Melbourne Cabaret Festival surges despite funding snub

The festival's audience has grown by 375% since 2010 despite receiving no funding from Arts Victoria.

Melbourne Cabaret Festival artist Geraldine Quinn. Image supplied.

Despite having a thriving national cabaret scene to cherry-pick from for his 2014 program, Melbourne Cabaret Festival Artistic Director David Read said he had been forced to cap his program – launched on Tuesday night – at just 30 shows.

‘I received over 150 submission this year. We ended up with 30 different shows. It could have been a hell of a lot more than that. I didn’t necessarily say no to shows because they weren’t of sufficient quality; I just said no because we didn’t have the budget. We set a cap, if you like, on 30 shows this year but there is so much more potential for this art form and this festival in Melbourne. It could be so much bigger if we were properly funded,’ he told ArtsHub.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts