The founder of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Frank Ford, shares his passion for the art form.

“I was adamant that we shouldn’t just have a glamourous lady singing into a microphone, so we came up with a classy, stylised cat. It seemed to say so much more about what we were trying to do.”

In his North Adelaide home, Frank Ford, the founder of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, is pointing to a beautiful, framed collection of the first 10 program covers from the annual South Australian event. In pride of place hangs an enlarged cover of the first festival’s poster, with a sassy cat, the Festival’s first mascot, centre stage, generously signed by those who’d been part of it. “All of us involved then had no idea whether it would work or what it would become. But here we are, 15 years later. It’s quite something really, when I think on it.”

Softly spoken and consummately charming, Ford is a South Australian icon and a legend in artists’ circles across Australia. He was recently honoured as an Australian of the Year and is affectionately known as the ‘Father of the Fringe’.