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Sex Education

Sex Education
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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.

Posted in Festival Hub Tagged Performing Arts

You & I

You & I
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Award-winning company and fringe favourites Casus Circus are back with their most daring and intimate work, You & I.

An empowering hour of skill and identity, You & I celebrates the loving relationship between two circus artists using high-level acrobatics, trapeze, magic and dance.

This unashamedly authentic journey reveals a fresh narrative where gay stories are not consumed by tragedy but filled with conviction, acceptance and joy.

Posted in Festival Hub Tagged Performing Arts

Homage

Homage
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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
 

Posted in Festival Hub Tagged Music

Hot Brown Honey

Hot Brown Honey
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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

Posted in Festival Hub

My Trans Story - Place and Belonging

My Trans Story - Place and Belonging
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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.

Posted in Festival Hub Tagged Community

YUMMY UNLEASHED

YUMMY UNLEASHED
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Blending absurd and outrageous drag and burlesque with scintillating choreography, YUMMY has developed a world-wide cult following. After winning major awards such as “Best Production” (Green Room Awards 2018) and “Best Cabaret” (Fringe World 2019), this legendary ensemble is coming to the Seymour Centre for the first time ever with their latest wild offering, YUMMY UNLEASHED.

An iconic group of performers from Melbourne, the star-studded cast perform in some of the world’s biggest shows, but when they come together in YUMMY, something truly special happens. Join Valerie Hex, Hannie Helsden, Jandruze, Zelia Rose, Jarred Dewey, and Benjamin Hancock as they lead a wave of outrageous and joyful queer cabaret.

★★★★★ "A loud, avant-garde, joyous disco riot... which celebrates all the glorious misfits of the world." - The Scotsman

WINNER GREEN ROOM AWARDS Best Production
WINNER FRINGE WORLD Best Cabaret

Posted in Festival Hub Tagged Comedy

PLAYLIST

PLAYLIST
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A peek, taste and celebration of new works by LGBTQI+ writers PLAYLIST is a full day of professional play readings by writers, theatre makers and new talent who tell bold, unique LGBTQI+ stories for audiences hungry for new voices.

PLAYLIST is a partnership between Seymour Centre, Mardi Gras and Siren Theatre Co that celebrates the creation and development of original Australian theatre with an LGBTQI+ focus.

Over the past two years, PLAYLIST has received over 100 new plays for consideration, curated a public reading program of 20 new works, engaged over 80 professional artists in the readings and welcomed full houses of engaged, curious and enthusiastic audiences.

The Campaign

The Campaign
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“I was arrested for being gay before I'd even danced with another man.” - Rodney Croome

In 1988 more than one hundred arrests were made at Salamanca Market, when the Tasmanian Gay Law Reform Group defied a ban on a stall that featured petitions to decriminalise sexual activity between consenting adult males in private. The arrests lit the spark for a campaign to change the Tasmanian law, which was the most draconian in the Western world in terms of its penalty and, by the time of its repeal, the last of its kind in Australia.

From candid interviews with the people who were there, Campion Decent has fashioned a gripping account of Tasmania’s decades-long gay law reform campaign. The Campaign traces the venomous parliamentary debates and public meetings, the individual acts of bravery and humour amidst the hurt, and the dogged march to a landmark United Nations ruling that had far-reaching repercussions in the Federal and Tasmanian Parliaments and the High Court of Australia.

Honest, raw and urgent, The Campaign won Best New Writing at the 2019 Tasmanian Theatre Awards, and chronicles a community’s journey from exclusion to inclusion, from opposition to acceptance, and from hatred to embrace.

Posted in Festival Hub

Fuck Fabulous

Fuck Fabulous
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Your host; queer, fat, femme cabaret icon Yana Alana brings together a fierce line-up of dance, circus, drag, comedy and performance artists in the world premiere of Fuck Fabulous.

Serving neo-punk, anti-glamour realness, this cabaret variety show is a protest against the commodification of queer culture and a collective reimagining of what it means to be queer and fabulous. It’s a finger up to the mainstream ownership of queer and femme and a celebration of those queer artists and allies too often left out of the picture.

This show embraces female-masculinity, rejoices in gender-queer and trans visibility and celebrates femme identity in diverse bodies. Featuring comedian Krishna Istha, performance artist Nicci Wilks, circus icon Jess Love, dance duet Glitter & Snatch, aerial contortionist Seth Sladen, Drag King Koko Ma$$, drummer Bec Matthews and queen of queer cabaret Yana Alana. Fuck Fabulous is a protest party. A homage to our queer elders and a manifesto of hope that together we can create queer new worlds that value difference and diversity.

Photo credit: Alexis Desaulniers-Lea alexisdlea@gmail.com

Posted in Festival Hub

Gender Euphoria

Gender Euphoria
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Australia’s biggest line-up of trans and gender-diverse performers to ever share a main stage come together to flip gender dysphoria on its head and explore the distinctive joys that can come with being trans.

After sell-out, world premiere performances at the 2019 Midsumma Festival and 2019 Melbourne International Arts Festival, cabaret icons Mama Alto and Maude Davey return to Mardi Gras with the next iteration of Gender Euphoria. The ensemble explores gender, identity and personhood in what is a celebration of queer voices, and a rallying cry to empower trans communities and artistic practices. Music, dance, comedy, burlesque, circus, poetry and much that defies any label will come together to seduce and transport you, as emerging talents rub shoulders with some of our stage greats. You’ll also be privy to many familiar faces showing a side you’ve never seen before. Humming beneath the laughter and delight is a sincerity and optimism that allows for real change and acknowledges the complex, messy humanity we all share. This joyous, binary-exploding celebration will set Sydney alight.

★★★★ "A liberating, joyful and poignant celebration of difference." - The Age

Posted in Festival Hub

KOORI KICK ON

KOORI KICK ON
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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.

Posted in Festival Hub Tagged Parties

Club Arak (Cancelled)

Club Arak (Cancelled)
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This event has been cancelled due to operational considerations beyond our control.

Since 2002, Club Arak has connected Queer Arabs with their culture and identity – it’s not just about dance and music… it’s a space for community and love, whichever way it manifests.

Posted in Festival Hub

Queer Thinking

Queer Thinking
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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

SATURDAY 22 FEBRUARY:
 
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.

SUNDAY 23 FEBRUARY:
 
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

LGBTQI+ Elders Dance Club

LGBTQI+ Elders Dance Club
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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.

Conchita Wurst and Trevor Ashley in Concert

Conchita Wurst and Trevor Ashley in Concert
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For one night only this Mardi Gras, join Austria’s greatest glam pop vocalist along with Australia’s queen of cabaret in an evening to remember.

Eurovision legend Conchita Wurst returns to Sydney with dear friend Trevor Ashley for an evening of musical magic. Joined by conductor Michael Tyack and a 40-piece symphony orchestra, they will perform their greatest hits at the glorious State Theatre, with a special guest appearance by Kate Miller-Heidke. Expect ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ and other songs from Conchita’s platinum and gold awarded albums, showstoppers and anthems made famous by great divas, plus a tribute to the music of James Bond, including ‘Writing’s On the Wall’, ‘Diamonds Are Forever’, ‘Moonraker’ and ‘Goldfinger’. Alone they are sensational, but together they will cause an international incident! Don’t miss this incredible event.