Midsumma Festival returns in 2024 and presents A Brave(R) Space

Midsumma-2024-Bloodlines-photo-by-The-HuxleysMidsumma Festival returns in 2024 to once again showcase a diverse celebration of distinguished queer arts and cultural festivities from 21 January – 11 February.

Celebrating the LGBTQIA+ communities since 1988, Midsumma Festival proudly presents over 200 events showcasing queer culture, featuring local, interstate, and international artists in spectacular performances, talks and social events.

New for 2024, Midsumma presents A Brave(R) Spacean artistic exploration of intersectional LGBTQIA+ identities involving the commissioning, development and creation of brave new contemporary works, across all art forms, for queer professional artists of all ages, disability, QPoC (Queer People of Colour), First Nations and Trans and Gender Diverse communities.

The concept behind A Brave(R) Space has been developed from the significant groundwork that Midsumma has been undertaking over the last seven years, building capacity within LGBTQIA+ marginalised arts communities, and striving to be a leader in diverse arts engagement for both artists and audiences, with a strong track record in successfully developing frameworks for projects that are led directly from within marginalised artistic communities.

Midsumma-2024-Overflow-photo-by-Robert-CattoHighlights from Midsumma’s A Brave(R) Space program include:

A Beat To Hold Back The Dawn
Bundoora Homestead: 10 January – 23 March
A Beat To Hold Back The Dawn
is an interactive video and sound exhibition utilising cutting-edge technology. This immersive exhibition recreates Melbourne’s past and present queer nightclubs into a single utopia. Using 3D spatial data generated from photogrammetry, volumetric recordings, archival materials and with a soundtrack of pummelling beats, the work reacts in real time to visitors. This work celebrates the ongoing history and cultural significance of queer nightclubs and the important role they play in forging community and creating welcoming spaces. Award-winning filmmaker and artist Logan Mucha brings this work to life as winner of the Bundoora Art Prize at the 2023 Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award.

Abbotsford Convent: 21 January – 11 February
by The Huxleys is a multi-artform exhibition, which honours and worships legendary artists lost to HIV/AIDS. The work evokes the colourful, rebellious and creative spirit of these queer saints. The exhibition honours those who helped shift the worlds of queer art and culture into new realms, and pays a heartfelt debt to artists who paved the way and informed and inspired the practices of The Huxleys. Utilising their skills of costume design, performance, and photography, The Huxleys work is designed as a joyous sparkling séance, celebrating queer excellence.

Homophonic! The RESPECT Project
The Edge, Fed Square: 3 February
Homophonic! The RESPECT Project showcases voices and strings inspired by intergenerational conversations between queer Victorian composers and senior citizens. Expect a healthy dose of shared outrage through emotional, powerful storytelling maintaining queer cultural history through music, and humour.

La Mama Courthouse: 5 February
is a celebration of LGBTQIA+ identities, disability, and neurodiversity through performance, presented by alumni from the five years of the Midsumma Pathways Program for LGBTQIA+ artists. The show champions new work and intersectional identities through an experimental lens; with performances spanning across theatre, music, spoken word, dance, and multidisciplinary artforms.

Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne: 31 January – 4 February
is set in a flooding toilet cubicle where Rosie is determined not to be rescued again. Instead, she distracts herself with memories of bathroom encounters, drunken heart-to-hearts by dirty sinks, friendships forged in front of crowded mirrors, and hiding together from trouble. From internationally acclaimed writer and one of the UK’s most prominent trans voices, Travis Alabanza (Burgerz), presents the Victorian premiere of “a future classic”, directed by Dino Dimitriadis.

“This year is all about celebrating bravery in everyday lives. We need cultural leaders more than ever before, and we have them – everywhere we look. Midsumma Festival 2024 is going to be huge, and you don’t want to miss a moment of the rich and life changing experiences that await,” said Midsumma CEO, Karen Bryant.

Midsumma-2024-Queer-Playwriting-Award-Showcase-photo-by-Martha-Ackroyd-CurtisThe Midsumma Presents program returns in 2024 and is made up of 15 commissioned works highlighting the depth of talent and the immediacy of queer stories. Highlights include:

The Feral Queer Camp
Various Venues: 26 January – 11 February
The Feral Queer Camp
(FQC) is facilitated by a gaggle of feral queer academics, assembled by camp captains Alyson Campbell and Steve Farrier and open to anyone in the community. Become a part of a new feral cohort who will consider how we learn from each other about what makes performance queer; how we talk about queer performance; how we make performance; and, above all, how we might develop a network of queer thinkers. FQC is about seeing performance and thinking about it; with artist conversations and group discussions stemming from the performances in Midsumma Festival.

Abbotsford Convent: 8 – 10 February
is a new dance-opera and piano concerto presented by Forest Collective. Through this immersive theatrical experience, audiences will descend into the labyrinth of Greek myth, witnessing first-hand the ordeal of Theseus, Ariadne and her half-brother, the Minotaur. Taking place in the haunting corridors beneath Abbotsford Convent.

The Queer Playwriting Award Showcase
Gasworks Arts Park: 22 January
The Queer Playwriting Award Showcase is a unique night showcasing fresh excerpts from Midsumma’s top 5 finalists: The Queer Kingdom by Tom Ballard; Day for It by Lindstedt and Davies; Sexcapades by Rosemary Cann; Concrete by James Elazzi; and Men on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown by Adam Fawcett. Experience new work on stage, hear queer issues and voices and have a say in the 2024 Award selection.

The Inheritance
fortyfivedownstairs: 21 January – 11 February
The Australian premiere of the epic Tony and Olivier Award-winner for Best Play, The Inheritance will be performed in two parts. López’s landmark play takes its inspiration from E. M. Forster’s beloved novel Howards End, bridging generations. The Inheritance is an “exquisitely truthful and funny” (Telegraph) exploration of love and legacy.

Torch Song
Chapel Off Chapel: 24 January & 4, 7–10 February
Torch Song is a powerful exploration of love and acceptance within the LGBTQIA+ community. Follow Arnold Beckoff’s journey as a defiant drag performer seeking genuine connection. Directors Cal Robinson-Taylor and Phoebe Taylor create an emotionally charged experience that celebrates love’s resilience. Expect a captivating performance that sparks dialogue and honours human connections.

Also returning in 2024, is MQFF Presents: Midsumma Moviesa fun-filled summers weekend of queer cinema as Melbourne Queer Film Festival presents back-to-back screenings at The Capitol.

NGV x Midsumma will once again show how art has the power to inspire conversation and connect people across many experiences and contexts. Midsumma and NGV will come together to co-present a series of community-centred programs, tours and conversations inspired by the art and design at the NGV, exploring diverse stories and histories through works on display.

Step into a world of Museum wonder at Nocturnal – an after-hours Melbourne Museum experience just for adults, where no topic is too hot to handle, or explore the fabulous open-access program, presenting over 200 boundary-pushing events.

Major Midsumma event days:
Midsumma Carnival – Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne: Sunday 21 January 2024
Midsumma Pride March – Fitzroy Street and Catani Gardens, St Kilda: Sunday 4 February 2024
Victoria’s Pride Street Party – Smith and Gertrude Streets, Fitzroy/Collingwood: Sunday 11 February 2024

The 2024 Midsumma Festival returns from Sunday 21 January to Sunday 11 February. For more information and full program, visit: www.midsumma.org.au for details.

Images: Bloodlines – photo by The Huxleys | Overflow – photo by Robert Catto | Queer Playwriting Award Showcase – photo by Martha Ackroyd Curtis