Melbourne Cabaret Festival announces 2019 Ambassadors

MCF Sally Bourne and Drew DowningMelbourne Cabaret Festival has announced that leading cabaret performers Sally Bourne and Drew Downing have been appointed Ambassadors for the Festival’s 10th anniversary year.

“We have worked alongside Drew and Sally in previous cabaret festivals and have always been struck by their creativity and professionalism,” said David Read, Festival Co-producer. “They are strongly admired within the industry by performers and producers alike.”

“They will be an additional source of support for all performers in this year’s line-up, which will be announced in the coming weeks. We are honoured in our tenth anniversary year they have agreed to be our Ambassadors.’’

Singer, actor, comedian, writer & director, Sally Bourne is thrilled to be co-ambassador with Drew Downing for the tenth anniversary of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival. Sally was one of the headline acts at the inaugural festival with her cabaret partner Susan-ann Walker.

Sally has been performing in musicals, plays, on TV, in concert & in cabaret in both Australia & in London for over 30 years. Her career began when she was cast in the title role in the original Australian production of Annie (many years ago!).

Some highlights since then include the world premiere productions of The Beautiful Game, Jerry Springer The Opera (London), Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert ( The Royal Albert Hall), Shane Warne The Musical and Moonshadow (Australia). Sally also played Eva Peron’s maid in the movie EVITA alongside Madonna.

Over the years Sally has worked with Julie Andrews, Judi Dench, Hugh Jackman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Tina Arena and many more. She has a long-standing love of the art form that is cabaret which began at the now defunct Australia Hotel in Collins Street when she was 19.

Sally has had residencies in many of London’s iconic performance venues for over 10 years & toured her shows to Scotland, Wales, Dubai, Karachi, Jordan and Abu Dhabi before moving back to Australia in 2004. Since then she has written and performed 8 sell out shows (4 with Susan-ann Walker) gaining 2 nominations for best original songs in cabaret with the Victorian Green Room Awards. She has also directed, co-written and been dramaturge on many award-winning shows.

“I’ve been performing in cabaret for over 20 years in Australia and in London,” said Sally. “I was privileged to be one of the headline acts at the inaugural Melbourne Cabaret Festival 10 years ago and since then have watched the festival grow and continue to present some of the best talent around.”

Entertainer, writer and educator, Drew Downing is proud to be an Ambassador for the tenth anniversary of Melbourne Cabaret Festival. He is currently the Musical Director of the Melbourne Gay & Lesbian Chorus and Musical Director / Producer at Front & Centre Australia, where he has helped craft solo showcases for over thirty artists.

Drew’s compositions have been heard throughout Australia as part of National Children’s Book Week. His musical Rebel featured at Midsumma and the 2014 Melbourne Cabaret Festival (Greenroom Nomination Best Original Songs). His new work Beautiful Things: A Really Good Looking Musical is currently in development following a workshop at Chapel off Chapel.

He also created the book and arrangements for A Super Brady Cabaret and Grease 2: Live In Concert. His sell-out concerts include Let It Be: The Songs of Lennon & McCartney and God Only Knows: The Songs of Brian Wilson. An advocate for quality music education, Drew has served as a consultant and presenter in Australia, New Zealand and the USA, including the international Arts Schools Network.

“The Melbourne Cabaret Festival is the perfect place to trial original works or launch a major concert,” said Drew. “There’s a show and a seat for everyone.”

The 2019 Melbourne Cabaret Festival runs 19 – 30 June. For more information, visit: www.melbournecabaret.com for details.

Image: Sally Bourne and Drew Downing (supplied)

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