- I have loved Cabaret as long as I can
I have loved Cabaret as long as I can remember. As a confused child growing up I discovered this incredible artform that celebrated unique personalities, and more than that, an irreplaceable bond between artist and audience. Seeing artists like Lorrae Desmond, Julie Anthony and Geraldine Turner live, made me believe I could be anyone I wanted to be. It changed my life.
In the late nineties, as a budding cabaret performer, I entered The Sydney Cabaret Convention, a brilliant concept where everyone had seven minutes to compete to win a prize to go to New York. It was here that I saw Tony Sheldon, Toni Lamond, Phil Scott, Judi Connelli, and the inaugural winner Margi de Ferranti. With my artist pass I was allowed to attend every single night, and I did that, for the next five years until the event sadly ended.
I am immensely proud to present to you the inaugural Sydney International Cabaret Festival, which in its first outing brings together some of my favourite artists from around Australia, and the globe. From our headliner, the legendary Jennifer Holliday, appearing for the first time on Australian soil, through to Alison Jiear and Kim David Smith who are proudly Australian, but now call London and New York home. UK stars Frisky and Mannish, Brunswick Heads own Cheeky Cabaret, and Sydney favourite Tim Draxl also appear. Variety, comedy, jazz, and more belting than you could poke a stick at, we are coming out with a bang.
I invite you to celebrate this truly life changing artform, and hope that you’ll join not only artists you know and love, but take a chance on someone you’ve never heard of before. Every single one of these acts is at the top of their game, and I can’t believe we will have them all in one place at the same time.
So in the immortal words of Fred Ebb: What good is sitting alone in your room? Come to the Cabaret.
I can’t wait for you to join us.
Trevor Ashley is one of Australia’s most sought-after and successful performers. He has built a career and following as an actor, writer, director and international queen of cabaret – but not necessarily in that order.
In musical theatre, Trevor starred as Thenardier in Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Miserables across Australia for which he was nominated for his third Helpmann Award. He has also appeared as Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar, Edna Turnblad in Hairspray and created the role of Miss Understanding in Priscilla Queen Of the Desert: The Musical. Last year he appeared as ‘Fanny Brice’ in Funny Girl with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Opera House.
He recently completed a national symphony tour of Diamonds Are For Trevor, a tribute to Shirley Bassey which was also recorded as a special for Foxtel Arts. Ashley has previously starred in Liza (on and E), Liza’s Back! (is broken), I’m Every Woman and TWINS with Rhonda Burchmore.
His brand new adults-only panto The Bodybag toured to great acclaim throughout 2018, completing the trilogy of Fat Swan and Little Orphan TrAshley.
In 2015, Trevor made his directorial debut with Heathers: the Musical, a cult hit that began life at the Hayes Theatre Co, and transferred to QPAC, Arts Centre Melbourne and the Sydney Opera House. In 2016 he also directed, again for the Hayes, Mack and Mabel. He also conceived and directed Hear Me Roar, starring 6 of Australia’s great female vocalists. He is proudly the inaugural artistic director of Sydney International Cabaret Festival.