MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture returns to Brisbane Powerhouse in May 2021

Brisbane-Powerhouse-MELTThe team behind Queensland’s most exciting celebration of LGBTIQ+ arts and culture are excited to announce the return of MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture and the annual MELT Portrait Prize in 2021.

Shining the spotlight on LGBTIQ+ culture, the 12-day festival will celebrate visibility and inclusivity among the community when it takes over Brisbane Powerhouse from 19 – 30 May 2021.

Guest Director James Lees, who previously programmed MELT in 2015, 2017 and 2018, will again spearhead a diverse and engaging festival experience in 2021. With attendance up 26% in 2019 (from 2018), James is looking forward to presenting a fresh MELT program to a growing audience of allies and LGBTIQ+ patrons.

“MELT has become a much-loved focal point for the community, sharing compelling and engaging stories with Brisbane locals and out-of-towners alike,” said Lees. “MELT will be the first festival to return in the 2021 program at Brisbane Powerhouse, and what better way to do it than with a festival that pushes boundaries, explores unique artforms, and shares stories that connect our communities through so many unique perspectives?”

“Queensland’s arts scene is abundant, and I have been lucky enough to meet so many incredible queer artists, eager to educate, challenge and entertain audiences through theatre, cabaret, music, visual arts, storytelling, forums and conversations.”

“After the cancellation of MELT in 2020, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to invite our 2020 artists back, and hope to include as many of them as possible in our 2021 program, alongside plenty of new works and artists,” said Lees.

The annual MELT Portrait Prize also returns to Brisbane Powerhouse in 2021, giving visual artists the creative license to celebrate heroes in the LGBTIQ+ community. From local icons to internationally acclaimed celebrities, the subject of these works must represent a member of the LGBTIQ+ community but are open to all artists to submit

Visual artists interested in being part of the MELT Portrait Prize have until midnight Sunday 28 February 2021 to submit their work, using any medium, including photography, illustration, painting, digital or sculptural. Winners will be displayed at the MELT Portrait Prize exhibition at Brisbane Powerhouse from Wednesday 19 May until Sunday 13 June 2021.

Visitors to the exhibition can vote for their favourite work, with a series of accolades on offer, including Judge’s Choice Award, People’s Choice Award and Highly Commended awards for a number of different categories.

An integrated digital artwork titled Becalmed by Tim Wang took home the People’s Choice Award at the MELT Portrait Prize in 2019, with Dan Molloy’s Silenced in the Shadows receiving the Judge’s Choice Award.

Brisbane Powerhouse Artistic Director, Kris Stewart said the venue has been a home for the LGBTIQ+ community since the doors opened and the team is excited for the festival to continue to grow.

“MELT belongs authentically to the local community and is Brisbane Powerhouse’s most creatively diverse event, not only across genre, but featuring works on the largest scale through to small shows that are personal and honest, intended for an intimate environment,” said Mr Stewart.

“MELT is a mirror of modern Queensland; vibrant and accepting. We’re thrilled to have James Lees on board for MELT 2021, his work always speaks so beautifully around diversity, equality and celebration of difference.”

MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture returns to the Brisbane Powerhouse from 19 – 30 May 2020. Visual artists are encouraged to submit their work for the MELT Portrait Prize via by midnight 28 February 2021. The MELT program launch will take place on Thursday 11 March 2021 at 10.00am. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture – courtesy of Brisbane Powerhouse