For the first time ever, The Courthouse Hotel on Errol St in North Melbourne will be playing host to over 50 artists from different background in three nights of comedy, cabaret, dance, piano bars, and improvisation.

Julie Phillips, the owner of The Courthouse, wants the venue to become known as an artist-friendly hub: “We met so many great young people when we were a venue in Melbourne Fringe last September, and wanted to provide a space for them to showcase their talents, at minimal cost. It benefits us, it benefits the community and the arts.”

Phillips has offered every artist participating in the festival access to their upstairs function room for future performances and rehearsals, as well as creating ‘artists passes’ for all participants, so they can see each others’ shows, and attend a closing party on the Sunday where they can network.

Organising the festival are Ben Tombs, Morven Smith and Isabella ValetteValette originally trained in Musical Theatre in the UK, then, upon returning to Melbourne, wrote ‘Media Release,’ a cabaret/comedy that toured around Australian festivals. It was at these festivals she met many independent artists, including comedians, cabaret singers, musicians and circus performers. Continuing her training in Musical Theatre, she regularly attends singing and dancing classes in Melbourne so also has networks with many ‘upcoming musical theatre stars and professional dancers.’ She is also a member of Improvisational troupe ‘Impromptunes, the Completely Improvised Musical!’ – a troupe comprised of performers of many members of the improv community and different theatre backgrounds. Morven and Ben have both been involved in comedy and theatre for many years from days in community and amateur theatre through to their successful fringe comedy festival shows to their move into behind the scenes work.

With hosts such as Dolly Diamond and Fancy Boy’s Stuart Daulman, as well as drink specials, delicious winter warmer food, Winterfest 2015 promises to be an extravagant three days of food, drink and entertainment – the perfect antidote to any mid-winter blues!

Winterfest 2015
Thursday – Improvisation from 7.30pm – 8.30pm. Late night comedy from 9 – 10pm.
Friday – Live Cover band from 6.30pm – 7.30pm. Variety night from 8pm.
Saturday – Piano Bar with Rising Musical Theatre Stars from 6pm. Variety Closing Gala from 8pm.
When: 2nd, 3rd, 4th July.
Venue: The Courthouse Hotel, Cnr Queensberry and Errol St, North Melbourne Tickets: Tickets on the door, cash only.
One show – $10
Two shows – $15
Lounge shows – Free entry
More in here

Thursday Night comedy
MC – Geoff Setty

Mayumi Nobetsu
Brianna Williams
Peter Jones
David RoseMichaelMichael Shafar

Michael Shafar

Friday night variety
Band – Grant Buse and Isabella Valette
MC – Dolly Diamond

Luka Muller
Blake Freeman
Gamze Kirk
Jane Schofield
Sonia Di Iorio
Linda Beatty
Megan McKay

Saturday Night 
MC – Stuart Daulman

Natasha York
Paul Culliver
Hammertime and Biggish
Hayley Brennan
Grant Buse
Skylar Delphinus
Amberly Cull
Mark Pengilly
Eden Maree
Isabella Valette
Em O’ Loughlan

Musical Theatre/Piano Bar singers 

Jack O’ Riley
Amelia Stubbs
Natasha York
Isabella Valette
Ashleigh Krevald
Joel Pascowalski
Amberly Cull