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Sequins, Song and Substance: Melt Festival 2019


MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture has raised the curtain on another program of spectacular events, dazzling performances and provocative discussions.

The 10-day festival runs from 28 June to 7 July 2019 with a packed program designed to celebrate LGBTIQ+arts and culture and promote visibility and inclusivity among the LGBTIQ+ community.

Close to 35 productions, exhibitions and events will inject both sparkle and substance into Brisbane Powerhouse when the premier arts organization presents MELT for its fifth year.
Guest Director Emily Gilhome said MELT would again roll out the rainbow carpet to welcome everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, ability and artistic interest.

“We’ve worked really hard this year to produce a program that represents all segments of the LGBTIQ+ arts community,” Ms Gilhome said.

“This year’s festival also offers incredible diversity across its content so we’re seeing outrageous cabaret, over-the-top comedy and a bigger and better MELT Beauty Pageant sitting alongside deeply introspective visual art exhibitions, though-provoking panels and talks, and powerful first-person pieces.”

MELT’s 2019 program shines the spotlight on talented local artists as well as national and international drawcards and features a mix of free and ticketed events across the 10 days.
Highlights include international cabaret superstar Reuben Kaye showcasing his signature blend of lavish storytelling and gilded song; Australian cabaret queen Dolly Diamond bringing classic TV game show Bl*nketyBl*nks to the stage; and the MELT Comedy Gala, hosted by Rhys Nicholson and pairing queer comedy legends with emerging comedians for a night of non-stop laughs.
Killer Queens is guaranteed to blow your mind with five ferocious females embracing glam rock and immersing audiences in the music of Freddie Mercury while Six Inches pulls some of theatre’s most beloved characters from the closet and through the musical gender-blender in a high voltage history lesson in drag from the creative team behind the BOY&GIRL series.

A collection of vastly different theatre pieces play out across Brisbane Powerhouse stages; from Baby Bi Bi Bi, a cabaret about being a bisexual woman; to La Silhouette, an immersive performance that brings to life Brisbane’s queer history; and Yank!, a musical love story based on the real-life experiences of gay soldiers in World War II.

MELT again provides a platform to hear the voices of Brisbane’s LGBTIQ+ community tell their unique stories across all mediums including The Trailblazers – Elders Panel; first-person piece, My Trans Story; improvisational work, Trade; and verbatim theatre production, Letters I Never Sent.

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory for Brisbane next March


Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is coming to Brisbane in March next year, playing at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC, following a hugely successful season in Sydney where many performances sold out, and the season at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne this August. Tickets for the Brisbane season will go on sale in July but waitlist now to be the first in line to purchase tickets at

 Producers John Frost, Craig Donnell, Warner Bros Theatre Ventures, Langley Park Productions and Neal Street Productions said: “Sydney audiences have fallen under the spell of this exciting musical production, and the show is selling fast in Melbourne as well. We’re sure Brisbane audiences will be enchanted with this glorious production,” they said.

“This is such a wonderful story for generations to share,” added John Frost. “Parents love sharing their favourite Willy Wonka film from their childhood with the whole family, and grandparents love taking their grandkids. We have an amazing cast to bring this story to life.”

Songs from the original film including Pure Imagination, The Candy Man and I’ve Got a Golden Ticket, alongside a new score from the songwriters of Hairspray.

 The story of Charlie Bucket, the five Golden Tickets, the Oompa-Loompas and the amazing Willy Wonka has become firmly embedded in our culture since it was first published in 1964. Conservative estimates suggest the original book has sold over 20 million copies worldwide; it is now available in 61 languages.

 Roald Dahl began working on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 1961, but its origins can be traced all the way back to Dahl’s own childhood. In his autobiography, Boy, he tells us how, while at school in England, he and his fellow Repton students were engaged as 'taste testers' for a chocolate company - something that seems to have started him thinking about chocolate factories and inventing rooms long before Mr Wonka was on the scene. But when he came to write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the story went through several drafts until the story as we now know it was released in 1964.

 Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory features direction by three-time Tony Award winner Jack O’Brien, music by Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award winner Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Grammy and Tony Award winners Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, a book by Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum theatre David Greig, choreography by Tony Award nominee and Emmy Award winner Joshua Bergasse, and includes additional songs by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley from the 1971 Warner Bros motion picture. Scenic and costume design is by five-time Tony Award nominee Mark Thompson, lighting design by four-time Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman, sound design by Andrew Keister, projection design by Jeff Sugg, puppet and illusion design by Obie and Drama Desk Award winner Basil Twist, and music supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck.

There will be blood

Performance Artist Jamie Boiskin returns to Sydney with a limited season of her hit cabaret Ovariacting: A Period Drama as part of Bondi Feast 2019 on 12-13 July.

