For 22 days next year, Melbourne’s queer arts and culture festival Midsumma takes over the city with artistic and cultural events that celebrate and elevate our diverse LGBTQ!A+ communities.
Launching the program earlier this week, Midsumma offered audiences an unique experience unlike anything on the city’s calendar, with an array of spectacular performances, exhibitions, talks and social events, showcasing preeminent queer arts and cultural with leading international, national and local artists.
“Festivals are so important, because at their very core they share stories and our stories are the keepers of our history,” said Midsumma Festival CEO Karen Bryant.
“Midsumma Festival is about celebrating diverse communities, in their own voice, and letting new voices move us, challenge us and most importantly entertain us.”
With events spanning 98 venues across the city and outer suburbs, this year Midsumma will present a major project, QUEER UNSETTLED; a provocative and unearthing program that claws at the themes of colonisation through live music, multidisciplinary moving image installations, and new work exhibitions.
Drag Race Thailand‘s Pangina Heals is part of an exemplar line-up in Nocturnal x Midsumma: Lunar New Year Disco, a celebration of Chinese New Year under the shiny disco ball at Melbourne Museum after dark.
With stories from Pacific Women of colour and Indigenous femmes through movement and music in BLOW and FAMILI, the unpacking of Daddy issues through a queer lens, stories through carving, tattooing and printmaking in Dark Sepia, and true stories of queer Iranian diasporas in The Sky After Rain.
With seven selected Festival Hubs at Theatre Works, Gasworks Arts Park, Chapel Off Chapel, Hare Hole, Arts Centre Melbourne and a curated family program with The Melba Spiegeltent and Midsumma Westside, there is truly something for everyone to experience and explore.
“Our Midsumma program is a carefully curated collection of voices and projects that both document queer history and explore new ideas,” says Arts Centre Melbourne Director of Programming, Edwina Lunn.
“We are thrilled to present a series of diverse, honest and inspiring Australian works as part of the Festival this year.”
Arts Centre Melbourne’s Midsumma program includes The Rise and Fall of Saint George, inspired by a much-loved mural of George Michael in Sydney’s Inner West that was destroyed in a series of attacks the day after the ‘yes’ result in the 2017 marriage equality plebiscite. Australian music icon Paul Mac teams up with playwright Lachlan Philpott and director Kate Champion to tell a story of community solidarity and freedom through song and electronica.
St Martins in collaboration with Minus18 present a series of microfilms produced by trans and gender non-conforming young people based in Melbourne in Escape Velocity: We Are Who We Are. Escape Velocity is a multi-disciplinary art project calling for society to build a collective momentum and become allies to trans and gender non-conforming young people.
Comedian Joel Creasey plays Prince George of Wales at Chapel Off Chapel in The Boy, George, a biting, hilarious solo play, written by the award-winning Patrick Livesey. Queen Elizabeth II is dead, protests have erupted all over Britain, and the government is refusing to swear allegiance to the new King Charles. Meanwhile, inside Kensington Palace a teenage boy has some fast decisions to make. Can Prince George save the monarchy and the country while also fulfilling his ambition to be the biggest, most fantastic, most adored celebrity in royal history?
With Gasworks Arts Park bringing Big Glittery Sh!tshow to its Midsumma program, a sexy, jaw dropping circus spectacle some of Melbourne’s most skilled and shocking performers, and the premiere of Australia’s first ever dildo throwing act, strap in (and on): this is the turkey slap in the face you’ve been waiting for.
Midsumma Carnival kicks everything off on 19 January, as we take over over Alexandra Gardens for a day of celebration and entertainment, while Midsumma Pride March will see parading and partying in St Kilda on 2 February.
Tickets are on sale, and with so much queer arts and culture on offer, what better Christmas gifts to get your family and friends? Check out the full program here.
Midsumma are still looking for volunteers. If you’d like to help support the festival and make new friends in the process, you can find out how you can apply here.
Midsumma Festival takes place from Sunday, 19 January to Sunday, 9 February 2020.