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June 5, 2019

CityMag’s guide to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival

Julia Zemiro’s Cabaret Festival is embracing iconic venues across the city and injecting new life into one of the city’s most successful events. Use our quick guide to get the most out of the festival in 2019.

  • Pictures: Supplied

For its inaugural year under the stewardship of artistic director Julia Zemiro, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival has programmed 245 performances featuring more than 380 artists throughout the festival’s 16 days and nights.


Adelaide Cabaret Festival
7-22 June 2019
Adelaide 5000

That’s a lot of cabaret.

To help kickstart your journey into the festival’s program ahead of opening weekend, we spoke to a talented friend for their insight and compiled a few of our own picks for the coming two weeks.

Mark your calendars, friends.



Max Savage. Photo: Peter Fong

Q&A with Max Savage

We wouldn’t have picked you as a cabaret performer, but now we see your show, Nobody Knows My Name, in the lineup it makes perfect sense. Does it feel right to you?

The great thing about Cabaret is nobody is exactly sure what it is. Writing and performing a narrative, musical show from scratch is not something I ever thought I’d be doing, but the festival have been truly, breathtakingly wonderful and supportive.

Do you think this is a different Cabaret to previous years?

I do – I think that the Adelaide Cabaret Festival has matured over the past few years. It’s more confident about what it is and I think Julia Zemiro has put together an exceptionally good program.

Singing about Adelaide, we don’t do it enough. Why’s that?

It wasn’t too long ago that all music was, in a sense, local: what you listened to depended entirely on which corner of the world you happened to find yourself in. I think a lot of what gets put out and what gets air these days is a kind of nothing music – music from nowhere, or anywhere.

The City of Churches; the Athens of the South is my hometown – it informs every inch of who I am and how I came to be so it’s only natural that I write about it.


Max Savage: Nobody Knows My Name
7pm Sunday, 16 June at The Famous Spiegeltent

Who are your must-sees at the festival?

I’m a sucker for drag and for Dolly Parton so Dolly Diamond – Parton Me is a must. I’ve also spent the past three years laughing out loud from Presentation Night and I’m pretty excited to see it in the flesh.

Dolly Diamond – Parton Me


Our top picks

RocKwiz Salutes the Rock Musical

8pm Friday, June at Thebarton Theatre

This iteration of RocKwiz will source all questions and musical numbers from perennial favourites like Jesus Christ Superstar to modern movie rock operas such as School of Rock.



Kate Miller-Heidke

8pm Saturday, 22 June at Thebarton Theatre

Kate is the only artist in history to perform at Coachella, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Eurovison Song Contest and The Gov.



Lior with Paul Grabowsky

9:30pm Friday, 7 June at Dunstan Playhouse

Paul Grabowsky built Barrio when he was director of Adelaide Festival and this collaboration with Lior will be similarly historic.


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