A series of creative cultural arts events featuring local, interstate, and international First Nations qweer artists, thinkers, and communities.
One parent refuses to talk about sex. The other buys their child gay porn DVDs.
Sex Education by Harry Clayton-Wright explores how we learn about sex and how it shapes our lives, blending a no holds barred interview with his mum, startling performance, moving storytelling and some good old-fashioned gay porn that Harry’s dad bought for him when he was 14.
Delivered with the candour, positivity and charm that have made him an acclaimed international touring success (Briefs: Close Encounters), join Harry as he delves into his sexual past, live on stage: the good, the bad and everything in between. This is a show for anyone who’s wondered why they want what they want.
BRIGHTON FRINGE AWARD WINNER.
TOTAL THEATRE AWARD NOMINEE.
Courtyard Sessions offers free gigs at dusk in the Seymour Centre courtyard, with a diverse program that champions local LGBTQI artists.
Bigger than ever, the 2020 program includes nights presented by Sad Grrls Club and Queer as Fvck, with acts like Wolfjay, Gaia Rising, Lauren Neko, Kyva and more set to hit the stage. Bring your friends and enjoy a relaxed summer evening of good food, cold drinks and great live music.
Fri 21 Feb: Queer Trailblazers ft. Gussy, Moonsign and Reem
Sat 22 Feb: Queer As Fvck ft. Gaia Rising, Lauren Neko, DJ Scruffamudda
Sun 23 Feb: Queer Trailblazers ft. KYVA and Wolfjay
Fri 28 Feb: Not Just Grrrls by Sad Grrrls Club
A fabulous, free social event for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, intersex elders and their allies! Come along and learn new dances, enjoy delicious catering and drinks and interact with the whole rainbow community.
LGBTQI+ Elders Dance Club champions the recreational and social rights of rainbow elders, creating a space that is safe and inclusive. No dance experience necessary. Afternoon tea provided.
Curated by FEM in association with Trans Pride Australia
At a time when the trans experience is becoming more visible, we still rarely see stories by trans and gender diverse people on screens, in theatres, on bookshelves or in popular culture and when we do, they focus on coming out, surgery, discrimination and hate crimes. We’re here to tell you there’s plenty more to the trans narrative. Yes, we can be linked by feelings of gender dysphoria, name changes, surgeries and marginalisation but our stories are unique and more than our gender; they’re human stories full of love and laughter, curiosity and explorations, triumphs and hope.
My Trans Story was as a sell-out success at the 2018 and 2019 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival. This 2020 season features local and regional storytellers exploring place and belonging. They’re the “gender whisperers” the Prime Minister warned you about.
Featuring: Holly Conroy, Ted Cook, Peta Friend, Bianca Dean, Joel Wilson and more speakers to be announced.
Around the world, LGBTQI+ activists are on the frontline of protest, agitation and grassroots community organising. Queer Thinking will explore activism in our own backyard and globally, reflecting on our legacies and contending with our futures.
Bring your rage, your solidarity and your curiosity. Across two days, leading thinkers, writers, organisers and academics will traverse topics from law reform to prison abolition, mutual aid projects to data marginalisation, religious freedoms to trans liberation.
Queer Thinking will take over the Seymour Centre in Chippendale for a weekend of workshops, panels and in-conversations. In addition to the ticketed sessions, there will be free community events - a mass singalong with the Welcome Choir, a letter-writing workshop, a Big Queer Book Club presented in partnership with Better Read Than Dead, and plenty of places to continue the conversation.
Curated by Maeve Marsden and Nikki Stevens. Photos: Patrick Boland.
CLICK THE TITLES BELOW FOR INFO ABOUT EACH SESSION
- DENNIS ALTMAN IN CONVERSATION WITH RAEWYN CONNELL
12.00 noon - 1.00pm
"What has changed? What remains the same?" – Dennis Altman
Reflecting on the early days of gay liberation in Australia, the homosexualisation of America, and subsequent rise of the far right in both nations; Dennis Altman and Raewyn Connell will unpack the past, consider the present and pontificate on the future. Have we achieved post - gay? Is nostalgia a milestone around the neck of the queer revolution? And what change can one manifest from within the ivory tower?
- DOES MARRIAGE MATTER? Pride and activism in the Asia Pacific
1.30pm – 3.00pm
"Every empire, however, tells itself and the world that it is unlike all other empires, that its mission is not to plunder and control but to educate and liberate." – Edward W.Said
When Taiwan passed marriage equality in 2019, the move was celebrated globally: the first Asian nation to achieve this historic reform. But in a region with violent histories of colonialism and contemporary State oppression, does mainstream Australia’s continued focus on marriage equality as a measure of progress help or hinder? What does universal LGBTQI equality actually look like?
