The 12th International Cabaret Contest: Who won?

The 2015 Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest (YTICC) Grand Final was held at The Basement in Sydney last week, and it featured 11 finalists from Adelaide, Brisbane, The Sunshine Coast, Melbourne, Auckland and Sydney. The prize on the line was career-changing.

Winner Michaela Burger with Greg Wain. Photo by Kurt Sneddon/blueprint studios.
Winner Michaela Burger with Greg Wain. Photo by Kurt Sneddon/blueprint studios.

How do we know it’s career changing? Previous winners of the contest include Marika Aubrey, Sheridan Harbridge, and also Toby Francis, who last night received a Sydney Theatre Award for Best Cabaret.

The judging panel too was impressive, consisting of Adelaide Cabaret Festival Executive Producer John Glenn, Noosa Long Weekend Artistic Director Ian MacKellar, Ballarat Cabaret Festival Artistic Director Graeme Russell, Tasmania Cabaret Festival Executive Producer Lucinda Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of Grayboy Entertainment Graeme Gillies, and Principal Sponsors and YTICC Patrons Ron and Margaret Dobell.

“The heats this year were incredibly strong across the board and the judges at the Grand Final truly had their work cut out for them as a result!” said producer Jeremy Youett.

“It was incredible to see so many talented artists continuing to develop and present a vast array of ideas and styles across Australia and New Zealand and especially to see the growth of artists who returned to the Contest from previous years,”

In the end, though, the title was awarded to Adelaide entrant Michaela Burger, with Melbourne entrant Noni McCallum winning the runner-up title.

Runner-up Noni McCallum. Photo by Kurt Sneddon/blueprint studios.
Runner-up Noni McCallum. Photo by Kurt Sneddon/blueprint studios.

The other finalists included David Gauci (Adelaide), Judy Hainsworth (Brisbane), Jenny Wynter (Sunshine Coast), Bethany Simons (Melbourne), Peter de Jager (Auckland), Cherie Moore with Robin Kelly (Sydney) Jamie Leigh Johnson (Sydney), Ben Hudson (Sydney), Shondelle Pratt (Sydney) and Dash Kruck (Sydney).

Michaela Burger’s eight-minute cabaret snapshot presented audiences with an excerpt from her show, Exposing Edith.  The show explores the life of Edith Piaf through her songs and experiences,

Burger and collaborator/guitarist Greg Wain are now preparing to tour the show extensively in the coming year as part of their prize package.

Runner-up Noni McCallum presented the audience with a hilarious and touching insight into what it’s like to be a woman in her thirties looking for love, incorporating You Can’t Hurry Love and The IKEA Song. 

The major prize package includes the opportunity for the winner to present their show at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, with flights and accommodation for their appearance to the value of $3000 contributed by The Ron and Margaret Dobell Foundation, a booking on an Australia/Pacific cruise ship courtesy of Grayboy Entertainment, a cash prize of $1000, a photographic package from Blueprint Studios valued at $1000, a music theatre and cabaret music package from Hal Leonard, as well as tour publicity from, which will spotlight the creative process as Burger continues to develop and tour her show throughout the year.

The runner-up takes home a $500 cash prize, and a photographic package from Blueprint Studios valued at $500.  Each act will also be extended various performance opportunities from Major Festival Partners including the Cabaret Festivals of Adelaide, Melbourne, Ballarat, and Queensland, as well as the Festival of Voices in Tasmania and the Noosa Long Weekend Festival, which all guarantee flights and accommodation.

For up-coming tour dates of both the winner (Michaela Burger) and runner-up (Noni McCallum), stay tuned to the Your Theatrics website where updates will be posted as dates are confirmed:

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and is the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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