With the official start of Sydney WorldPride this Friday 17 February, the festival’s WorldPride Arts program is taking centre stage.

The WorldPride Arts program encompasses 76 different events, featuring some of the world’s best LGBTQIA+ artists and creators. The program features visual arts exhibitions, theatre, dance, concerts, parties, panel discussions, contemporary performance, children’s events, literature events, women’s events, film and music. Many events are available at low-cost or for free.

“After the challenges faced over the last few years, we are delighted to be bringing this diverse arts program to Sydney,” said Festival Creative Director – WorldPride Arts Daniel Clarke.

“To have so many new queer creative projects being presented at the same time from small independent companies to major arts organisations is unprecedented in our country. There’s never been a time in Sydney’s history that work by LGBTQIA+ artists have been created at this scale and breadth. It is a city-wide creative collaboration and I am absolutely thrilled that Sydney WorldPride, with the help of our event producing partners, Create NSW and the Australia Council, was able to support so many of these projects to make them a reality.”

“To see so many queer artists in work and being profiled at this scale brings me much joy and I’m asking the sector to continue producing, developing and presenting diverse, queer art even after Sydney WorldPride has finished. There’s no turning back now!”

At the helm of this program is an incredibly diverse, free visual arts and exhibitions line up with 25 free events across some of Sydney’s most iconic venues including Art Gallery of NSW, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Hyde Park Barracks, The State Library Of New South Wales, Powerhouse Ultimo and Customs House.

Some of highlights from this visual arts program include;

  • Genext x Pride at The Museum of Contemporary Art, which is WorldPride’s biggest under 18’s event comprising of workshops, live music and performances.
  • Drawing from the City of Sydney’s archives, curator Jacqui North celebrates 45 years of community led social change, as seen through the lens of social documentary, and queer photographers including C.Moore Hardy with the Liberate!Exhibition at Customs House.
  • Previously never-before-seen photographs by iconic queer Australian photographer David McDiarmid will be presented in The Air is Electric at the Bondi Pavilion Gallery.
  • Indigenous artist Dylan Mooney’s Still Here And Thriving exhibition will be presented at N. Smith Gallery in Paddington as a large-format portrait series, which focuses on love in queer communities.
  • In a wonderful trip down memory lane, UNSW Galleries will host The Party, a landmark exhibition celebrating LGBTQIA+ party culture in Sydney from 1973 to 2002.
  • American artist, Macon Reid’s Eulogy for A Dyke Bar will be presented by UNSW Galleries at National Art School which revisits the legacy and physical spaces of dyke and lesbian bars, an increasingly rare component of the gay and queer cultural landscape. It is a free installation as well as a bar and performance space.
  • Renowned First Nations artist, Troy-Anthony Baylis premieres an installation of collages and site-specific work responding to the legacy of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay propaganda, called Antia Bryant Monuments at The Cross Art Projects.
  • Coming Out, Coming Home . 回家 a photographic documentary exhibition at Hurstville Library is the first community driven event of its kind by queer Chinese people in Australia.

The Sydney WorldPride Arts program also features some of the community’s most celebrated theatre and dance performers with highlights including;

  • The 5 star laugh out loud comedy Hubris & Humiliation at the Sydney Theatre Company, which combines a kaleidoscope pastiche of Jane‘s Austen’s writing with an outrageous satire of life in the Emerald City’s pumping gay scene.
  • Straight from the wicked mind of Maeve Marsden the hilarious lesbian break-up comedy, Blessed Union will run at the Belvoir Street Theatre.
  • The Tony Award winning play Choir Boy will have its Australian Premiere at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre’s – written by Academy award-winning writer, Tarell Alvin McCraney about a young gay man, finding his voice.
  • The thrilling play, CAMP will hit the stage at the Seymour Centre, set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, capturing the excitement and spirit of the revolution present at the birth of Australia’s fierce gay rights movement.
  • Sunderella is set to dazzle audiences, featuring a cast of about 20 performers, providing a fun, queer Bollywood twist to Cinderella at the ARA Darling Quarter Theatre.
  • Straight from their huge success at the Midsumma Festival, Fat Fruit will bring The Rainbow Tree to Darlinghurst Theatre Company in a special offering for children from rainbow families.
  • Also at Darlinghurst Theatre is the trailblazing Melbourne Festival hit, Gender Euphoria, a powerful and uplifting variety show performed by a large cast of transgender and gender diverse performers.
  • The Seymour Centre will play host to Australian premiere of acclaimed dance work The Dan Daw Show, following a hugely successful run in the UK (top 5 dance works in the Guardian 2022).
  • Sydney Dance Company will present Indonesian choreographer Rianto’s world premiere, Queers of Java, a powerful and innovative exploration of the Indonesian lengger dance.
  • Acclaimed Australian choreographer, Phillip Adams will premiere Triptych, at experimental art space, Phoenix Central Park.
  • Shaun Parker’s dance work King returns to Sydney ahead of an international tour; the work interrogates the power systems that oppress male sexual identity, in a unique collaboration with Bulgarian singer Ivo Dim Chev.

