London cabaret convention premiere

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Organisers have confirmed that London's first cabaret convention, featuring performers from both sides of the Atlantic, will finally go ahead next month - five years later than planned.

Greenwich Theatre has agreed to host the London Cabaret Convention on February 22 at the conclusion of the venue's annual Musical Voices festival.

Sponsored by the Mabel Mercer Foundation, an American-based non-profit organisation which has supported the New York Cabaret Convention for 14 years, the showcase was originally scheduled to take place in October 1999 but had to be postponed due to funding problems.

Foundation executive director Donald Smith said: "We have been working for the last five years to present such an event in London, given the rapturous reception similar programmes have received in places like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Springs and Philadelphia.

"With no major corporate sponsor we rely purely on ticket sales and the generosity of those who believe that music from composers like Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim must be heard. There are fewer and fewer outlets that showcase such material and those who perform it. Thus, to have the forum offered by Greenwich Theatre is essential to the continuation of our work and we hope to use the convention to kick off an annual series of London performances."

Fascinating Aida, singers Karen Akers, Sharon McKnight and Anna Bergman and Broadway performer Craig Rubano will be among the artists appearing at the cabaret convention, bringing the venue's two-week musical theatre festival to a close.

Now in its second year the Musical Voices programme includes UK premieres of three new musicals, a celebration of Gilbert & Sullivan performed by opera singer Frances McCafferty and a special Valentine's Day recital by a cappella group Black Voices.