QUEEN of Cabaret and Melbourne sweetheart Dolly Diamond has taken the reins of this year’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival.

The eighth annual festival runs from June 20 – July 2 at Chapel Off Chapel and will bring together ten Australian premiere shows along with some of the best new talent.

Dolly will not only act as Artistic Director of this year’s festival – she will also tell tales of her life, loves, and (alleged) lascivious behaviour in Dolly Diamond: The Lady is a Tramp.

What do you love about cabaret?

I love performing live and cabaret allows you to really get intimate with an audience. You can literally talk and sing about anything you like and a cabaret audience will go on the journey with you, if you’re any good.

Do you have a particularly fond memory you associate with going to a cabaret?

I lost my virginity at a cabaret show in Brighton in the UK If my memory serves me correct. The act had finished and we went up to my room before the encore – I took the bow for them.

How did you get involved with this year’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival?

The producers of the festival asked me to come onboard as Artistic Director and I actually took a little while to say yes, which is very unlike me (I’m a yes girl). I wanted to be sure I could do it well and still do my own show – I don’t mind hard work but you’ve got to know your capabilities.

What can fans expect this year?

The focus for me has been on local Australian talent. I see so much of it in Melbourne that it seemed logical to pick from my own gene pool and not continually look for overseas artists. I’m very happy with the result.

Can you cherry pick a few highlights from this year’s program?

The Opening Gala has a bit of everything and that gives the audience a chance to see what they want more (or less) of. I can’t pick out any other shows or we’ll have sequins at dawn.

What does the festival offer it’s LGBTI / queer audience?

Everything! Cabaret is for everyone and we don’t give a tinkers curse who you sleep with. There’s a great deal of camp in this years festival though – hello? Ethel Merman, Cilla Black, and of course yours truly. But I wouldn’t cheapen this interview by mentioning my show.

*Make sure you do though.

For more information and tickets to this year’s Melbourne Cabaret Festival visit: www.melbournecabaret.com.

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