South Side Festival reveals 2023 program

Thought provoking performances, raucous comedy, dazzling installations, striking visual arts and fun for the whole family – the 2023 South Side Festival will delight, challenge and entertain.

Frankston City Council Mayor Nathan Conroy said after an amazing debut with sell out shows in 2022, South Side Festival is ready to deliver its new nine-day program of exciting events and shows.

“We are driven to stimulate imaginations, transform perceptions, excite and entice and South Side Festival’s dynamic programming delivers on all counts,” said Mayor Conroy.

Playing on our love for the visually spectacular, South Side’s LuminoCity features three immersive experiences that will take you on a journey from an interactive sea, to a dazzling installation and finally, an underground digital playground. Featuring White Night favourites, Skunk Control, internationally renowned lighting superstars, Mandylights, and South Australia’s sensational Patch Theatre.

Direct from performing at Sydney WorldPride 2023, jazz singer, cabaret artiste & gender transcendent diva, Mama Alto, will debut her new production, That Song Changed My Life, and Big Bao – an arts collective that produces events to give a platform to Asian-Australian artists and artists of colour, brings MELD: an immersive show of live music, movement, dance and lighting.

Returning home to Frankston fresh from four-star reviews at both Melbourne and Adelaide Fringe’s and performing at Sydney WorldPride 2023, Scratch Arts will take us on a futuristic journey in Liminal Treats, and actor/comedian, Damien Warren-Smith, and director Cal McCrystal (The Mighty Boosh, Paddington 1 & 2) prove one man truly can rule the stage in Garry Starr Performs Everything.

Academy award winner, Shaun Tan, will be exhibiting his rarely seen visual arts series, Rules of Summer, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Road Show will hit the Frankston Arts Centre stage.

There will dance parties in shipping containers, augmented reality art galleries, beautiful visual arts installations, torchlight street art tours and even an all age’s metal and hard-core gig.

“We were so thrilled with the success of South Side’s first outing last year,” said Festival Producer Freyja Macfarlane.

“The super positive responses from audiences and the creatives involved gave us great inspiration and drive to continue to support the awesome local scene and bring innovative programming to Frankston.”

“The 2023 program is jam packed with such a diverse range of events: you could be watching Roller Derby one night then submerging yourself in a surrealist interactive performance inside a light show the next!” said Macfarlane.

Multi-art performer Joseph O’Farrell, aka JOF, is excited to bring 10 Minute Dance Parties – a celebration of art and colour, costume and community, and the universal nature of dance – to South Side Festival.

“This work has toured all over the world and it means a lot to bring it back to my hometown and to a place where I spent a lot of my time as a young person growing up,” said JOF.

Karul Projects and choreographer Thomas E. S. Kelly will present their powerful First Nations dance performance, SILENCE. According to Mr Kelly, SILENCE is a seminal, First Nations Australian work developed on rich and raw grounds with the light and shade of visual storytelling in dance, dialogue and percussion.

SILENCE interprets what a 250 plus year-long denial of meaningful listening to First Nations people has done to the psyche of the people and land,” he said. “Brown feet kick up sand, earth, dirt, and dust. The sand seeps through brown fingers as it always has. Always was, always will be.”

The 2023 South Side Festival runs 5 – 14 May. For more information, visit: for details. Tickets are now on sale.

Image: Patch Theatre Company presents Sea of Light – photo by Matt Byrne