The Hayes Theatre launches into Cabaret season next week, with an array of cabaret shows and a unique two week cabaret workshop to assist up and coming performers to develop the skills to create, produce and/or perform their own cabaret show. The first of its kind in Australia, the workshop will be lead by cabaret and musical theatre star, Queenie van de Zandt, along with a who’s who of cabaret in Australia including: Jonathan Biggins (Co-writer, director, & performer of the STC’s Wharf Review), David Harris (Legally Blonde, Miss Saigon, Wicked), iOTA (Smoke & Mirrors, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Great Gatsby) and more.

Cabaret is growing in Australia. Sparked by the success of the Adelaide Cabaret festival which is now recognised as an international event and attracting world class performers from around the globe to our shores, other cities are now setting up their own cabaret festivals and seasons. The latest is the Hayes Theatre in Sydney's Potts Point. With its small 110 seat theatre, it's the perfect venue for the intimacy of cabaret. So what is the definition of cabaret? I asked two of the best for their ideas: performer/writer Queenie van de Zandt and producer Richard Carroll.

Van de Zandt has been doing cabaret for many years and says she has a love-hate relationship with this art form, referring to the prevalence of what she describes as "bad cabaret."  She explains you can see a bad play or musical and that's okay, but a bad cabaret is like watching a bad standup routine – it's torturous. She says not all performers know how to do cabaret well and tend to hide behind the character and costume in a play or musical work.

She explains cabaret is a very broad genre and covers so many different styles – everything from a more traditional music format to a satirical review, comedic styles,  burlesque and a even a return to the vaudeville era complete with circus elements. Cabaret can be pretty much what the performer creates it to be. Van de Zandt says  according to Wikipedia, cabaret is often considered to be more about the performance space than the content of the show.

Van de Zandt feels there are certain qualities that make up a good cabaret performance. She says the performer needs to be comfortable in their own skin or create a persona to give a heightened sense of who they are. There is an element of rawness in cabaret.

Richard Carroll agrees that cabaret is somewhat undefinable, but believes it tends to include some element of interaction with the audience and always involves story telling – whether the story is told through the songs being performed, the story is about an artist the performer loves to sing or it focuses on a particular topic.

Hayes Theatre is launching its own cabaret season, providing a needed opportunity for cabaret performance in Sydney, including a unique public forum about what it takes to be a cabaret performer as well as a cabaret show featuring all the graduates of the two week cabaret workshop for emerging performers.

The cabaret workshop will feature a special public forum to be held on  Wednesday, 4th June 2014 at 1:30pm, with tickets just $20. This is a great opportunity for anyone wanting to learn more about the cabaret industry by some of our country's best. 

If you are interested in hearing some up and coming cabaret performers of the future, the workshop concludes with a public performance on Saturday 14th June 2014, featuring the graduates of this two week intensive. With tickets just $25 this promises to be a fabulous night of entertainment.


Public Forum:

Why Be a Cabaret Performer? What Cabaret Gives You and What it Takes, is a collaboration between some of the most influential and ground-breaking cabaret performers, producers, writers, venue and festival curators and songwriters to discuss the pro's and con's of performing cabaret in Australia.

Come hear why creating cabaret can be an incredible career booster and what it takes to thrive in the cabaret scene.
Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave Potts Point
Date: Wednesday, 4th June 2014
Time: 1:30pm
Tickets: All tickets $20
Bookings: or phone 02 8065 7337
*including booking fees


Cabaret Winter Workshop Cabaret:

A public performance from the students of the two-week Cabaret Winter Workshop.
The Cabaret Winter Workshop Graduate Performance showcases participants’ work devising and producing a completely original cabaret out of nothing but the stimulus: 'the colour red'.  

Working with the course artistic director Queenie van de Zandt, the legendary musical director Max Lambert and pianist Daniele Buatti (MD of Broadway Unplugged – Melbourne), the participants will create a one-off performance which will be performed to a live audience of their tutors, influential cabaret peeps and punters on the final night of the course.  

Come along and see the excellent up and coming talent in the cabaret scene and rub shoulders with the people who are making cabaret happen in Australia.
Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave Potts Point
Date: Saturday, 14th June 2014
Time: 8:30pm
Tickets: All tickets $25
Bookings: or phone 02 8065 7337

To read more information about all upcoming shows at the Hayes Theatre and to book tickets  go to: