sydney cabaret competition 2019

Judging and Judges



The 2019 judging panel will consist of leading industry professionals. At every stage of the competition, the judges will review contestants on the set judging criteria and will award the prizes to versatile performers of exceptional talent who will benefit from the opportunity to work with the producers and judges in the future, train further and be able to actively contribute to the industry in a positive way.

Contestants will be judged on the following aspects

  1. Technical strength in the areas of voice, performance, creativity and artistry

  2. Clear potential and suitability of being a positive representative of the producers



Catherine Alcorn

Award-winning artist Catherine Alcorn is “a jewel in the crown of Australian theatre” (ADELAIDE NOW), renowned for her powerhouse vocals, sassiness and razor sharp wit.

Most recently, Catherine won the Award in the Best Cabaret Performance category. Catherine is currently touring her critically acclaimed cabaret show ‘Cathartic.

Matt Lee

Matt Lee is an Australian singer, actor and dancer. He has starred in We Will Rock You, Rent, Grease, and Mary Poppins for which he won a Helpmann Award for Best Actor in a Musical. He was a motion capture principle for the Oscar winning film Happy Feet where he brought to life the loveable tap dancing penguin Mumble.

Trevor Ashley

Trevor Ashley is one of Australia’s most sought-after and successful performers. He has built a career and following as an actor, writer, director and international queen of cabaret – but not necessarily in that order.

He recently completed a national symphony tour of Diamonds Are For Trevor, a tribute to Shirley Bassey which was also recorded as a special for Foxtel Arts. Ashley has previously starred in Liza (on and E), Liza’s Back! (is broken), I’m Every Woman and TWINS with Rhonda Burchmore.

In 2015, Trevor made his directorial debut with Heathers: the Musical, a cult hit that began life at the Hayes Theatre Co, and transferred to QPAC, Arts Centre Melbourne and the Sydney Opera House. In 2016 he also directed, again for the Hayes, Mack and Mabel. He also conceived and directed Hear Me Roar, starring 6 of Australia’s great female vocalists. He is proudly the inaugural artistic director of Sydney International Cabaret Festival.

Queenie van de Zandt

Queenie van de Zandt is one of Australia’s leading ladies of musical theatre and cabaret, renowned for her incredible versatility as a performer having worked extensively in musical theatre, plays, cabaret, on television and film, and as a recording artist, comedienne and writer, along with being Australias leading teacher of audition technique for musicals.

Career highlights include: on television - Very Small Business and Da Kath & Kim Code (ABC 1); in theatre - Women of Troy and Abigail’s Party; on film - the Aussie feature film Girl Clock; and in musical theatre - Into the Woods, King Kong and Smoke & Mirrors.

Through Amazon Woman Enterprises, Queenie develops and performs her original work. Highlights include: 2 albums, her award-winning show BLUE: The Song of Joni Mitchell (written with musical director, Max Lambert) and her projects involving her cult alter-ego Jan van de Stool. In 2015 Queenie also co-founded The Australian Musical Theatre Academy (AMTA). AMTA offers workshops and courses for students of all skill levels, giving people the tools to live creative, passionate and fulfilling lives, working with the best instructors in Australia. Queenie has been nominated for 18 major theatre awards for her work in musicals and cabaret, winning 6 times.

Mark Sutcliffe

Mark Sutcliffe is Director, Concerts & Events for the Michael Cassel Group and has worked in the arts and entertainment industries for over 20 years in a variety of producing, marketing and tour management roles. Mark has previously been the Director of Sydney Symphony Presents and showcased talent such as Diana Krall, Lea Salonga, Josh Groban and Paloma Faith, a concert presentation of the musical Funny Girl, as well as film-in-concert projects such as La La Land, the Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises and the World Premiere of Mary Poppins in Concert.

Phil Scott

Phil Scott is one of Australia's living national showbiz treasures.  He has achieved success as an actor, singer, songwriter, pianist, composer, musical director and accompanist, political satirist, novelist and comedian.

Margi De Ferranti

Margi de Ferranti has been a part of the Australian show business industry since 1986, as an actor, singer, producer and now mentor for many up and coming musical theatre and cabaret artists. Recently Margi performed to rave reviews at The Hayes Theatre and Sydney Opera House as ‘Abuela Claudia’ - In the Heights.

Les Solomon

Les Solomon has worked in the entertainment industry for over thirty years and is best known in both Australia and the United States as a theatrical manager and agent. He is also a respected director, producer, radio broadcaster and journalist.

In February 2014, Les was awarded  "The Hayes Gordon Memorial Award for Contribution to Australian Theatre" from the GLUGS theatrical organisation.

Avigail Herman

Avigail has worked across all mediums in the entertainment industry as an actor, singer, cabaret performer, voice artist and educator. As a performer she was in the original cast of Cats, has performed in many musicals and concerts and has had a series of nationally acclaimed one woman shows.

She worked at NIDA for some 20 years both in the acting stream and then as head of the Music Theatre program which she instigated and ran from 1999- 2010.

As a voice artist Avigail most recently narrated the series Bride & Prejudice for Channel 7.

Darren Mapes

Darren Mapes has been part of the Sydney Cabaret Scene for over 20years. His first Sydney Cabaret show was at the acclaimed Tilbury Hotel, where he performed alongside Linda Nagle and Maggie Dence in a John McKellar review. He is the co-writer and creator of “The Carpenters From Kempsey”, which has toured both Nationally and throughout Asia.

Darren is a versatile performer and musician and has worked alongside Casey Donovan, Paulini, and Hayley Jenson in “Back To Bacharach”. He starred in Neil Gooding and Matthew Hendersons’s production of “Thank You For Being A Friend” and over the years, has been an accompanist for numerous cabaret performers. Darren has been the head of Brent Street’s Musical Theatre Diploma course for 7 years, and he is a highly regarded vocal coach, with many of his students appearing in mainstream Music Theatre and as successful recording artists.