The Midsumma Festival 2018 program was revealed last night at the State Library of Victoria.

Boasting over 170 events and more than half of the program being dished up for free, Midsumma Festival is bigger, more accessible, and more diverse than ever.

Featured events over 22 days will include The Cocoa Butter Club: Midsumma Special, a co-presentation with Arts Centre Melbourne that comes from a sold-out debut season at the Melba Spiegeltent, a cabaret celebration of queer and trans people of colour and queer First Nations artists.

We Are Here, curated by Angela Bailey, sees five outstanding contemporary artists bring to life queer histories drawn from State Library Victoria and Australia Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Drawing on Melbourne’s rich comedy culture, the festival will host for the first time the Midsumma Comedy Extravaganza. Co-presented with Arts Centre Melbourne, hosted by Joel Creasey and curated by local comedian Thomas Jaspers (AKA Rhonda Butchmore), it features a line-up of the best in queer comedy: Lori Bell, Dolly Diamond, Bobby Macumber, Steven Oliver and Kirsty Webeck.

Never a Crime at the Abbotsford Convent is a photographic exhibition of portraits by Lisa White that explores mature-aged men’s experiences of homosexual law reform and Victoria’s expungement scheme.

QueerTech.io is a leap into the digital realm, presenting an extraordinary online survey of queer digital visual art works accompanied by a special one-off screening at ACMI.

Other highlights include the Midsumma Youth Spectacular at the Melba Spiegeltent (a collaboration with Minus18); Midsumma at ArtPlay (in partnership with City of Melbourne’s ArtPlay), a creative space for diverse families; and Black Magic (in partnership with Incinerator Gallery), which presents queer Indigenous voices in visual art.

Submissions are now open for the prestigious Midsumma Australia Post Art Prize, with a prize pool of $7,000 and the finalists to be announced on December 15 at No Vacancy, QV Gallery.

Celebrate the festival’s finale on the closing weekend with Midsumma Horizon at State Library Victoria—an arty party to celebrate queer history, where revellers can get their portraits taken throughout the night to be archived for posterity in a time capsule at Australia Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Festival favourite Midsumma Carnival kicks off the 22-day season on January 14, with Pride March on January 28.

The full program is online. Early bird tickets are available with a 15 per cent discount until December 9.

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