Melbourne Cabaret Festival records massive growth in attendance

Artistic Director of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival David Read must be a happy man indeed this week.

Fem Belling
Fem Belling’s Dear Blossom show was a ‘big seller’ at the 2013 Melbourne Cabaret Festival

From the depths of despair less than 18 months ago, where a lack of funding loomed and threatened to shut down the event, Victoria’s fastest growing festival has rallied and conquered the odds.

Over 15,200 people ‘came to the cabaret’ in Melbourne during the past fortnight, positioning the Melbourne Cabaret Festival as one of the city’s major winter arts events. The fourth annual Melbourne Cabaret Festival audience grew 89% on last year and has increased by a mammoth 375% since its inception in 2010.

David Read, who describes the success of the event as “beyond anything we could have hoped for” believes that the art of cabaret is making a resurgence.

“Cabaret has clearly entered the mainstream”, he said.

The impact of this festival spreads far beyond numbers and statistics however, and Read is quick to explain that the economic impact derived from the festival is incredibly valuable, as is the professional development and employment afforded artists and arts workers in Melbourne and abroad.

“It’s not just about the audience numbers… It’s the fact that a festival delivers greater economic impact than any other art event, including for restaurants and venues. It’s about the audiences we build for cabaret which are then passed onto our venue partners operating year round. It’s about the eight overseas shows we introduced to Melbourne and the knowledge they passed onto local performers through our professional development program. It’s about the collaborations between artists that formed over the festival. It’s about celebrating Melbourne.”

The Opening Gala at the Palais Theatre was attended by over 1,200 and set the scene for a Festival that keeps hitting new heights on the Melbourne arts calendar. Other big sellers included Motown Royalty Mary Wilson, Fem Belling’s Dear Blossom, Oprahfication, Yana Alana’s Between The Cracks, Little Orphan trAshley and Spiderlash.

The festival is now on the lookout for a naming rights sponsor to share in the success of next year’s festival, and to ensure this exciting celebration of the art of cabaret will thrive for years to come.>

For more information, visit the Melbourne Cabaret Festival Website

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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