Julia Zemiro has been appointed Artistic Director of the 2019 Adelaide Cabaret Festival. She succeeds Ali McGregor, who has helmed the Festival for the last three years. The announcement came as the 2018 season, which delivered 53 shows over 16 days and nights, came to a close on Saturday evening.

Julia Zemiro. Photo supplied: Adelaide Cabaret Festival

“My mission has always been to have audiences and artists leave a gig feeling good,” said Zemiro, who has been the host of Australian trivia quiz show RocKwiz for more than a decade. “Nothing moves me more than watching someone singing on stage, be it from side of stage in the wings at RocKwiz… or from a commentary box in the Gods of a stadium in Azerbaijan at the Eurovision Song Contest… or indeed filming Home Delivery and busking with Billy Bragg at Barking Train Station (the police moved us on).

“I love to perform but I love to be entertained and I give good audience. What thrills me about cabaret is the combination of the political, the personal, the sublime, and the dangerous. It soars like nothing else,” Zemiro said. “There is dread around us in the world. And we keep trying to find ways to cut through the noise. I look forward to shaping a festival for you big on ideas, emotions, languages and all things shiny. There will always be shiny.”

Zemiro has an extensive history as the host of Australia’s most popular and longstanding television programs. As well as RocKwiz, she has fronted Home Delivery, EurovisionGood News WeekTotally Full Frontal and the upcoming All Together Now. A graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts, she has been part of Bell Shakespeare productions in schools, has participated in musical theatre improv as well as sketch comedy. She also starred as Bronya in the national tour of Eurobeat the Eurovision musical.

Festival producer Ebony Bott has said that Zemiro is the ideal person to lead the festival in a new direction.

“She brings a freshness and exuberance to the role which heralds a new chapters,” Bott said. “Julia’s knowledge of the music industry is broad and sophisticated. She… brings a unique perspective to this treasured festival.”