Ovariacting: A Period Drama, is an informative cabaret about periods and endometriosis, performed by artist/menstrual activist Jamie Boiskin . Follow Jamie and her band of 'Merry Menstruals' (Thomas Bradford, Louise Cumming and Alice Albon) on their journey to fight period stigma with catchy tunes, outrageous skits and, most importantly, a Drag Queen inspired uterus.

Ovariacting: A Period Drama, directed by Fiona Scott-Norman, is an hour packed with fabulous costumes, songs, props, and bloody performance art. Inspired by Jamie’s struggles with Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, her cranky uterus, and a heinous 35 day long period, Ovariacting is a masterclass in how to talk about normal bodily functions without pulling a face and saying “She’s got the painters in”.

On point and right on time,  Ovariacting is a timely show that aligns with the Australian government’s recent pledge of $4.5 million dollars to increase endometriosis awareness, education and research. The cabaret had huge success at the Melbourne Cabaret Festival in 2018, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2019, and is now returning to Jamie's hometown of Sydney. 

Ovariacting is a cabaret aimed at anyone with a uterus, and everyone who knows one. The show invites men to be allies, highlights the true cost of silence, educates and, most importantly, destimgatizes the period.

Season: 12 & 13 July,  9:30pm, Bondi Pavilion's Mini Theatre,  Queen Elizabeth Dr, Bondi Beach NSW 2026. Running Time: Approx. 60 Minutes.

Tickets Available Now:


Opera Queensland’s New Touring Work Sings Of Songs To Die For


Queenslanders are dying to see the brand-new touring work from Opera Queensland, Songs To Die For, a cheeky, celebratory and ultimately reverend look at Opera’s relationship with the art of dying.  

 Touring across regional Queensland from 2 July to 8 August 2019, Songs to Die For is directed by Opera Queensland Artistic Director Patrick Nolan and stars leading artists; Soprano Rebecca Cassidy, Mezzo Soprano Jessica Low, Baritone Jason Barry-Smith with musicians Scott Saunders and Trevor Jones.

 Weaving some of the great operatic death scenes from Purcell to Wagner with contemporary pop songs from artists like Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain, Mr Nolan believes Songs To Die For reveals that a great song speaks to the soul regardless of when it was written.

 “Art through the ages – whether visual, musical or theatrical – from Shakespeare to Goya, Mozart to Cobain, often focuses on mortality as a major theme.

 “Songs to Die For draws on the power of music to explore our relationship with death in ways that are both tender and laugh out loud funny”. 

 “At the heart of Songs To Die For is our commitment to introduce new audiences to the diversity and power of opera as an art form.

 “Opera Queensland is delighted to continue its program of extensive regional touring, performing in traditional and unexpected locations and embracing the many unique creative communities that exist throughout Queensland,” Mr Nolan said.

 Featuring operatic classics such as Così fan tutte, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto and La traviata alongside reimagined hits from the likes of The Doors, Billie Holliday and Nirvana.

Songs To Die For celebrates the end of things with joy and wonder, brought to vivid life for one night only. Tickets on sale now.

Opera Queensland Presents Songs to Die For

Ipswich                2 July, 7.30pm - Ipswich Civic Centre;

Caloundra           4 July, 7.30pm - Events Centre Caloundra

Sunnybank         10 July, 7.30pm - Sunpac

Bundaberg          15 July, 7.30pm - Moncrieff Theatre

Gladstone           16 July, 7.30pm - Gladstone Entertainment Centre

Townsville          21 July, 7.30pm - Riverway Arts Centre

Ingham                 23 July, 7.30pm - TYTO Wetlands

Innisfail                24 July, 7.30pm - The Con Theatre

Cairns                   25 July, 4.00pm - Cairns Performing Arts Centre

Winton                 29 July, 7.30pm - Waltzing Matilda Centre

Longreach           30 July, 7.30pm - QANTAS Founders Museum

Windorah            2 August, 7.30pm - Windorah Rodeo Ground

Charleville           4 August, 7.30pm - Cosmos Centre

St George            5 August, 7.30pm - Balonne Shire Council Multicultural Centre

Roma                    6 August, 7.30pm - The Big Rig

Gold Coast          8 August, 3.00pm - HOTA, Home of the Arts


Contemporary works (subject to change)

The End - The Doors.; Highway to Hell - AC/DC ;  Lithium – Nirvana; Back to Black - Amy Winehouse; Be Careful - Patty Griffin; Song to the Siren - Tim Buckley and Larry Beckett; Never Tear Us Apart – INXS; Good Morning Heartache - Billie Holiday; Banks of the Ohio - Olivia Newton John .

Classical works 
Dido’s Lament- Purcell; With Drooping Wings – Purcell; Soave sia il vento - Così fan tutte; Don Giovanni - Mozart (Commendatore Scene); Rigoletto - Verdi (Trio and Storm); La Traviata - Verdi (No 16 Addio del passato); Liebestod - Tristan und Isolde.