Featuring Patrick Thomsen (NZ), Henry Tse (Hong Kong), Matcha Pornin (Thailand) and more to be announced
- QUEER LIBERATION NEEDS PRISON ABOLITION
5.00pm - 6.00pm
"Stop police attacks, on gays, women and blacks"
The chant from the first Mardi Gras in 1978 pulled no punches. What has happened in the intervening years? LGBTIQ+ identities and behaviours are more heavily policed and criminalised than the dominant white cis-hetero population, sistergirls and trans women are locked up in male prisons, HIV transmission is criminalised - but State violence and prison abolition has dropped off the mainstream gay agenda. With cops now a feature at Pride parades, and the ever increasing demands for hate crime legislation and carceral repercussions - have we lost our way? How can we better support communities experiencing State violence, and get our abolition mojo back?
Featuring Witt Church and more to be announced.
- LETTER WRITING WORKSHOP (FREE session)
6.00pm – 6.30pm
“Y'all better quiet down. I’ve been trying to get up here all day for your gay brothers and your gay sisters in jail that write me every motherfucking week and ask for your help and you all don’t do a goddamn thing for them." – Sylvia Rivera, Christopher Street Liberation Day, 1973
Come and learn about how you can support members of your community, or anyone, who is currently incarcerated. Learn the ins and outs of writing to prisoners, the do's and don'ts of sending reading materials, and the joy of coming together to support community.
- TRANS FUTURES
12.00 noon – 1.00pm
"I may be crazy, but that don't make me wrong." – Marsha P. Johnson
In the face of continued threats to the lives of trans people, there's no rest for transgender leaders and organisers. From Trump’s America, to the Murdoch Press, to the rise and rise of the TERFs and SWERFS – battles rage on all fronts. Join three leading trans thinkers as they outline their vision for the future of transnational trans organising and mutual aid. Is there a trans light at the end of the cisnormative tunnel? What does trans liberation look like?
Featuring Aren Aizura and more to be announced.
- ACTIVISTS HANDBOOK - or, how to work with people you don’t like
1.30pm – 2.30pm
“Caring for ourselves doesn’t mean pacifying ourselves” - Dean Spade
Activism can be exhausting; working long hours in stressful conditions for little or no pay. In this context, what does survival look like, is it possible to thrive? Lead by a number of activists engaged in struggles for change, workshop participants will learn strategies for soldiering on when the going gets tough, conflict resolution, negotiation and what to do when it all falls apart.
Featuring Sally Rugg, Roj Amedi and more to be announced.
- BIG QUEER BOOK CLUB (FREE SESSION)
2.00pm – 4.00pm
“Without community, there is no liberation.” – Audre Lorde
Get offline and meet like-minded bookworms at the Big Queer Book Club. BYO your fave book to kickstart a conversation or pick up something new from the Better Read Than Dead Bookstand. It’s like speed dating for nerds, like a writer’s festival but without all the cis-het people, like Chatty Wednesdays but with something to talk about (yes, that’s a Fleabag reference).
A free session for your Sunday arvo, drop in to meet fellow queer thinkers, or just sit in a corner reading and looking smart.
Hosted by Amelia Lush and more to be announced.
- FREEDOM FROM WHOM
3.00pm – 4.00pm
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. Leviticus 18:22
LGBTQI+ people are placed in direct opposition with religious institutions, but what of those who tick both boxes? In our rush to condemn both historical and contemporary religious homophobia and transphobia, are LGBTQI believers being unfairly sidelined? Queer people of faith discuss religious discrimination, activism, contradictions and what faith means to them.
Moderated by Patrick Thomsen, featuring Dr Y. Gavriel Ansara, Matthew Ng, Nurul Tajularus and more to be announced.
- THE BIG D: DATA AND THE MARGINALISED
4.30pm – 6.00pm
“With big data comes big responsibilities.” – Kate Crawford
Filling the gaps in data for marginalised groups is seen as a sure fire way to improve access to health care, education and services. Visibility = acceptance, or does it? As every facet of our online, and many parts of our offline lives become surveilled, what are the potential consequences of an uncritical participation in the pursuit of equal representation?
Three keynotes, spanning Indigenous data sovereignty, the impact of anti-trafficking legislation on sex workers, and surveillance of people crossing borders.
Featuring Dr Louise Boon-Kuo, Gala Vanting and Ellen Van Neerven
Exploring WHAT MATTERS during the weeklong writing intensive at Carriageworks, five emerging LGBTQI+ blak artists will present their newly-developed works as public readings at Seymour Centre.
Sydney's most prestigious Blak drags and drag kings return for your beloved performance event Blak Nulla.
