Get ready to kick up your heels and warm up this winter with a sparkling program of the best and boldest performers at the 22nd Adelaide Cabaret Festival, starting tonight at Adelaide Festival Centre.

International star and Australian icon Tina Arena AM proudly presents her curated program with this year’s star-studded line-up, featuring 377 artists and musicians across 97 performances over 12 decadent days and nights.

The world’s largest cabaret festival features 14 world premieres and 15 Adelaide premieres by a large contingent of Australian artists and performers from the USA, Germany, Rwanda, and New Zealand at Adelaide Festival Centre and Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Audiences will be delighted, entertained, and teased by alluring performances and sultry disco evenings – from headline artist Marcia Hines singing gospel tunes to Australia’s queen of burlesque Imogen Kelly, cabaret chanteuse and festival favourite Meow Meow, and bespoke French circus act Cirque Bon Bon.

The hottest late-night club, The Piña Colada Room, will bring a touch of 70s disco to The Famous Spiegeltent – this year located on the new Festival Plaza and featuring DJs, off the cuff cabaret performances, and appearances by Artistic Director and ARIA Hall of Fame inductee Tina Arena. 

In her debut as Artistic Director, Tina Arena is ready to start the festival fun and frivolity:

“I am thrilled to be in Adelaide for this much-loved winter festival and can’t wait to see the fusion of stories, song, dance, and all things theatrical come to life on stage. I hope this year’s program reconnects audiences and artists in the most intimate and life-affirming way, offering some much-needed connection and joy.

“I’ve always loved cabaret – long before my role as Sally Bowles, it’s a beautifully eclectic art form and escapism of the most fabulous kind. This program brings together artists with diverse voices and cultures, representing the best cabaret has to offer in Australia and abroad.  From my own show and the personal stories of Songs My Mother Taught Me to the decadence of The Piña Colada Room – leave your worries behind and let’s have some fun!”

Bringing her Italian heritage to the program, audiences will get a rare chance to connect with Tina Arena on a personal level, as she headlines and hosts the world premiere show, Songs My Mother Taught Me. Featuring Tina, and special guests LiorThe Voice 2022 finalist ThandoJess HitchcockWendy Matthews and Sophie Koh, the show celebrates culture, legacy and love and is inspired by storytelling and family. Two shows only at Her Majesty’s Theatre on June 24 and 25.

Opening weekend highlights include:

  • Cabaret favourite Reuben Kaye hosting this weekend’s The Piña Colada Room and brings his new show Live & Intimate to The Banquet Room in the second weekend.
  • South Australian cabaret favourites Amelia RyanMichaela Burger and Michael Griffiths celebrate the golden age of rock ‘n’ roll, sexual revolution and the leaps and bounds of women’s liberation in Simply Brill – The Women Who Defined Rock ‘n’ Roll. Limited tickets available.
  • Audiences will travel back in time with vocal powerhouse Catherine Alcorn and Phil Scott in 30 Something, an immersive show set in Sydney’s Bohemia Kings Cross on New Year’s Eve 1939.
  • Swing band Davina & The Vagabonds in an Australian premiere where they draw from the past 100 years of American music, from Fats Domino to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits in a show led with New Orleans charm and Memphis soul in The Famous Spiegeltent this weekend.
  • New Zealand company, A Slightly Isolated Dog bring Don Juan to the Space Theatre, bringing together physical comedy and twisted pop songs in a hilarious and irreverent show directed by award-winning Leo Gene Peters.
  • In its cabaret debut, State Opera South Australia performs How To Kill Your Husband (and other handy household hints) at Dunstan Playhouse. Based on Kathy Lette’s hit novel, this show guarantees a night of high drama and cheeky intimacy.
  • Cabaret Life Drawing – be guided through creating charcoal drawings of a live model while sipping on a glass of wine and being entertained with live music in The Famous Spiegeltent.

