On the Couch with David Read

David Read_oncWho is David Read?
Artistic Director of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival – one of Melbourne’s key winter arts events.

Who inspires you and why?
Performers who have the guts to perform cabaret! It’s the hardest of art forms – not only do you have to be able to sing, tell a story and be entertaining, you have to be absolutely honest with your audience. Cabaret audiences are very astute – any sense that you’re not sharing your soul they’ll know all about it and tune out.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
Have an international day where you replace speaking with singing. It’s good for the soul and builds a sense of community. And you sound better than you think.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I haven’t visited in a while but I do love Vietnam, particularly up north around Hanoi. It’s a charming city with lots of things to explore.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Butterfly Club – it’s a venue I used to own and manage. Taking a run-down venue that was about to close its doors and turning it into a Melbourne icon is one of the things I’m most proud. Plus, it houses Australia’s largest collection of kitsch – what’s not to love?

Other than that, I’m out seeing shows constantly, so I regularly take a guest along for the ride. Melbourne has grown a rich diversity of venues that host cabaret year round, more than every other Australian capital city combined. Visitors are amazed at the diversity of cabaret that can be found most nights in this city and that you can choose almost any suburb and there will be somewhere fabulous for dinner and a place to go on to see a show just nearby.

What are you currently listening to?
Alana Conway’s Fields of Gold, put out by ABC Music. Alana is one of the surprise packages in this year’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

Happiness is?
A sold out show.

What does the future hold for you?
Right now I’m very vocal about the fifth annual Melbourne Cabaret Festival, and will continue to be so until it’s all done and dusted for another year. Once it’s over, then I can think about the more long term future.

David Read is the founding Artistic Director of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival. He has produced and toured a number of  shows including Tim Minchin, Bob Downe, Dave Graney, Matthew Mitcham and Spanky to venues / festivals including the Sydney Opera House, Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Perth Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe Festival. David was also the former owner and operator of The Butterfly Club – Australia’s foremost cabaret entertainment venue.

The Melbourne Cabaret Festival runs from 19 June – 6 July 2014. For more information, visit: www.melbournecabaret.com for details.

Image: David Read