This year will see the return of all your favourites in one venue, featuring local elder Nana Miss Koori, Darwin celebrity Miss Ellaneous, radio personality Felicia Fox, Drag Kings Bran Nu Boi and Bedazzled Shanks – the prince of Redfern, Nova Gina, plus many more! Kick on afterwards in the Mardi Gras festival lounge.
Experience the best and brightest queer comedy stand-up from Australia and abroad, together for one-night only in a variety night that can’t be missed.
Laugh Out Proud will feature a stellar lineup of queer acts in a comedy extravaganza hosted by the hilarious Nath Valvo, alongside Zoë Coombs Marr, Rhys Nicholson, Cassie Workman, Karen from Finance, Demi Lardner, Myra DuBois, Geraldine Hickey and Tom Ballard.
Trailblazing queer comedy from across Asia. These four international comedy stars are the new sound of the Asian century. Breaking the rules and queering the mic from Mumbai to Manila, these out, proud and hilarious performers are furiously funny and hot, hot, hot.
Featuring Singaporean Youtube star, Hirzi Zulkiflie (Hirzi and Munah), the Queen of Malaysian Comedy, Joanne Kam (Boom Boom Room), India’s only out gay stand-up, Navin Noronha, and Australian-Filipino shooting star, Margot Tanjutco.
Coming from countries where homosexuality still is or until recently was criminalised, these jokers are sharp and salty, and pack more punch than a pound of pepper. It should be illegal to be this funny, not this gay.
Bringing the hedonistic electronics of Berlin to Sydney, Pavlovabar occupies a vital place in the diverse tapestry of Sydney nightlife. Curated by queer institution House of Mince, this debaucherous little slice of Berghain will make for a huge Fair Day after party.
Spotlighting deadly artists from our First Nations community, join the ultimate queer Koori takeover at the Festival. Celebrating emerging and beloved performers and personalities, keep the party going after Sissy Ball ‘til late.
Join an incredible line up of LGBTQI+ musicians as we play tribute to our favourite queer artists, performing covers and reinventions of the songs that helped shape our identities and define our communities.
Songs of protest, thumping dancefloor beats, speakers mounted precariously on garish parade floats, another lesbian singer-songwriter with a guitar… The only rule? The songs performed must have been made famous by another LGBTQI+ artist.
A spin-off from the wildly popular Queerstories storytelling project, expect heart, soul, stellar vocals and a whole lot of fabulousness.
Hosted by Maeve Marsden, with iota, Cash Savage, June Jones, Mystery Carnage and more to be announced.
"By the time the 12 artists lined up across the stage after a thumping finale, emotions had been touched, eardrums massaged and people tumbled out happy and chatty... A sold out success like that serves to bring community together with a soundtrack in appreciation of battles won, survivals cherished and strength for the fights left to come." – Sydney Arts Guide
And we're live! The oven's caught fire. David is drinking and Peter has bad news. Travel back to 1986 for a live taping of the acclaimed TV cooking show, Hudson & Halls.
Join the outrageously camp and extremely alcoholic chefs Peter Hudson and David Halls on the most important night of their lives. Immerse yourselves in the world of a 1980s TV cooking studio and watch Peter and David battle with a working kitchen and about 16 bottles of sherry to create a flawless five-course meal (they hope). Expect big laughs, rum-fuelled showdowns, and some very questionable cooking.
New Zealand’s most successful gay comedy of the last ten years, Hudson & Halls won Best Production at the 2015 Auckland Theatre Awards and Production of the Year at the 2016 Wellington Theatre Awards. Now, it comes to Mardi Gras for the first time.
Co-created by theatrical daredevil Kip Chapman, Hudson & Halls extends the audience experience beyond the walls of the black box to create a truly memorable night filled with mayhem, decadence and love.
Hot Brown Honey turns up the heat with lashings of sass and a hot pinch of empowerment in the smash-hit, genre defying, firecracker of a show that’s taken the world by storm.
Steeped in the Word of The Mother and packing a punch of hip-hop politics, Hot Brown Honey will make you laugh until you cry, clap until your hands bleed, dance in the aisles and shake every part of what your mama gave you. With lighting, music and costumes set to ignite the change we want to be, Hot Brown Honey is an extraordinary production that spins tradition on its head, going above and beyond to challenge boundaries and embrace resilience – it is unapologetically fierce, defiantly shattering preconceptions in an explosion of colour, culture and controversy. Fighting the Power never tasted so sweet.
WINNER GREEN ROOM AWARDS - Best Production (Cabaret)
WINNER GREEN ROOM AWARDS - Best Design (Cabaret)
WINNER HELPMANN AWARDS - Best Cabaret Performer
NOMINEE HELPMANN AWARDS - Best New Australian Work