Australia’s premier 22-day queer arts experience, Midsumma Festival, has launched its 2020 program featuring 194 events, with over 5,000 culture-makers involved in events across 98 venues around Melbourne CBD and outer suburbs throughout January and February.
Celebrating LGBTQIA+ diverse journeys and communities, Midsumma will spotlight an array of spectacular performances, exhibitions, talks and social events, showcasing preeminent queer arts and cultural festivities with leading international, national and local artists.
In 2020, Midsumma will present 163 open access events made for and by queer communities who live with shared experiences around diverse gender and sexuality – as well as a specifically curated program, Midsumma Presents – which will highlight the unsung heroines and unheard voices of queer intersectional communities of this time.
This year, Midsumma Festival will present the 2020 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.
The exemplar line-up includes Drag Race darlings from Thailand in Nocturnal x Midsumma: Lunar New Year Disco – a celebration of Chinese New Year under the shiny disco ball at Melbourne Museum after dark.
Stories from Pacific Womxn 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.
“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.”
Midsumma Festival will also include audience favourites – the highly regarded Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award exhibition and a night of red carpet, glitter and a galaxy of LGBTQIA+ stars Bob Downe, Kirsty Webeck, Tom Ballard, Nath Valvo, Dolly Diamond and Drag Race Thailand’s Pangina Heals in a showcase of Midsumma Extravaganza at Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall.
POWER – a homage to queer women and non-binary musicians of Melbourne, with a music festival of queer musicians across two nights at Chapel Off Chapel featuring imbi the girl and HANDOME, and four Australian finalist take the stage in Queer Playwriting Award Showcase at Gasworks Arts Park.
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, audiences will be treated to arts and culture every night of the 22 day festival.
Additional highlights of the festival include: the Victorian premiere of Campion Decent’s The Campaign – telling an historic and emotionally-charged story about real-life events that changed Tasmania for the better; and the the Australian premiere of Frances Poet’s Adam – if you are born in a country where being yourself can get you killed, exile is your only choice – the remarkable true story of a young trans man having to make that choice and begin his journey.
International award-winning company Casus Circus come to Melbourne with their much anticipated and exclusive 2020 Midsumma Festival season of You & I – an empowering hour of skill using high level acrobatics, magical trapeze, and dance – a celebration of identity and the loving relationship between two men at Gasworks Arts Park.
Following critically acclaimed seasons in Perth and Adelaide, the stunning Ziegfeld Boys return to Melbourne with Sugarbabies – a boylesque revue that delves into the world of the sugardaddy/sugarbaby phenomenon; and Steven Fales performs a transformational true story of extremes – from perfect Mormon Boy in Utah to perfect Rent Boy in Manhattan – in Confessions of a Mormon Boy at Chapel Off Chapel.
Midsumma Carnival – a one day, 11 hour festival taking over Alexandra Gardens, will kick off Midsumma on Sunday 19 January – attracts 110,000 attendees annually, and Midsumma Pride March will parade and party in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda on Sunday 2 February celebrating Pride March’s 25th anniversary, showing that marching for pride is more important now than ever before. After pride celebrations will be held on the foreshore of Catani Gardens until 4.00pm on the Summer Pride Stage.
The 2020 Midsumma Festival runs Sunday 19 January to Sunday 9 February. For more information, and full program, visit: www.midsumma.org.au for details.
Image: The Sky After Rain (supplied)