Mike McLeish named new Artistic Director of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival

Melbourne Cabaret Mike McLeishStar of Keating the Musical and seasoned cabaret performer, Mike McLeish has been announced as the new Artistic Director of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be stepping in to the role of Artistic Director for the Melbourne Cabaret Festival,” says Mike. “I am genuinely thrilled and immensely proud to have the opportunity to contribute to the continued growth of what has quickly become a welcome fixture on our fair city’s overflowing festival calendar.”

“The amount that David Read and Neville Sice have contributed to cabaret in this city (and this country!) is inestimable. The chance to work with them to take this festival to new and greater heights gives me the best kind of goosebumps. Plus, as has always been the case, the calibre and sheer depth of talent on offer in Melbourne is astounding, and to be in a position that allows me to help unleash that talent onto audiences fills me with a feverish delight.”

Outgoing Artistic Director David Read, who founded the festival with Neville Sice six years ago, and has overseen a quadrupling of the festival’s size, will stay on as a director of the not-for-profit Melbourne Cabaret Limited.

“It’s been an absolute privilege working with performers, producers and the festival team to deliver a festival which consistently punches above its weight,” says David. “While I’ll continue to help the festival develop, I’m also looking forward to the growing opportunities in my publicity business Hot Ticket PR.”

The Melbourne Cabaret Festival has opened submissions on its website (www.melbournecabaret.com) for its 2016 festival, which will be held 15 – 26 June. The festival will also produce a series of variety nights to give performers the opportunity to pitch their shows direct to the festival at The Butterfly Club: 9 – 13 December 2015.

Mike McLeish is best known to Australian audiences for his portrayal of Paul Keating in Casey Bennetto’s hugely successful production of Keating! The Musical. Since that time, Mike has appeared in Eddie Perfect’s Shane Warne The Musical and Chunky Move’s Two Faced Bastard, as well as performing with renowned musical improvisation troupe Spontaneous Broadway, subversive cabaret trio The Beautiful Losers, and forming a musical comedy partnership with Rusty Berther (ex Scared Weird Little Guys).

Mike’s first self-penned solo cabaret show, The World is Winning played to sold-out audiences at The Butterfly Club and the Famous Spiegeltent in Melbourne, as well as the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. He then co-wrote and performed in the comedic play, Plus One with his wife and collaborator, Fiona Harris, at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. His latest cabaret, Message To My Girls premiered at the Melbourne Cabaret Festival in June 2014.

Mike played born-again preacher, Ricky Truswell in the recent production of Nick Enright and Max Lambert’s Miracle City at the Hayes Theatre in Sydney, and he will soon be seen starring in Georgy Girl – The Seekers Musical. Off the stage, he has appeared in television guest roles on Utopia, Offspring, The Librarians, Bed of Roses, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Lowdown, and was employed as a songwriter, music adviser and actor in both series’ of the ABC drama, The Time of Our Lives.

For more information, visit: www.melbournecabaret.com for details.

Image: Mike McLeish (supplied)