically based there will be more than one show for you. And whether you live in the city, in the south, the east or the north there will be a venue near you.

One standout will be Mary Wilson, founding member of The Supremes, who will perform, along with a number of other international acts, as part of the Opening Gala to be held at the historic Palais Theatre in St Kilda on on 26 June. Wilson will also be presenting Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Project at the Recital centre. And for jazz tragics like myself British ‘harp goddess’ Tara Minton, featuring the music of Joni Mitchell along with her own, will be a must see.

Of the Australian artists who would miss Melbourne’s own Yana Alana and for the adults among you Trevor Ashley and Rhonda Burchmore in their adults-only panto Little Orphan TrAshley is not to be missed. Amidst the newcomers will be Queenslander Bradley McCaw – composer, playwright and performer – who won the 2012 Australian Cabaret Showcase.

Oprahfaction - Rachel Dunham Photo: Alana Aphoy
Oprahfaction – Rachel Dunham
Photo: Alana Aphoy

If the two performances included in the launch are anything to go by, then there are a host of other performances that you will have to timetable. Suade, four guys with fantastic voices and a great sense of humour, wowed the guests as did Oprah Winfrey aka Rachel Dunham whose energy and powerful voice are amazing.

Given the plethora of artists and shows Artistic Director David Read has five tips on how to make the very best of your festival going:

  1. See an international show
  2. Think of your favourite performer in the world and chances are someone has incorporated their songs and stories into their cabaret
  3. Pick a genre – dark, edgy, burlesque, twisted, hilarious, musical theatre
  4. Mix it up with the late night experiences – Best of the Fest, Late Night Piano Bar, Cararetoke
  5. Stop playing it safe and take a punt!

So get into training and start filling up your calendar because Melbourne will be a mecca for all lovers of cabaret for 12 nights from Wednesday 26 June until 7 July.  Check out their brand new website for further details Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

Jan Chandler

Jan has been working freelance in the arts industry for some 15+ years in a variety of roles including: arts management; journalism (print, radio and online); publicity; and media relations. Passionate about the arts in all their variety, Jan has worked in film (production assistant; reviewer); dance (publicity; producer and presenter of 'Dance Dialogues - 3CR) and Board Member of Ausdance (Victoria)); performing arts (company manager, performer, reviewer, online editor). Jan had the honour of being the General Manager of Ilbijerri Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Theatre for some 18 months.

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