Interview: Simone DiSisto on CabFringe 2024

Cabaret Fringe Festival 2024She says she’s a behind-the-scenes person in the arts, which is probably why not everyone knows her name.

But everyone has very probably indeed been somewhere at something which bears the hallmark touch of our Cabaret Fringe Festival’s new producer.


Simone DiSisto is a creative producer, a designer, an educator, a storyteller, a copywriter, a techie and, if the circumstances call for it, a dogsbody.  She embodies the whole shebang of the performing arts.


Her hand has been behind the production of concerts, WOMAD events, comedy shows, kids’ culture, and all over the logistical scenes of Edinburgh Festival productions.

She has stepped into the CabFringe role because it was there, and she was there. She was assistant producer to legendary producer Lauren Thiel in 2023 so she not only knows the ropes but knows everyone involved in knotting and bow-tying them.

Not only but also, as a visual arts teacher at Marryatville High, she knows a huge stretch of the upcoming generation.


Now, aged forty-three with one thirteen-year-old child plus nine-year-old twins, she sees herself as a model Gen Xer, one who has moved through the world between analogue and digital eras.

“Technology and the world changed in our lifetimes,” she explains.

We have had to learn things on the go. But we are a generation which has the grit.”

And “grit” is important to Simone DiSisto.

She’s come through life learning one has to do the things one has to do to pay the bills.

She’s a Port Adelaide girl, through generations on her dad’s side albeit her mum’s family came from Perth. 


A few years in Wudinna did not change her attachment to the Port, or the generational family tradition of teaching. She attended Woodville High. With her dad, the distinguished sportsman David Mundy who played baseball for Australia, she was surrounded by cricketers and the spirit of Australian sports. Her dad still has an influential hand in baseball. He’s a lifelong role model to her and her siblings. One of those, Troy Mundy, has carved his own significant role internationally in the physical art of dance. This Adelaide dancer, now with business degrees under his belt, presently resides in Dubai.


Remaining in Adelaide, Simone talks of “the beauty of being a local”.

Simone is deeply committed to arts and entertainment in her hometown, to the various shades which make up cabaret and the amazingly ingenious and alluring venues in which cabaret may be performed.

“South Australia is great to grow up in, fabulously immersive in so many arts”.

Venues are one of Simone’s “things”.

She sees relationships with venues as a pivotal, and also joyful, part of her new role, one underscored by decades of working the gigs with entertainers.


She cites that genius comedian Micky D as lifelong bestie and potent influence through early Edinburgh fringes and beyond.

It all has imbued in her a love of seeing the faces of audiences and a feeling for “diverse arty spaces”.


And, of course, as a local who has been a part of the ever-evolving arts, she adds a respectful nod in the direction of the late beloved Frank Ford, father of the CabFest and also its audacious offspring, the Cab Fest Fringe.


“The Cabaret Fringe attracts beautiful audiences,” she enthuses. “It is like what the Fringe used too be. It is just the right size. People book for several shows."

Among the sprawl of entertainment options this year is, of all things, Peter Goers’ stage production of Noel Coward plays, Cowardy Custard at Holden Street Theatres. Some hundred other performances are programmed, from drag to dance to comedy to concerts. There are Libby Trainor Parker, Cossack dancers, She Shanties, Gay Bingo, burlesque, jazz, circus…


And wonderful venues, such as the Arthur Art Bar, the Howling Owl, the Gatsby Lounge, the Grace Emily, and even in its swan song, My Lover Cindi.

Simone thrives on finding and liaising with all these venues since she’s an organiser, among the many other things for this multitasker. 


There is a secret to her boundless involvements: “I’m neuro-divergent,” she laughs. “I have ADHD. It’s a bonus in the arts. I can keep going and going and going.”

She also has a can-do spirit with which she fearlessly tackles new challenges in technology. She was brought up that way.


It all comes back to those favoured terms, “grit” and “learning things on the go”.

Another is “transferrable skills” and “playful problem-solving". 

Hers is the ability to adapt and improvise, to make the most of what you find and work miracles on a shoestring, and glow with positive spirit.

No wonder, from her time doing IT, ticketing projects, and software solutions at Carclew, this versatile, rising arts identity earned the nickname “Disco Tech”.


Samela Harris


CabFest Fringe runs from May 24 to June 2 all over town.

The full program is to be found at: