My Darling Hearts, The Ballarat Cabaret Festival has returned!

We have heard your calls for the return of cabaret to Ballarat and we have answered. 
Cabaret has been a central part of the culture of Ballarat since the very beginning. 
Ballarat Cabaret Festival pays its respects to the traditional owners of the land, the Wadawurrung Peoples of the Kulin Nation and honors their traditional songs and dances connected to this land. 
In the times of the gold rush Ballarat's halls of celebration were filled with cabaret. We were graced by the stratospheric arias of Dame Nellie Melba and the sensuous dances of Lola Montez as well as many more. 
The Ballarat Cabaret Festival has been brought back under the direction of operatic cabaret sweetheart Issie Hart (They/Them). Hart is an internationally established cabaret artist with Ballarat roots. They are passionate about Cabaret and passionate about Ballarat. 

Our Team

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Issie Hart

"This Is Real Cabaret"

Kate Copstick

The Scotsman 2009

Issie Hart is an internationally established cabaret artist with Ballarat roots.

Hart graduated from the Arts Academy on Camp St in '06 and has been performing solo works, circus variety shows, opera, magic and all sorts of other nonsense ever since. 

Hart is passionate about Cabaret and passionate about Ballarat. 


Nellie Minnelli

Ballarat born and bred with a theatrical career spanning 30 years, Nellie Minnelli has worked in cabaret, classical dance, musical theatre, vaudeville, and comedy.

A trailblazer of variety performance, Nellie founded the first and only regional burlesque and vaudeville school here in Ballarat.


Nellie is a performer, choreographer, production manager, stage manager, director, producer and mentor.

Nellie is incredibly passionate about cabaret and firmly believes that live entertainment is needed now more than ever.

Garth Horsfield

Garth Horsfield is an artist and musician, specialising in electronic music and best known for his work in Immaculata; a new-romantic musical collaboration spanning nearly 3 decades.


He is also a contemporary painter and graphic designer, currently returned to university to finish off some credentials and has been a contributor to Ballarat Arts through acapella group "Singers of the Black Book", Renaissance dancing, Fashion parades, Musical performance, The 11th Hour Goth Festival 1999, Sound engineering, and fine art.  He managed the much loved small independent music venue "Babushka" for 6 years, hosting many local musicians as well as professional touring artists. 

Support For the Ballarat Cabaret Festival

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What They're Saying About Our Artists

“Radical, transgressive chic” - The Guardian, UK

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