Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2021 Programme

Published in Arts News  
Alan Cumming Alan Cumming Image © Francis Hills

South Australia winter event Adelaide Cabaret Festival is back this June, turning the spotlight to some of Australia’s best, brightest and boldest performers.


Tony Award-winning Hollywood actor and cabaret king Alan Cumming is the event’s first ever international Artistic Director in its 21-year history.

Adelaide Festival Centre will host the event following 2020’s online offering. The programme stars more than 180 artists in 105 performances over 12 glittering days and nights.

“Dear Adelaide and Australia – I am so excited to finally share this festival line-up with you all,” Alan Cumming says. “As ever I have gone with my gut – a quality I think we Scots and Australians share. This festival 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.”

Alan will perform a second show of his world premiere ‘Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age’.

Festival fave and former Festival Artistic Director Eddie Perfect returns with his latest show ‘Eddie Perfect – Introspective’, a reflective account of his recent work.

The next generation of First Nations artists will perform in ‘Deadly Hearts’, celebrating Australian Indigenous music. The line-up includes Dan Sultan, Tia Gostelow, Kee’ahn and Aodhan.

EmmaDonovanMichelleGraceHunder
Emma Donovan playing as part of 'Songs Of Don' - Image © Michelle Grace Hunder

Headliner show ‘Songs Of Don’ will celebrate the work of legendary Australian songwriter Don Walker, best known as the main songwriter for Cold Chisel. Powerhouse vocalists Katie Noonan, Clare Bowditch, Emma Donovan and Sarah McLeod will belt out reimagined versions of ‘Khe Sanh’, ‘Saturday Night’, ‘Cheap Wine’ and ‘Standing On The Outside’.

To continue the celebration of strong female voices, ‘Hear Me Roar – Unplugged’ will see Tania Doko, Emma Pass and Prinnie Stevens paying tribute to some of history’s greatest female artists.

Former Festival Artistic Director Julia Zemiro will be joined by Brian Nankervis and special guests, including Alan Cumming, in the return of 'RocKwiz'.

The ‘Young Talent Time 50th Anniversary Reunion Special’ will provide a nod to nostalgia, while Robyn Archer will perform in a stirring, funny and moving performance of ‘Mother Archer’s Cabaret For Dark Times’.

New York’s Amber Martin returns in ‘Bathhouse Bette’, and AFI Award-winner Bojana Novakovic performs throughout the festival in ‘The Blind Date Project’.

Check out the first six shows announced in November 2020 here.

The festival’s ‘Variety Gala’, hosted by Adelaide’s own Hans, will see cabaret stars including Meow Meow, Paul Capsis, Steph Tisdell, Mama Alto and Trevor Ashley light up the stage.

Tim Minchin also returns with ‘BACK’.

“This year we are honoured to welcome Alan Cumming as Artistic Director. Alan has brought the full force of his creative expertise and know-how to this beloved festival with a stellar programme,” Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier says. “As a result, Adelaide Cabaret Festival is proud to contribute to Adelaide’s position as Australia’s premier festival city and to South Australia’s reputation for leadership in the performing arts.”

Check out the full programme here.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2021 is on from 11-26 June.

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