Midsumma Festival 2020 wrapped up in a blaze of glory this Sunday 9 February with one of Australia’s biggest vocals, and a force to be reckoned with, Kira Puru.
With the three- week festival finishing up for another successful year, total attendances for the 2020 Midsumma Festival are expected to exceed 255,000 attendances across a total of 194 events across more than 100 venues which included over 5000 culture makers in Melbourne’s CBD and wider Victoria.
The Festival had a successful Festival kick off at Midsumma Carnival, which saw attendances reach 117,000 the success was followed up with a record-breaking celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Pride March with total participants in Midsumma Pride March at 10,607 (2,177 more than 2019) and total attendances for the event of 55,607.
“Midsumma continues to set benchmarks at the very forefront of queer arts culture nationally. We are thrilled that this year’s program hit new heights, growing in artistic depth and variation of the highest standard. With the largest number of events presented on record, highlights included repeated standing ovations, and sell-out performances whilst visual arts exhibitions showcased the vitality of contemporary queer ‘voices’ from across Australia.”- Karen Bryant, Midsumma Festival CEO.
In its fourth year the Queer Playwriting Showcase (previously Playtime Stage Readings) sold-out to audiences at Gasworks Arts Park with the judges announcing today that Home Fires Burning by Maeve Marsden will take home the award for Queer Playwriting 2020. Marsden is set to work alongside Midsumma and Gasworks over the next few months to deliver a full work for Midsumma Festival 2021.
“I’m so thrilled to have my work in progress selected for the Queer Playwriting Award. It was an honour to present the reading with such brilliant actors, and to see, through performance, what did and didn’t work, what needs polishing, how the dialogue feels in a room full of people. I’ll be developing the play this year and am excited to see where the story takes me, and I thank Gasworks for this honour and for the support of new queer work.” said Maeve.
The Queer Playwriting Awards identifies, supports and develops original Australian theatre with a queer focus. The
LGBTQIA+ community is diverse, exciting and full of stories and ideas that deserve to be heard on the stages of
performing arts venues throughout the country. The ultimate aim of The Queer Playwriting Awards is to tour the work
nationally to expose it to a wide range of metropolitan, regional and rural audiences.
Also announced on the last day of the festival was the People’s Choice Award for the 2020 Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award, the votes are in and the winner is Samuele Tomasulo for Empathic Deniability.
“As an artist, I experiment with emotions to help understand others. I hope to expand our collective emotional
intelligence by creating sound sculptures that pull my audience into the mind of a specific character. Bringing light to the trauma of growing up in a world that trains a group of people to believe that they are degenerate. Giving a voice to those silenced by society, especially the LGBTQI+ community.” said Samuele.
Also announced in the third weekend, the Midsumma Pride March Awards – selected by LGBTQIA+ artists and community advocates Kevin Reader, Anna Piper Scott and Amao Leota Lu –encouraged a bright presence from
participants and were won by the following groups: Parents of Gender Diverse Children received the Peter Dewildt Award – Most Significant Message. This award honours the memory of Peter Dewildt, Pride March Victoria’s first president, who passed in 2019. Most Fabulous – awarded to the most fantastically-frocked group: Rainbow LARP (Live Action Role Play). Most Innovative – awarded to the cleverest group in the march: Pacific Essence.
Midsumma Festival is a volunteer-fuelled organisation that wouldn’t exist without the contribution from individuals within our community. 615 volunteer applications, 510 volunteers rostered across the three-week Festival, 610 volunteer shifts completed and 2215 volunteered hours.
Midsumma Festival is Australia’s premier queer arts and cultural festival, bringing together a diverse mix of LGBTQIA+ artists, performers, communities and audiences. Expanding over 22-days of summer, with an explosion of queer events that center around hidden and mainstream queer culture, locally and internationally.
Midsumma Festival will be back in 2021 on 17 Jan to 7 Feb.