The Brag Media
News October 18, 2018

Adelaide Cabaret Festival founder Frank Ford leaves $500k bequest for the arts

Adelaide Cabaret Festival founder Frank Ford leaves $500k bequest for the arts
Photo credit: Claudio Raschella

700 members of the Adelaide arts community met at the Adelaide Festival Centre this week to remember the achievements of arts leader Frank Ford AM who died last month aged 83.

Instead, they were told that his contribution would continue for a decade through three bequests totalling $500,000.

Ford was the founder of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival with the Julia Holt and the first chair of the Adelaide Fringe in the mid-70s.

One fund is $20,000 a year for new cabaret works to be performed at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

The festival’s current artistic director Julia Zemiro responded: “Frank was a man who clearly stood for all the good things: music, art and love.

“My talks with him inspired and energised me. His passion for theatre and music was enthralling.

“I am deeply humbled and thankful to be one of the drivers in finding excellent work through this generous yearly gift.”

Adelaide Fringe will receive $20,000 a year for the Frank Ford Award which allows a SA creative to present their work outside SA.

It’s a bequest that Fringe director Heather Croall said, “ [the donations] will make the world of difference to independent South Australian artists who always have to work so extremely hard to tour their work.

“It is very rare to see bequests directed to independent performing artists – once again Frank Ford has shown himself to be a true visionary and ahead of his time.

“This is an incredible gift to South Australian artists and adds enormously to Frank’s already deep and far-reaching arts legacy in this state”.

The third bequest is $10,000 per year for Cabaret Fringe Festival, for another SA performer to showcase outside the state.

Its director and founder Paul Boylon stated: ‘Frank always had his door open for advice whenever needed and we’re looking forward to presenting the inaugural Frank Ford award next year.’

At his passing, Adelaide Festival Centre CEO and artistic director Douglas Gautier summed up for the arts sector:

“Frank Ford was core to the fabric of arts and culture in this state.

“Frank was the father of cabaret and the very reason the Adelaide Cabaret Festival exists.

“This is a huge loss to us all, he will be remembered for his passion, mentorship and the lifetime legacy he leaves.’


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