Get us in your inbox

picture from melbourne pride
Supplied/ Zilla & Brook

What to see at Midsumma Festival

With so many amazing LGBTIQA+ events unfolding across Melbourne, we’ve tailored a prime selection to make surfing Midsumma's jam-packed program effortless

Stephen A Russell
Written by
Stephen A Russell

When Melbourne begins to scorch and everyone begins to glisten, the LGBTIQA+ extravaganza Midsumma Festival returns to glow up the cultural calendar.

Celebrating a magnificent 25 years of queer excellence in 2023, this year's line-up includes all the beloved regulars, like the Alexandra Gardens-rocking Midsumma Carnival day and the Pride March along Fitzroy Street in St Kilda, as well as locking in last year's northside addition. Now dubbed Victoria's Pride Street Party, it takes over Gertrude and Smith Street.

But beyond the big (free) tickets listed above, there's a plethora of perfection on offer for
everyone from sports lovers to theatre darlings. Even better, the more you see, the cheaper it gets, with a 10% discount for booking three shows in one go.

Midsumma runs from Jan 21-Feb 12, 2023. Find out more here.

Don't miss out on the other theatre productions happening in Melbourne this month.


The top events at Midsumma Festival 2023

Pride is centre court when the Australian Open welcomes tennis lovers to the only Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance event hosted by a Grand Slam. After three days of heats at Albert Park, with 180 LGBTQIA+ competitors from 14 countries competing, the finals play out at Kia Arena with a carnival atmosphere, celebrity matches and musical accompaniment from the likes of Darren Hayes, Vanessa Amorosi, Montaigne and a host of drag queens.

Deaf artist, author and activist Asphyxia rocks out with her band Sarah Ward, Bec Matthews and Erica Pringle while navigating their personal experience of being Deaf, queer, chronically ill and using a wheelchair. Embracing projection art, the power of vibration, captions and Auslan interpretation, she ensures the show reaches audience members who are too often left out.


After a beautiful and empowered debut last year, Western hero Pride of our Footscray nightclub once again hosts this unmissable celebration of the all-stars of the First Nations drag scene. You’ll be able to catch artist and performer extraordinaire Stone Motherless Cold doing her thing alongside fellow legends Cerulean, Mora Money and Carmel Latte on a night that’s sure to burn bright.

If summer’s a little too sweaty for your liking, escape the incessant heat with a brilliant season of queer films in ACMI’s air conditioning. The program includes Macedonian-Australian director Goran Stolevski’s gender-upending dark fairy tale You Won’t Be Alone, Eva Vitija’s tribute to The Talented Mr Ripley author Patricia Highsmith, Loving Highsmith, and Pakistani director Saim Sadiq’s Queer Palm-winning debut feature Joyland.


Body positivity activist Demon Derriere puts their booty-shaking power into creating safe and fun environments for queer and people of colour. Big Thick Energy festival is all about creating space for bodies that embrace a broader understanding of beauty. Expect burlesque, drag, music and slam poetry performances, as well as workshops and a plus-size marketplace.

Whisking us from Melbourne’s Midsumma to a winter’s night in San Francisco, the latest show from celebrated Australian playwright Lachlan Philpott explores love lives from all corners of the community, a la Armistead Maupin’s Tales of The City. Look out for an impressive cast, including Of an Age actor Jess Lu, plus Hugo Gutteridge, Brittany Ng, James Ironside and Tayla Abbott from Maude Davey’s Cloud 9.


If you’ve never had the pleasure of witnessing Betty Grumble’s eye-opening brand of physical performance, trust us, you won’t want to miss this outré queen’s team-up with the equally magnificent, gender-blurring brilliance of neon-bearded Dandrogyny. They’ll earthquake-shake the convent with an encore run of a show that asks you to get in the dirt with your inner kid.

American engineering student turned performance artist Ty Autry grew up in the Deep South. This powerful solo show draws on his real-life experience of coming out as a young Christian, only to be sent to a gay conversion camp by a father convinced that his son was possessed by a demon. But there’s as much hope as horror on offer in this life-affirming tale.


Ageism is banished in this darkly comic new work from award-winning playwright Jane Montgomery Griffiths that also marks Theatre Works’ executive director Dianne Toulson’s debut directorial turn. Rounding out this trio of awesome is performer Jennifer Vuletic, one of Melbourne’s finest, in a solo show about a middle-aged lesbian craving more from her staid sex life.

This exciting group show brings together gender-diverse and nonbinary artists whose work explores how histories of colonialism have transformed the way we look at identity. Curator Kin Francis contributes, alongside works by Wiradjuri brotherboy Elijah Money, Torres Strait Islander artist Caleb Thaiday, Vietnamese, Samoan and Cook Islander Luce Nguyễn-Hunt, Ari Tampubolon, Indra Liusuari and community storyteller Shin.


It’s a code-red situation when you have A-grade attention seekers like British drag star Dolly Diamond and our very own Tash York in the same room, never mind when they’re expected to share a stage. Thankfully these consummate performers get on like a house on fire. Let’s hope they don’t burn down the Pride Centre when they light up the night.

Kick on afterwards


    More on city identity

      You may also like
      You may also like

      The best things in life are free.

      Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

      Loading animation
      Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

      🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

      Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!