Concept and Direction Patrick Nolan; Musical Director Scott Saunders; Designer Leigh Buchanan; Soprano Rebecca Cassidy; Mezzo Soprano Jessica Low; Baritone Jason Barry-Smith.
Musicians Scott Saunders and Trevor Jones

Ibsen’s GHOSTS returns to haunt Brisbane audiences


Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts was originally banned from performance when first written in 1881but  is set to intrigue and electrify Brisbane when it returns to the stage after a 30-year hiatus. Opening Saturday 20 July 2019 at The Curators Vintage Pop Up Theatre in Red Hill, director Michael Beh has adapted this new production of Ibsen’s classic, so it remains a relevant, view of the destructive nature of secrets and the social codes that bind them.

The production brings together a cast of talented Brisbane actors—Lisa Hickey, Tom Coyle and Patrick Shearer feature—alongside Warwick Comber and Lauren Roche.

Helene Alving has been haunted by a life of deception. When Pastor Manders comes to discuss the business of building an orphanage to honour the memory of her late husband, the lies begin to unravel. With the return of her beloved son, Oswald, from years of exile in Paris, Helene is determined to liberate them both from the taboos of their dark past.  But will exorcising the memory of her famous, debauched husband lead to salvation? In one of the greatest female roles in western drama, Helene Alving rides into battle like a Valkyrie, but is also besieged by her own vulnerabilities.

The Curators are independent Brisbane based professional artists working together to create high quality productions—bringing new life to classical theatre. Forming in August 2017, The Curators brought Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya to a Brisbane stage for the first time in 86 years. In May 2018, The Curators staged Amanda McErlean’s exciting new one woman show, The Quighting Time, followed by the critically acclaimed October production of The Third Beauty, an exploration of gender in Shakespeare’s female roles.

Ghosts Director/Designer Michael Beh; Lighting Designer Bethany Scott; Sound Designer Brian Cavanagh; Sound Technician Nick McMillan

Red Hill, Brisbane—The Curators presents Ghosts, Ibsen’s classic, 19 July-4 August 2019 in The Curators Vintage Pop Up Theatre located at 28 St Barnabas Place, Red Hill

Ticket prices range from $15 to $37. Discounts available for pensioners, seniors, students, MEAA, under 30s, groups of 10 or more. Preview Friday 19 July; low-income night Monday 22 July; 30-minute student rush every performance; post-show discussion Sunday 28 July.

Tickets can be purchased at:



Maxine Peake for lead in Julia Leigh’s memoir                                                     


Maxine Peake will play the lead role in Julia Leigh’s adaptation of her memoir, Avalanche: A Love Story, at the Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney this August.

 A prolific theatre, television and film actress Maxine Peake’s career highlights include Black Mirror, Funny Cow, Red Riding, The Devil’s Whore, The Theory of Everything, Peterloo, The Falling, Shameless and an extensive list of dramas for the BBC including The Village, Silk, Criminal Justice, Three Girls and most recently, The Bisexual. 

As a writer, Peake has retold stories of women in British history who achieved greatness or faced adversity through her plays Beryl, The Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca and Queens of the Coal Age. Avalanche: A Love Story marks her acting debut with the Sydney Theatre Company.

When a woman rekindles an early love in her late 30’s her whole life changes. Deeply in love, she and her new husband decide they want to have a child together and, like countless other couples, they make a visit to the IVF clinic, full of optimism. So begins a long and costly journey of medical procedures, nightly injections, rituals and the oscillation between high hope and the depths of despair.

Avalanche lays bare the stark truth of one woman’s experience of the seductive promises made by the multi-billion-dollar IVF industry to those in the grip of a “snow blind” yearning and desire to make a baby. The devastating toll on her body, her relationships and her career as an author/filmmaker, are portrayed with honesty and moments of black humour. At the heart of this dramatisation is an exploration of who we are and how we love - the potent power of the desire for family and future. Inspired by Leigh’s story, it is a courageous and ultimately wise account of a profoundly important and widespread experience.

Directed by Anne-Louise Sarks, Avalanche, A Love Story, is co-produced by the Sydney Theatre Company, Barbican and Fertility Fest. It will play at the Barbican Theatre in London from 27 April – 12 May 2019.

2019 Season Tickets now available: Choose 6 or more plays to enjoy savings of up to 20% and get a whole lot of exclusive benefits all year.

Single Tickets:  Mon – Thu performances: Adult A Reserve $103, Adult B Reserve $93, Seniors cardholder $93, Concession $82, Under 30 $81. Fri & Sat performances: A Reserve tickets $108, B Reserve tickets $98. Preview performances: All tickets $81. Prices correct at the time of publication and subject to change without notice. Box Office: 02 9250 1777.

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