A ten-minute dance session for ten people at a time, held in a caravan. A future-focused art party featuring live performance, projection, visual art and music. A photo exhibition exploring the transformation of Australia's premier drag performers. Now that's how you mark three decades of celebrating Melbourne's LGBTIQA+ community and showering the city in queer arts and culture — and it's only the beginning of Midsumma Festival's 2017 lineup.
Hitting the big three-oh is a spectacular affair and then some for the annual fest, complete with more than 130 events in the program. Keeping the impressive numbers going — and growing, as they have since Midsumma first kicked off in 1988 — the forthcoming iteration will also feature the work of over 1200 artists and culture creators in more than 70 venues and outdoor space, including hubs at Arts Centre Melbourne, Gasworks and The Hare Hole at Hares & Hyenas.
As always, the annual Pride March through St Kilda proves one of the festival's must-attend highlights, alongside the fellow returning flagship event that is the Midsumma Carnival and T Dance. At the former, everyone will dance, strut, sing, catwalk, vogue, placard, drag and move together in a display of difference, acceptance and equality. At the latter, prepare to party all day and night, watch queer sports and even see a dog show, all at Alexandra Gardens.
Other standouts include a showcase of portraits of LBTI women by photographer Lisa White, a new take on Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince by the folks behind Psycho Beach Party, a reimagined version of Fringe favourite dance piece HardQueer DeathPony, and UK drag stars Jonny Woo and Le Gateau Chocolat working their way through musical theatre hits such as Les Mis, The Lion King, Cabaret and Annie. Or, hear marriage equality activist and Queen of Ireland star Panti Bliss share her experiences, catch a comedy cabaret about how to be a wingman, enjoy the Cuddle Puddle (yes, it's exactly what it sounds like), pay tribute to Elizabeth Taylor, show off your interpretative dance skills and participate in the Muddy Gras obstacle course. It's going to be a fun and busy three weeks, that's for sure.
Midsumma 2017 runs from January 15 to February 5. For more information about the festival, including the full program guide and ticket sales, visit midsumma.org.au