International Superstar Matt Gilbertson – Hans awarded Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2023 Icon Award

In front of a full house at the Festival Theatre, beloved South Australian entertainer, Matt Gilbertson – Hans, “International superstar” has been announced as the recipient of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2023 Icon Award at The Variety Gala.

Australia’s favourite Berlin boy-wonder and award-winning performer is a crowd favourite at Adelaide Cabaret Festival and has performed his own sold-out shows throughout the years, including playing the outrageous host of The Variety Gala in 2021 alongside Artistic Director, Alan Cumming.

In 2018, Hans won the hearts of 16 million Americans with his cheeky and electrifying song and dance routines on NBC TV series, America’s Got Talent and returned to the USA to appear on America’s Got Talent: The Champions, competing against the very best contestants from around the world before making it to the Grand Final: In his own words, “Darling, I went there to make America glitter again. It was calling me, and I answered!”

“This year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival Icon Award has been presented to one of the most deserving performers and a long and loyal friend of Adelaide Festival Centre,” said Adelaide Cabaret Festival Executive Producer, Alex Sinclair.

“Matt Gilbertson – Hans – encompasses everything that makes a cabaret artist glitter; wit, charm, musicality, talent, tenacity, and the special ability to make audiences belly laugh.”

“We are sure South Australians will join us in celebrating Matt’s incredible contribution to the entertainment and arts industry locally, nationally and around the world,” said Sinclair.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival’s Cabaret Icon Award celebrates and acknowledges pioneers and prominent figures that have had a significant impact on the Australian cabaret industry.

The first Cabaret Icon Award was presented in 2013 when the festival was under the artistic direction of Kate Ceberano. The Award is now an annual tradition the festival is proud to present to the country’s finest cabaret creators.

Previous recipients of the award include the inaugural recipient Reg Livermore AO (2013), Rhonda Burchmore OAM (2014), Frank Ford AM (2015), Robyn Archer AO (2016), Debra Byrne (2017), David Bates (2018), Meow Meow (2019), David Campbell OAM (2020), Paul Capsis (2021) and Libby O’Donovan OAM (2022).

The 2023 Adelaide Cabaret Festival kicks off this weekend with a star-studded line-up of the brightest and boldest performers. Audiences will be entertained, delighted, and downright dazzled by a glittering smorgasbord of cabaret classics and brand-new shows alike, also part of Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th Anniversary celebrations throughout June.

Curated by an all-star line-up of nine Artistic Directors, The Cabaret Collective – Julia Holt, David Campbell and Lisa Campbell, Kate Ceberano, Eddie Perfect, Ali McGregor, Julia Zemiro, Alan Cumming and Tina Arena – this year’s program features 342 artists and musicians across 91 performances including 13 world premieres and 20 Adelaide premieres by a large contingent of Australian artists and performers from the USA, United Kingdom, and France.

Each Artistic Director has brought their own flair to the program, with some performing their very own shows as part of the opening weekend’s stellar line-up, including Kate Ceberano’s Festival Theatre show My Life Is A Symphony with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, celebrating her illustrious 40-year music career.

Julia Zemiro and Brian Nankervis bring back RocKwiz, this time saluting Adelaide and one of Australia’s most prolific writers and composers, Eddie Perfect (Shane Warne: The Musical, Beetlejuice), brings his world premiere show to the Banquet Room stage – The Blank Page.

In an Australian premiere, Ali McGregor, who shares her golden 50th year with Adelaide Festival Centre, brings her brand-new show to the Dunstan Playhouse stage: Fool’s Gold with her six-piece band. Ali will also host the guaranteed good time late night club – Late Nite Variety-Nite Night – throughout the first weekend in the Banquet Room.

Other Festival highlights include: the legendary Robyn Archer, who presents An Australian Songbook, spanning 150 years of Australian voices from rock, folk, country, and musical theatre, in the Dunstan Playhouse; while Helpmann Award winner Michael Griffiths gets personal in the world premiere of It’s A Sin – Songs of Love and Shame, in Space Theatre.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival Icon Award 2022 winner Libby O’Donovan joins renowned jazz vocalist Michelle Nicolle and The Yankalilla Miracles to belt out hit songs from the 60s to the 90s in More Than A Melody.

Performing with an 18-piece orchestra, international cabaret star Reuben Kaye will present the world premiere of his show enGORGEd – an extra show has been added due to popular demand. Adelaide Tonight with Bob Downe and Willsy is back by popular demand during the second week of the festival.

ARIA Award Winner Vince Jones performs the much-loved songs from the ABC television series Come In Spinner soundtrack, which became the highest-selling Australian jazz album of all time, accompanied by a 17-piece big band and special guest Nina Ferro.

Returning to Adelaide Cabaret Festival for the first time in a decade, direct from the US, internationally acclaimed cabaret great Mark Nadler will perform two shows. The charismatic New Yorker will take to the stage with Hootenanny and The Old Razzle Dazzle – both on the second weekend of the festival.

Following sold-out UK tours, Sarah-Louise Young brings her show, An Evening Without Kate Bush, to Australia for the first time and pays homage to the music, majesty, and mythology of one of the most influential voices in British music.

Grammy Award winning chanteuse Rizo’s show Prizmatism makes its Australian premiere in the final weekend

The 2023 Adelaide Cabaret Festival continues to 24 June. For more information and full program, visit: for details.

Image: Hans on stage at the Adelaide Festival Centre – photo by Claudio Raschella