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Event Spotlight: David Read talks Melbourne Cabaret Fest's development program

Friday 14 June 2013

Event Spotlight: David Read talks Melbourne Cabaret Fest's development program

The fourth annual Melbourne Cabaret Festival kicks off this month and this year will feature their most impressive development program with international acts David Pomeranz (USA), Adam Guettel (USA, pictured above) and Tara Minton (UK) holding educational master classes. This year will also see Radio National broadcast from the festival alongside a panel discussion with Joey Arias (UK) and Melbourne cabaret provocateur, Yana Alana.

We spoke to the festival’s Artistic Director David Read about why a development program for cabaret is so important for Australia’s arts sector.

What sparked the idea to launch a professional development program?

Part of our charter has always been to support emerging and mid-career cabaret performers. A professional development program for cabaret performers is sadly lacking.

A ballet dancer can train at the Australian Ballet School and make their way through to The Australian Ballet. A circus performer can train at NICA (National Institute of Circus Arts) and make their way through to Circus Oz. A music theatre performer can train at the VCA (Victorian College of the Arts) and end up in a musical. But a cabaret performer? There's no industry/government support ... until now.

What can punters expect to get out of the master classes?

For people who are intrigued of what cabaret is, a master class is a good introduction. Instead of just observing as an audience member, you can gain a deeper insight and participate (if you choose) by asking questions.

And the idea to present three of the four master classes for free, a surprising move considering how established the hosts are.

Indeed. It's our way of maintaining a highly accessible component of the festival. Unlike every other major Melbourne festival I know, we receive no assistance from the State Government, which means that the risk we take on shows is incredibly high. So shows must all be ticketed so we gain ticket revenue. However we still want to encourage new audiences and enable low or no income people to attend. The master class program is our way of doing this. We, hopefully, have the venue costs covered by a successful show, which is what subsidises the professional development activity. 

What is the main ambition for Melbourne Cabaret Festival with you at the helm?

I want to share one of Melbourne's greatest secrets with its residents and visitors: that it has a thriving cabaret scene if you just scratch beneath the surface. Come and explore Melbourne - you'll love it!

Melbourne Cabaret Festival takes place from June 26 - July 7. See here for more information.

- Eventfinda

 

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