Alan Cumming’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival kicks off tonight!

Adelaide-Cabaret-Festival-Artistic-Director-Alan-Cumming-photo-Francis-HillsGet set to be served a cabaret banquet of the biggest, boldest, and brightest performers at the 21st Adelaide Cabaret Festival, kicking off tonight with the sold-out red-carpet event, The Variety Gala at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Festival Theatre.

Olivier and Tony Award winning Scottish/American actor and cabaret icon, Alan Cumming – the festival’s first international Artistic Director – proudly serves up his personal “love letter” to Australia with this year’s star-studded program, including 180 artists in 105 performances over 12 dazzling days and nights!

The world’s largest cabaret festival features 10 world premieres, 4 Australian premieres and 10 Adelaide exclusives by a large contingent of Australian artists and performers from the USA, and Canada.

Shining the spotlight on Australian talent and some international friends, audiences will be shocked, delighted, teased, and tickled by classic and contemporary cabaret performances with this year’s program traversing the cabaret genre – from old-world French glamour to penis painting, pie-floaters, and everything in between.

In his debut as Artistic Director, Alan Cumming is ready to get the party started and see his curated program come to life: “I am so excited to finally see this much-loved winter festival come to life and share the special energy of live performance with audiences over the next three weeks,” he said.

“This program is a temple to my love and nostalgia for Australia – the people, the spirit, the adventure, the fusion of high and low that I have learned and stolen from and hold dear in my heart. I hope you Australians enjoy this Scot’s cabaret love letter to you,” said Cumming.

“I look forward to seeing audiences experience the joy, laughter, cheekiness and splendour that only cabaret can deliver. I will be bringing a version of my New York cabaret bar, Club Cumming to audiences – a bacchanalian celebration dance party with performances, games, and surprises! Let’s get this party started!”

Alan Cumming will DJ every night of the festival at the late-night Club Cummingbringing a touch of New York to Adelaide in The Famous Spiegeltent – limited tickets are still available. The final night of the festival will see Alan perform the world-premiere of his own show, Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age, in the Festival Theatre before touring the show nationally.

In an Adelaide Exclusive on the first weekend of the festival, Australia’s next generation of First Nations artists will perform in Deadly Hearts – celebrating Australian Indigenous music. The incredible line-up includes multi award winning musician and artist, Dan Sultan; 2019 National Indigenous Music Awards nominee, Tia Gostelow; 2020 Music Vic award winner for Best Emerging Artist, Kee’ahn; and 2019 Triple J Unearthed High Indigenous Initiative winner, Aodhan.

In an Australian first, Young Talent Time 50th Anniversary Reunion Special will nod to nostalgia at Festival Theatre on Saturday 19 June with Johnny Young himself hosting the show. Alumni including Beven Addinsall, Karen Knowles, Jane Scali, Philip Gould, Steven Zammit, Joey Dee, Lorena Novoa and Nicole Cooper will grace the stage and relive the magic of YTT for one night only.

AFI Award winning Hollywood actor Bojana Novakovic performs throughout the festival with an ever-changing cast of surprise guests in the improvisational experiment The Blind Date Project. Audiences will be surprised by a celebrity guests at each performance… who could be the next blind date?

Shows proving to be a hot ticket with limited seats available:
RocKwiz returns to the Festival Theatre, this time saluting Eurovision, with host and former festival Artistic Director Julia Zemiro alongside Brian Nankervis plus special guests including Alan Cumming himself.
• Tania Doko, Emma Pask and Prinnie Stevens will pay tribute to some of history’s greatest female artists in Hear Me Roar – Unplugged, an Adelaide exclusive on the last weekend.
L’Hotel – Audiences will get to peek behind closed doors at a luxurious French hotel in this immersive show with a crème de la crème of performers from the world of cabaret, burlesque and circus, including French chanteuse and festival favourite Caroline Nin.
• New York’s Amber Martin will belt out Bette Midler tunes in the Australian premiere of Bathhouse Bette – an uplifting celebration of the earliest bathhouse performances by the iconic singer, actor, and comedian.

South Australian performers featured include:
• Robyn Archer – 2016 Adelaide Cabaret Festival Icon Award winner in Mother Archer’s Cabaret for Dark Times.
• Max Savage – the recipient of this year’s Frank Ford Commissioning Award reflects on the country’s most famous literary hoax in ERN: Australia’s Greatest Hoax. The award by Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s late founding father, the Frank Ford Commissioning Award provides $20,000 a year towards the creation of new works by South Australian artists and will continue to help mentor and nurture emerging cabaret talent.
• Hans – this year’s glittering host of The Variety Gala.
• The Sisters of Invention by Tutti Arts – Adelaide’s own all-female disability pop group featuring Aimee Crathern, Michelle Hall, Annika Hooper and Caroline Hardy make their festival debut in You Ready For This? directed by Michael Griffiths.

Festival favourite Trevor Jones – The Piano Man is back at the Festival Theatre foyer Quartet Bar nightly presented by the City of Adelaide, and the cabaret lounge will become a chillout hub where audiences can enjoy free roving performances along with a knit and natter (BYO winter knitting project or watch and learn from some of SA’s finest knitters).

“South Australia’s favourite winter festival is back and better than ever with a program that celebrates the festival’s 21-year-old history and showcases some of Australia’s best performers in thought-provoking shows,” said Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM. “We look forward to welcoming patrons back to our venues to be entertained this winter.”

“Alan Cumming has brought the full force of his creative expertise and know-how to this beloved festival with a stellar program, contributing to Adelaide’s position as Australia’s premier festival city.”

The 2021 Adelaide Cabaret Festival opens tonight (Friday 11 June) and runs through to Sunday 26 June. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Alan Cumming – photo Francis Hills