Midsumma Festival is proud to announce the recipients of Midsumma Futures, a nine-month development and mentorship program for emerging artists and culture-makers, kicking off in October 2018.
Delving into its second year, Midsumma Futures provides opportunities for early career artists to advance their skills, deepen their practice, gain exposure and lead the future of queer culture. The program brings together a range of emerging cultural practitioners, creating a unique space for the intersection of ideas and modes of practice. The artists are from diverse disciplines and range from producers, socially engaged practitioners, community leaders and culture-makers.
Eleven LGBTQIA+ artists have been accepted into the sought-after program, where they will be exposed to three components: workshops designed to challenge, invigorate and strengthen the participant’s practice through peer-to-peer exchange, presentations and activities, a mentorship with an established practitioner, and a VIP pass to the 2019 Midsumma Festival to experience the intersection of ideas, events and artists.
The successful and disparate 11 early-career artists involved in the Midsumma Futures 2018/19 program have been accepted after a highly competitive application process:
Daisy Catterall is a Maori Ngati Maniapoto woman based in Sydney. Daisy’s creative practice spans multiple disciplines including installations, DJing, writing, zine-making and singing.Daisy is a co-founder of New Wayfinders, an art collective of young and emerging Pasifika people based in Naarm Melbourne who are looking to explore queerness and their cultural identity through art making.
Gene Smith is program manager at Melbourne Writers Festival, as well as a literary programmer, producer, writer, and voracious reader. He has worked for some of Australia’s premier arts organisations, including Sydney Opera House, NIDA, Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Sydney Writers’ Festival.
George Munro is an emerging producer and cabaret performer who uses the alias MX Munro. George is also studying a law / arts double degree at Latrobe University, with a major in gender, sexuality, and diversity studies.
Hannah Samuel is a Melbourne-based writer and producer. In 2017 she co-wrote and co-directed an ad for Marriage Equality, executive produced by Tony Ayres. Most recently, she was deployed to Perth to work as producer’s assistant on the highly anticipated new ABC drama series The Heights.
Meri Leeworthy is an artist and designer living in Footscray. Their recent performance work Paradisiac was presented as part of Critical Mass, Melbourne Fringe 2018.
Mark Brown II, aka Nefertiti LaNegra, is a performance artist based in Melbourne, but originally from a small hamlet called Haynesville, VA (USA). He is a graduate of Brown University (Providence, RI USA) where he studied theatre arts and ethnic studies with a focus in feminism. Nefertiti is a muscle queen of color who loves nothing more than to explode, expand, and fail at drag and vocal music. When thinking about drag everyone expects a Judy Garland, but no one expects a Serena Williams – and that’s where Nefertiti fills the gap.
Nadia Bailey is a writer and critic based in Melbourne. Her creative work has appeared in journals like The Lifted Brow, Cordite Poetry Review and Voiceworks, and as a journalist she’s been published in The Australian, The Age, Australian Gourmet Traveler and more.
Romy Seven Fox (pictured) is an interdisciplinary artist and composer based in Melbourne. Her work primarily deals with exploring identity and body, protective witchcraft and navigating queer spaces as a trans-woman.
Samuel Russo is an emerging Australian performer, theatre maker, educator and director with a passion for physical dynamism, narrative and queer aesthetics. Samuel is currently developing a re- imagining of The Maids by Jean Genet with longtime collaborator Adam Ibrahim, which will preview at Midsumma Festival 2019.
Tom Backhaus a freelance producer and composer of sound design who has taken part in Melbourne productions such as Anti-Hamlet (New Working Group), The Mill on the Floss (OpticNerve Performance Group) and Astroman (Melbourne Theatre Company).
For 30 years Midsumma has been fertile ground for queer culture-makers, forging careers for some of Australia’s most respected cultural and artistic voices. Midsumma Futures provides the opportunity for today’s generation of early- career artists to advance their career, deepen their practice, gain exposure and lead the future of queer culture.
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.