14 January – 4 February
What is Midsumma Festival without a throng of incandescent divas dishing up the talent? This year audiences will be hard pushed to choose between comedy legends, art rock eccentrics, celebrity drag queens, cabaret and pop pioneers.
Drawing on legacies of vintage torch singers and her own identity as a queer person of colour, the supreme diva, jazz singer and cabaret artiste that is Mama Alto leads audiences over the rainbow to discover empowerment, empathy and ecstasy in Mama Alto: Queerly Beloved.
Now synonymous with Midsumma Festival, Dolly Diamond brings her 15 Year Anniversary Gala to live it up with fans – an epic affair with the Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus, Footscray-Yarraville City Brand, the Melbourne Rainbow Band and members of Australia’s favourite a’cappella group The Phones.
South African performer Belinda Davids – winner of the BBC’s Even Better Than the Real Thing – commands the stage with an uncanny physical and vocal resemblance in The Greatest Love of All – The Whitney Houston Show, and Crown Prince of Comedy Joel Creasey (pictured below) brings the cream of the queer comedy crop in Midsumma Comedy Extravaganza.
Ireland’s foremost drag queen and queer activist, Panti Bliss stars in RIOT – a disorderly cocktail of party and politics, and a love-letter of hope to the future. After a sell out season at the Dublin Fringe Festival – taking out Best Production and breaking box-office records – this is bound to be a Midsumma hot ticket, with a different local performer strutting their stuff each night.
Taylor Mac left a lasting impression on Melbourne audiences recently with their transcendent 24-Decade History of Popular Music. Now Midsumma audiences can sample more of the New York star when their subversive stage play Hir, named in New York Times’ Top 10 Theatre for 2015, is presented by Red Stitch Actors Theatre.
One of the art world’s foremost shape-shifters: singer-songwriter, musician, poet and visual artist Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (co-founder of bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV) performs at The Substation, which will also be the only place in Australia to host Genesis’ exhibition: Loyalty Does Not End With Death.
Launched at The Melba Spiegeltent earlier this year with a sell out show, The Cocoa Butter Club showcases sizzling-hot, queer performers of colour hosted by Nayuka Gorrie (writer for Vice, Junkee) and Davey Thompson (Circus Oz) – a variety night of stunning burlesque, performance art, dance, drag and more to challenge, inspire and entertain audiences.
Following the success of In Vogue: Songs by Madonna and Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox, Helpmann award winning performer Michael Griffiths returns to complete his female pop diva trilogy with Lucky: Songs by Kylie.
And last, but by no means least, much-loved Melbourne party-starter Karen From Finance (pictured above) will take over multiple rooms of the Brunswick Mechanics Institute with her cabaret drag spectacular Klub Korporate.
Midsumma Festival 2018
14 January to 4 February