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Perth to stage inaugural International Cabaret Festival in June next year

Perth to stage inaugural International Cabaret Festival in June next year
November 2, 2020

Opportunities for cabaret and music theatre artists trained by the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) to perform in Perth are set to be enhanced with the inaugural Perth International Cabaret Festival (PICF) to be held in June next year.

As reported by ArtsHub, the festival's name, and its winter placement, suggest it is well-placed to share international guests with Adelaide Cabaret Festival (running from 11th to 26th June 2021), Melbourne Cabaret Festival (also held annually in June) and Sydney Cabaret Festival (3rd to 12th July 2021).

To be held at His Majesty’s Theatre from 19th to 27th June, the new festival is the brainchild of Ali Welburn, the founder of Limelight Consulting (a bespoke arts PR and marketing consultancy) and Graham Lovelock (a strategic communications specialist) who have taken on co-Executive Producer roles.

In a joint statement, Lovelock and Welburn said they struck on the idea of starting a cabaret festival in Perth after realising that Perth is the "only major capital city - and therefore WA the only Australian state” - currently lacking a dedicated cabaret festival in its annual arts calendar mix.

Welburn advised "we were as surprised as everyone we talked to about this when we identified the gap in the market, especially considering how well received festivals in WA are.

"And, once we started talking to others in the community and our arts contacts, we realised we could do something to change that so we set about making it happen.”

Neither Hobart, Darwin nor Canberra are currently home to an annual cabaret festival, through Hobart's Festival of Voices features a number of cabaret artists in its program each year. The Queensland Cabaret Festival is on now, running until this weekend.

Local performers have welcomed the announcement of a cabaret-focused festival next year.

Jessica Herbert, Band Manager of the Perth Cabaret Collective, noted “we are delighted to hear that the Perth Cabaret Festival will be going ahead in 2021.

"Every major city in Australia has its own Cabaret Festival except for Perth, so I think it's about time that we had one to call our own.

"There is a huge cabaret scene filled with exceptionally talented performers in WA and we’re excited to have a festival that’s all about us.”

PICF's Interim Chair, John Poulsen, said the new festival would be a much-needed aid to social connection after the challenges of 2020, commenting “cabaret honours the great tradition of storytelling, and more particularly, storytelling set to music. As an artform it is admired and performed globally with cabaret festivals in major cities held annually around the world. And now, we will have a cabaret festival here in Perth.

"Together with an enthusiastic board made up of people with arts, community, business and governance expertise, and our very talented executive team, I am delighted to announce the arrival of the Perth International Cabaret Festival.”

As well as Poulsen, a business coach, strategist and leadership facilitator, the inaugural festival board includes theatre-maker, writer and director Jay Emmanuel; Melbourne-based producer, mentor and arts advocate Laura Milke Garner; the co-director of Cullen Macleod Lawyers, Catriona Macleod, and others.

The new festival’s founding Artistic Director is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Image: Perth Cabaret Collective has welcomed the news of 2021's Perth International Cabaret Festival. Credit: Facebook.

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