Drag superstars, cult cabaret artists and gender-bending performance artists are set to take over the city in January, as Arts Centre Melbourne reveals a cracking first look at Midsumma 2017. In past year, the LGBTIQ-focused festival has began to come into its own as an international arts festival, pairing their suite of free events and parties with a program of theatre, cabaret, live art and music.
If Arts Centre Melbourne’s first announcement is anything to go by, this year is set to be Midsumma’s most impressive program yet, with talent flying in from all corners of the globe.
So let’s start with the internationals. From London comes Le Gateau Chocolat: a household name in drag with a formidable baritone voice. He’ll join Jonny Woo – a cult figure in the alt-drag world, also hailing from London – for A Night at the Musicals (Jan 17-22), which will see the pair lovingly take on some of the world’s biggest musicals, from Les Mis to Cabaret.
Another highlight is sure to be Panti Bliss (pictured), hailing from Ireland. In her show High Heels in Low Places (Feb 2-4), she’ll take audiences back to her boyhood in a small town and through her rise to queer activist.
Australia is also well-represented. The inimitable Ash Flanders (of Sisters Grimm fame) will remount his Melbourne Cabaret Festival hit Playing to Win (Jan 27-29) and the politically charged queer cabaret collective Finucane & Smith’s Glory Box (pictured below) will return with Lucky 13 (Jan 24-29), a night of glamour, dance and cabaret that has to be seen to be believed.
And that’s not all: other performers include Melbourne favourites Dolly Diamond and Thomas Jaspers as well as London-based cult diva Ursula Martinez. Visit the Arts Centre website for more details, and look out for the full Midsumma program later in the year.