Headline shows proving popular:

  • The Gospel According to Marcia sees the extraordinary Marcia Hines celebrate memories from her childhood in Boston and her early experiences with Gospel music in a one night only unmissable concert at Her Majesty’s Theatre on June 17. Accompanied by Adelaide’s own Charmaine Jones & The Gospo Collective, audiences will rejoice with hit gospel songs including ‘Oh Happy Day’, ‘I Don’t Know How to Love Him’, and ‘Lean On Me’.
  • Comedian Paul McDermott presents his nightly show on the last two weekends of the festival with The Funhouse – a dark carnival of minstrels and misfits, comedy and music and featuring Claire Hooper and Dilruk Jayasinha plus an array of special guests each weekend.
  • Comedian and performer Oliver Twist reflects on his time as a refugee from Rwanda, in a delicately told and unforgettable one-person show, Jali, that proves exceptional storytelling and belly-aching laughter are powerful antidotes to trauma – three shows from June 23-25 at Space Theatre.
  • In his cabaret debut, multi-platinum Australian R&B artist Gary Pinto (member of former hit Australian band CDB) will bring his soulful voice to Dunstan Playhouse in Sam Cooke: The Music. Celebrating the legacy of “The Godfather of Soul” Sam Cooke, Gary will belt out classics including ‘A Change is Going to Come’ and ‘You Send Me’ in an evening of storytelling and musical melodies to warm the soul.

South Australian performers include:

  • KukoKatie Aspel and Rob Edwards in a special Adelaide Premiere where First Nations regional musicians and performers present a mix of blues, jazz soul and folk in a night of remarkable sound and story telling in T.R.A.I.L on June 19.
  • Victoria Falconer makes her festival debut in And Then You Go – The Vali Myers Project, harnessing the flame haired-bohemian figure and visionary artist. The show is this year’s Frank Ford Commissioning Award recipient – the award by Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s late founding father provides $20,000 a year towards the creation of new works by South Australian artists.
  • Musical Theatre fans will not be disappointed with Moments in the Woods – Songs & Stories of Sondheim paying tribute to the genius and legacy of musical theatre’s most ground-breaking composer, Stephen Sondheim, featuring Philip QuastGeraldine TurnerQueenie van de ZandtJosie Lane and Adelaide’s own Mitchell Butel for one night only at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM:

“South Australia’s favourite winter festival is back and looking better than ever with the new Festival Plaza open and ready to welcome audiences to some new spaces and familiar ones at Adelaide Festival Centre. As a winter festival, Adelaide Cabaret Festival is a seat at the fireside, warming our collective spirits and we know how important that is for our community.

“Tina Arena has brought her creativity, talent and arts expertise to this wonderful program, contributing to the festival’s position as the country’s premier cabaret festival in Australia’s premier festival city. We look forward to warmly welcoming audiences back.”

Adelaide Cabaret Festival Executive Producer Alex Sinclair“We can’t wait to see cabaret fans and new audiences alike joining in the festivities of our favourite winter festival. Come share a dance under the mirror ball, enjoy the sparkle, glamour and revel in the live and intimate performances that make Adelaide Cabaret Festival the place to be this June.”

Free events include the popular LGBTIQ+ Elders Dance Club by All The Queens Men, the fabulous afternoon tea dance party for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse and intersex elders and all allies will be held at The Famous Spiegeltent on Sunday, June 19.

The inspiring Class of Cabaret program returns to shine a light on the cabaret stars of tomorrow, proudly supported by Adelaide Festival Centre Foundation through the Nathaniel O’Brien Scholarship which allows one student from regional South Australia to participate in the program.

Festival favourite Trevor Jones – The Piano Man is back at the Festival Theatre foyer Quartet Bar nightly and the Corryton Burge Bar and Cabaret Lounge return as the perfect places for patrons to settle into a quiet corner or keep the party going between shows.

Produced and presented by Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide Cabaret Festival has grown from modest beginnings in 2001 to become Australia’s major winter festival and the largest cabaret festival in the world. Previous Artistic Directors of the festival include Julia HoltDavid CampbellKate CeberanoBarry HumphriesEddie PerfectAli McGregorJulia Zemiro and most recently, Alan Cumming. 

The festival has been a platform for shows and performers who have achieved critical acclaim and featured world-renowned artists including Ms Lisa FischerKristen ChenowethIdina MenzelDita Von Teese and Patti Lupone to name a few.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022 opens on June 10 and runs until June 25.

Tickets on sale March 25 from 11am at adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au