South Australia’s Feast Festival announces 2015 Program

Michael Griffiths, Amelia Ryan, Stephen Fry, Feast Festival, AdelaideSouth Australia’s annual Feast Festival is going bigger and better than ever before with a variety of talented local, national and international artists and explosive special events this November.

Since its inception in 1997, the Festival has hosted big names including Matthew Mitcham, Joel Creasey, Beccy Cole, Hannah Gadsby and Bob Downe to name a few, and has and attracted thousands of visitors to its hub of activities. Feast’s secret to longevity is the way the Festival celebrates diversity and inclusion of the LGBTIQ community.

“Feast Festival has always delivered on its celebration of diversity and we want you to enjoy it through the plethora of queer art and culture we have to offer this year,” says Feast Festival Chair, Joshua Rayner. “With this year’s theme, Come as you are we want our community’s diversity and inclusion celebrated and recognised and more importantly we want all of you to be proud of who you are.”

The 2-week Festival promises not to disappoint overflowing with an array of cabaret/theatre, comedy, visual art, film, literature, forums and special events. Local cabaret artist Michael Griffiths has been named this year’s ambassador while international super star Conchita Wurst will be headlining the Festival. The Eurovision sensation has achieved critical recognition and acclaim since winning the Eurovision contest in 2014.

The Festival’s exciting culture aims to create a loving and accepting ambience as attendees can expect to witness a diverse range of performances from lip-syncing drag queens through to same sex dance competitions. Program highlights include:

The Art of Drag – A Night With Conchita, the Austrian bearded lady and drag queen phenomenon wowed the world in 2014 when she won the Eurovision contest with the song, Rise like a Phoenix. Conchita will be joined by Adelaide icon Vonni to host this special event that promises to be feather filled and fabulous. Performing live in Australia for the first time, the evening will feature a line-up of local and interstate drag artists.

Coinciding with the 40th Anniversary of the decriminalisation of male homosexual activity in South Australia, 2015 Homosexuality History Conference brings together over sixty South Australian, national and international presenters including academics, activists and community members exploring a range of LGBTIQ themes. The conference will be opened by Peter Duncan, Attorney General in the Dunstan Government and closed by Senator Penny Wong.

Why read a book when you can hear stories from a real life LGBTIQ person? Queer Living Books follows a concept that originated in Denmark. Readers are offered the chance to engage in an informal half hour conversation with living ‘books’ – an extraordinary group of local volunteers who share their stories. From diverse backgrounds, our recruitment of ‘books’ tell stories not given attention in mainstream media.

Direct from a smash hit run at Edinburgh Fringe, acclaimed cabaret performer and Feast Ambassador Michael Griffiths IS Annie Lennox. From the gender bending early days as one half of 80s new wave sensation Eurythmics through to her stunning solo career. Featuring unforgettable songs like Why, Thorn In My Side, Walking On Broken Glass and There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart).

First runner up on Australia’s reality show Project Runway and co-host of radio show Camp as Tits with Meshel Laurie, The Devil Wears Leigh Buchanan celebrates the story of Leigh through heart-rending song and hilarious stories of his journey through rags to riches.

A hit at the recent Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Feast Favourite Thomas Jaspers returns to Adelaide with his quick-wit humour and audience participation in Always the Bridesmaid, while Adelaide’s own cabaret darling, Amelia Ryan, returns with the multi-award winning, Storm in a D-Cup.

The endlessly fascinating, honest and self-effacing Stephen Fry, will be in Adelaide for one-night only to discuss his passionate defence of gay rights, mental health, his love of nature, and whatever else tickles his fancy. Annabel Crabb, political writer and commentator, will interview Stephen providing insights into his unique personality. This event is in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the legislation that decriminalised homosexuality in South Australia, and is in support of the work of the Don Dunstan Foundation.

The 2015 Feast Festival runs: 14 – 29 November. For more information and full programme, visit: www.feast.org.au for details.

Image: Michael Griffiths, Amelia Ryan and Stephen Fry – photos courtesy of Feast Festival

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