The 2021 Adelaide Cabaret Festival has ended with a bang. At last night’s final sold-out Club Cumming in The Famous Spiegeltent, hosted by Artistic Director Alan Cumming, the renowned Scottish-born, New York-based performer announced that his successor for 2022 will be Tina Arena.

Tina Arena

Tina Arena. Photograph © Bernard Gueit

“This year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival has been nothing short of joyous, vibrant and elating! To be able to connect with audiences again after such a tumultuous time has been a heart-felt experience for artists, myself included, and audiences alike. Cabaret is such a vital form of connection for us all through music, dance, and comedy,” said Cumming, who also premiered his new cabaret show Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age to sold-out houses.

“I wish Tina Arena all the best as new AD of this beloved winter festival, and hopefully I’ll get to see you all again soon!”

In a statement, Arena said: “I am so looking forward to getting stuck into programming next year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival as Artistic Director and working with some incredible artists I’ve come to know, love and respect over my decades working in Australia and internationally.”

“Performing is my lifeblood, I love to sing and connect with audiences through story-telling and the incredible power of music – to me this is at the heart of cabaret.”

An ARIA Hall of Fame inductee, Arena is one of Australia’s highest selling artists, having sold 10 million records worldwide, sung in English, Italian, French and Spanish. She has released 12 studio albums, four live albums and four compilations.

Her career began at age eight on Australia’s longest running variety show Young Talent Time where “Tiny Tina” with the big voice became a household name. She would go on to have an international career as a singer-songwriter, musical theatre performer and record producer.

Arena has performed on stage with artists including Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Andrea Boccelli, Elaine Paige, Lionel Richie, Donna Summer, Glenn Close and Antonio Banderas.

She has also performed in musicals in Australia and London’s West End. She was last seen in an Australian production when she played the lead role of Eva Perón in Evita for Opera Australia and the Gordon Organisation, with the show opening in Sydney in 2018 before touring.

She played Roxie Hart in the West End production of Chicago in 2007, and Sally Bowles in Cabaret at Sydney’s State Theatre in 2002. Her other musical theatre credits include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Nine and Notre-Dame de Paris in London’s West End.

In 2016, she was appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to the music industry as a singer, songwriter and recording artist, and as a support of charitable groups.

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier said: “During his year at the helm, Alan Cumming has led the way with his powerful artistic pursuits and created one of the most successful cabaret festivals in history, despite the challenges presented in the past year and recent weeks.”

Thanking audiences for flocking to the 21st Adelaide Cabaret Festival at the Adelaide Festival Centre, Gautier said: “We look forward to celebrating with you all in person again next year, when accomplished entertainer Tina Arena leads the way as Artistic Director of Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2022.”

The dates of the 2022 Adelaide Cabaret Festival will be announced soon.

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