What’s On: MELT Festival of Queer Arts and Culture

Brisbane Powerhouse MELT Festival Beauty Pageant, Friday, June 28, 2019. Picture: Renae Droop/RDW Photography.

MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture

20–30 May 2021

Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm

From solidarity through storytelling to confetti-covered cabaret, MELT: Festival of Queer Arts and Culture has torn the wrapping off a spectacular program of events and performances for 2021.

Returning for its sixth year, Queensland’s most exciting celebration of LGBTIQ+ arts and culture, programmed by Guest Director James Lees, gives the community an excuse to kick up its heels after COVID-19 forced MELT’s cancellation in 2020. The program features more than 15 events over 11 days, spanning genres including cabaret, music, theatre and visual arts and starring an eclectic mix of home-grown heroes and Festival favourites.

Brisbane Powerhouse Artistic Director Kris Stewart said the premier arts and cultural venue had provided a home for the LGBTIQ+ community since it first opened its doors 21 years ago. “MELT belongs authentically to the local community and is our most creatively diverse event; from big and bright large-scale works to intimate, honest and deeply personal shows,” Mr Stewart said. “We are so excited to leave 2020 in our wake and have a lot of fun with a venue-wide celebration of queer arts and culture that pushes boundaries, explores unique art forms and shares important stories.”

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner welcomed the return of MELT as a celebration of the LGBTIQ+ community and a showcase of Brisbane’s inclusivity. “One of Brisbane’s greatest strengths is that we respect and embrace diverse backgrounds and experiences,” Cr Schrinner said. “I want Brisbane to be a city where talent can thrive and MELT provides just that, an essential lifeline for our creative community and talented local artists.”

Click here to view the program and book tickets, or see below for a quick look at what’s on, including a range of free events


An internationally acclaimed performance event created, written and performed by Jeremy Goldstein. The profound theatrical reflection on loss, hope and resistance is told through memoir, image, poetry, music and live testimony from community participants.

Read more and book tickets here


In dark cabaret for adults, experience an intimate and cathartic world where sublime sexuality and spiritual matters meet. God is in the House draws on politics of morality in a corrupt world and explores the presence, interpretation and absence of God in LGBTQI+ life.

Read more and book tickets here


Peek into the hearts and minds of three women who love women as they rediscover the poetry of Sappho, find solace in the words of their peers, and search for meaning in the telling and re-telling of their love stories.

Read more and book tickets here


Contestants are challenged to show off their true beauty, whatever form that may take. Join the chaos as some of Brisbane’s best drag talents go head to head across a number categories, all vying for the crown of Brisbane’s most vivacious drag queen, drag king or gender blending beauty.

Read more and book tickets here


A concert-style cabaret performed by three local lesbians and one rockin’ band. Featuring anonymous true tales of love from across the globe, this heart-warming performance is delivered through song and speech by powerhouse women with vocals to match.

Read more and book tickets here


Planting seeds of inspiration and sharing their own personal stories, this joyously devious, honest and raw event will be a highlight of MELT 2021.

Hosted by Claire Christian, the lineup will include musician and compelling author Holly Throsby, Holden Sheppard discussing his highly acclaimed young adult novel Invisible Boys and Ellen van Neervan, poet and local Mununjali author.

Read more and book tickets here


Stace Callaghan intimately packs and unpacks the fluidity of identities and the idea of transitioning in a society obsessed with binaries and fixing what isn’t broken.

Queer as Flux is inspired by the political activism of historical drag queens and butch dykes as well as non-binary, shape-shifting storytellers, actors and healers.

Read more and book tickets here


Multi-award winning, Australian comedian, singer and self-proclaimed part-time hood ornament Reuben Kaye returns with a new show, a new band and new looks to die for. With acid wit and casual sensationalism that is simply delicious, Kaye is fast, on the edge and brutally funny.

Imagine if Joan Collins, Tim Curry and Meow Meow all dropped a stack of narcotics and had an orgy… now roll it in jewels and bathtub gin, and you’re halfway there.

Read more and book tickets here


A unique blend of spoken word, music and movement that is a reminder of coming home. This debut conversation by artists of colour leads us to the heart of many realities, revealing black and brown diversity as celebration, joy and really well-seasoned food.

Read more and book tickets here


Joel Devereux presents a tribute to the 1995 cult classic Showgirls with an all-star boylesque and drag cast serving up some tantalising tease in celebration of the once notorious flop, now eccentric cult masterpiece.

Read more and book tickets here


Five ferocious females ascend the glam rock throne. Embracing the exaggerated pomp of prog rock and heavy metal, as well as vaudevillian music hall, the KILLER QUEENS return to immerse audiences in the music of Mercury, as well as original infusions from other glam rock royals Bowie and Prince. An electrifying fusion of jaw-dropping vocals and camp theatrics complete with tight shorts, leather and leotards.

Read more and book tickets here



The annual Melt Portrait Prize gives visual artists the creative license to celebrate heroes in the LGBTIQ+ community; whether it be a local icon or an internationally acclaimed personality. 
The result is a stunning exhibition of shortlisted works exhibited throughout Brisbane Powerhouse, featuring a variety of mediums including painting photography, drawing and digital illustration and sculpture. 

Read more here


Intimate portraits, photographed by Dan Molloy and curated by Ella Ganza featuring members of The Runway Movement, explore and represent the reality of living in silence due to their sexuality and gender identity, alongside the fear of being ostracised and abandoned by their loved ones.

This project/exhibition is aimed at raising awareness of homophobia and transphobia within the LGBTIQ+ community, with a specific focus on those of Pacific Islander and Indigenous heritage and the impact that this has on their lives.

Read more here


Grab a drink and join Richie LeStrange and Christina Draguilera as they host the biggest and best evening chat show this side of the Brisbane river.

Get the parTEA started as your hosts catch up on current events, get saucy with distinguished MELT guests including stars of featured shows, and get blown away with out-of-this-world performances.

Read more here


Join Rainbow Families Queensland for an hour of sparkly stories and FUN craft for children! Fabulously frivolous former drag queen Jade will be joined by rainbow parent volunteers to bring you stories and songs about diverse families, celebrating people of all genders, body types and sexualities.

Read more here


To celebrate the final day of the MELT, a lineup of extraordinary musicians will take over Brisbane Powerhouse. The free, live music event will include an array of genres ranging from the soulful sounds of Andrea Kirwin, blues and roots artist Nikolaine Martin and electronic, art-pop quartet, Umbriel (pictured)

Read more here

Click here to view the full program and purchase tickets

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