From gay wizards to glittery acrobats, here’s what to see at Midsumma 2024

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From gay wizards to glittery acrobats, here’s what to see at Midsumma 2024

Photo: Slippery by Jade Ellis Photography
words by staff writer

Kicking off this week, the crowd favourite Midsumma Festival is set to transform the city of Melbourne into a playground of community spirit and queer joy.

Running from January 21 to February 11, the festival will host more than 250 events from Footscray to Chapel St, including visual arts, live music, theatre, spoken word, cabaret, film, parties, sports, social events and public forums.

In fact, there’s so much going on that it’s hard to know where to start – especially as the Midsumma team is also helping host Victoria’s Pride, happening at the same time.

Explore Melbourne’s latest arts and theatrical events, exhibitions, productions and performances here.

Lucky for you, we’ve got the insider scoop on all the do-not-miss shows and the super fun free stuff. And we’re not afraid to share! Without further adieu, here’s our guide to Midsumma 2024.

Midsumma free events


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Midsumma Carnival

  • January 21
  • Alexandra Gardens

The all-aged, open-air Midsumma Carnival sets the tone for the rest of the 22 days of fun. With a mad lineup of musicians and DJs, a dog show, a lip sync competition, drag performances and more taking place across multiple stages, as well as bars, pop-up restaurants and tons of surprises, it’s the perfect place to start.

Night at the Museum: Midsumma Youth Party

  • January 27
  • Immigration Museum

Hosted by Minus18, this LGBTQIA+ dance party for youth aged 12 to 19 will set the museum alight with live music, drag, snacks, activities and plenty of new friends to be made.

Create Your Own Alter Ego

  • January 27 to March 24
  • Paine Reserve

Created with the help of Persian artist Sammaneh Pourshafigh, this outdoor installation features playful portraits of the alternate versions of the students of the Green Tree Acting Studio.

Midsumma show highlights

A Night with Pastor Ace

  • January 22 to 27
  • The Butterfly Club

Darwin-based musical comedian Ace R L spins a wickedly funny tale about growing up queer in the evangelical church.


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The Search by Jess McAvoy

  • January 22 to 27
  • The Butterfly Club

Trans and immigrant artist Jess McAvoy takes the stage solo to take on heavy themes including personal struggles with alcoholism, complex PTSD and emancipation from binary gender constructs throughout a music career.

Hot Summer Nights

  • January 23 to February 3
  • Gasworks Art Park

A true festival favourite, this adults-only circus cabaret show returns. Under the direction of Tash York, a selection of Australia’s best and sexiest acrobats showcase their most exhilarating moves – all while doused in glitter, of course.

Ruff Trade

  • January 23 to 10
  • Motley Bauhaus

After sell-out seasons in the UK, Australia’s longest-running LGBTQIA+ theatre company Out Cast Theatre brings this dark comedy about two Elizabethan sex workers to Melbourne.


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Queer Comedy Gala

  • January 25
  • Pride of our Footscray

Likely the loudest and proudest comedy night in the west, this event brings together some of Australia’s finest LGBTQIA+ comics including Matt Barron, Carmelo Costa, Frankie McNair, Aurelia St Clair, Scout Boxall and Kirsty Webeck.

Vau D’Vile Vixens

  • January 26 to February 9
  • Vau D’Vile Showroom

Australia’s only drag queen-owned and operated venue hosts an evening of what they do best, featuring tapas, cocktails and Aussie drag stars including Bumpa Love, Jemima Handful, Lynnduh, Jacqui Meoff, Daytona 500, Sindel Storm and Bubbles International.


  • January 26 to February 10
  • Speakeasy Theatre

Billed as a “gay Hogwarts comedy”, Dirk Strachan’s latest show invites guests into the whacky and wonderful world of wizardry. Funny and relatable, it unpacks the struggles gay kids face at school (but with a little more magic than usual).


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Lesbian Love Stories

  • January 27 and 28
  • Chapel Off Chapel

This much-loved musical cabaret returns to Melbourne for two nights only. Wholesome, hilarious and unashamedly honest, the show features anonymous lady love stories from around the world.

Midsumma Movies

  • January 27 and 28
  • The Capitol

Queer cinema takes over The Capitol, with Australian-made shorts and beloved favourites such as Dicks: The Musical, , Shape, Bend it Like Beckham and Bottoms set to show.

A Body At Work

  • January 27 to February 4
  • La Mama HQ

Queer artist and sex worker Frankie van Kan takes the stage for her debut solo performance: an intimate and confessional story exploring her work in the adult industry.


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Pride Piano Bar

  • January 28
  • Grouse Melbourne

Frock Hudson sings while Cameron Thomas plays the keys in an over-the-top musical performance like no other. Held outdoors, the tunes will be provided via closed-system headphones.

To browse the full Midsumma Festival program head here