The 2019 Midsumma Festival program launched in spectacular fashion last night at North Melbourne’s Meat Market. Tickets are now on sale at a 15% Early Bird discount until 29 November, for Victoria’s premier LGBTQIA+ cultural festival taking place 19 January to 10 February.
Midsumma Presents will once again showcase a multitude of diverse events, including Dancing Qweens, a social history of queer dance performed by Melbourne’s queer iconoclast James Welsby. Melbourne Museum will host a musical takeover with Nocturnal featuring Nakhane, South African musician and queer rights advocate. The widely recognised and reputable Midsumma and Australia Post Art Prize returns once again to No Vacancy Gallery. Be the first to see new queer plays in the making with Playtime Staged Readings, where the audience’s votes and feedback will be heard as an industry panel will select one work to receive development support of up to $10,000 to become a full-scale production at Midsumma Festival 2020. Last year’s winner, Become the One, will showcase at Gasworks Arts Park during Midsumma 2019.
Program highlights from BODY include Beast by Krishna Istha, part stand-up comedy and part performance at Arts House, directed by Zoe Coombs Marr exploring the life of a trans person in 2019 and how taking testosterone can transform you into a social renegade. Also showing at Arts House is HR, an industrial manifesto on beauty, labour and embodiment by performance artist Bonnie Hart. De/Afficiency, a new responsive visual art installation by leading local artist Debris Facility. BodMod Salon, creatively explore expressions of identity in body casting workshops and Panopticon, a one-off performance by Melbourne vocalist and electronic percussionist, Simona Castricum. More at Arts House includes HABITS and friends– a late-night party featuring popular, dark-techno duo, HABITS, and Silvia Calderoni– international intersex artist featured in MDLSX by Motus.
Unzipped is a fruity exhibition of miniature dioramas and potty-mouthed puns, presented by Lord Coconut, the men’s handcrafted jewellery specialist, in conjunction with installation street artist Tinky, celebrating the Festival and diversity in all its glory (holes) through a unique world of miniature proportions. Globally recognised Wank Bank and Pussy Play Masterclass comes to Midsumma off the back of award wins at Adelaide and Stockholm Fringe, as well as nominations at the Green Room Awards and Fringe World. Sexperts and real-life cousins Rural Ranga and Strawberry Siren bring two different playful shows of storytelling and interactive genital techniques.
Winner of Best Emerging Artist at Adelaide Fringe comes Cazeleon: the movies in My Mind, (pictured left) hot off her world tour. The Melbourne debut is a cinematic feast of gorgeous visuals matched by the drag stars powerhouse vocals in this tale of self-discovery, gender politics and liberation, heralded as one of the UK’s fastest-rising cabaret stars.
This year sees the premiere of a landmark new ballet-opera Orpheus by Evan Lawson and choreographed by Ashley Dougan, a thrilling retelling of the ancient Greek myth Orpheus which explores the sad tale of his love Eurydice as well as his untold gay relationship with fellow Argonaut, Calias. This new opera is a first in Midsumma’s Festival history.
Arts Centre Melbourne will host Merciless Gods, a brutal and tender examination of queer immigrant experiences in Australia, unveiling the hidden faces of ancient capricious deities on mortal soil. Returning to Midsumma Festival 2019, this award-winning collection of theatrical vignettes from queer indie wunderkinds Little Ones Theatre is based on the writing of acclaimed author and observer Christos Tsiokas.
Tickets are on sale at midsumma.org.au. Midsumma Festival is Victoria’s premier LGBTQIA+ cultural festival, made for and by communities who live with shared experiences around diverse gender and sexuality. Midsumma works year-round to provide artists with support and tools to create, present and promote their work at the annual festival.