Sydney WorldPride truly brings the party with a hugely varied range of parties and musical events with highlights including;

  • Powerhouse Late: WorldPride, a series of free after-hours events featuring performances from icons such as DJ Charlie Villas, Paul Mac and some of Sydney’s most recognisable LGBTQIA+ artists, designers, musicians, DJs and more.
  • International cabaret star and opera lover, Reuben Kaye will host Opera Up Late at the Sydney Opera House with a group of fabulous opera singers and special guests.
  • Seymour Nights will run across the festival, offering free gigs in the Seymour Centre courtyard, curated by Beks with appearances by Sean Miley Moore, Tanzer, Dyan Tai, and more.
  • Betty Grumble unites with fierce lover and warrior of music, DJ HipHopHoe for 24 Hour Grumble Boogie, an all day and night blend of choreography, music, protest and pleasures at the Carriageworks.
  • Another 24 hour offering at the Carriageworks is Day for Night: The Pleasure Arc a delirious 24-hour-long series of queer ceremonies taking you from brunch to club, to kick-ons and back again.
  • Out & Loud & Proud is a major international LGBTQIA+ choral festival with choirs from all around Australia and the Indo Pacific coming together to share the joy of singing performances workshops and culminating in a massed choral event gala of 500 singers at the Sydney Town Hall.
  • The Sydney Opera House will present gifted British polymath Kae Tempest who will bring their extraordinary spoken word performance to the Concert Hall.
  • Acclaimed indie singer songwriter, Angel Olsen returns to the Sydney Opera House to play a set of classics as well as brand new music.
  • Feminist icon and pop provocateur Peaches will perform her seminal electroclash album, The Teaches Of Peaches at the City Recital Hall.

Other program highlights include a thought-provoking words and ideas component which has gathered some of the community’s most respected writers, artists and thinkers with highlights, including:

  • EnQueer’s two panel series at The Seymour Centre, that will showcase and celebrate some of Australia’s established and emerging, queer writers and thinkers, including writers Kaya Wilson, Gloria Demillo, Holden Sheppard, Jason Om, Anthony Venn-Brown OAM, Michael Sun, Imbi, Gary Lonesborough, Laneikka Denne & Adrian Mouhajer.
  • Archer Magazine will present The Queer Ideas Forum on Gender, Sex Work and Polyamory at The Museum Of Contemporary Art featuring Themme Fatale, Gala Vanting, Liz Duck-Chong, Cazeleon and Dani Weber.
  • The Sydney Opera House will present an evening of queer literary excellence through SOH Queer Lit Double Bill: Mixed Metaphors | On East Asian Pride, an unmissable, double feature of panel discussions tackling the queer art of metaphor, and then diving deep into the East Asian queer experience.
  • Maeve Marsden will host an incredible line-up of guests for Queerstories x WorldPride, bringing this all-star addition of Australia’s favourite queer storytelling night to Riverside Theatres.
  • The City of Sydney is also hosting Positive Musings, an in-person and live broadcast panel exploring representations of HIV in Australian culture with leading artists and academics on the subject.

Sydney WorldPride acknowledges the generous assistance of Create NSW and the Australian Council who were instrumental in making WorldPride Arts a reality.

Further arts events are being staged at the Sydney WorldPride First Nations Gathering Space at Carriageworks – more information here.

Sydney WorldPride 2023 runs for 17 days, from 17 February to 5 March 2023 incorporating Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Tickets for Official events via SydneyWorldPride.com. Tickets for community events at prideamplified.au.