Meet our newest team member, Mama Alto - Program Coordinator - Artist Development

Mama Alto - photo by Alexis Desaulniers-Lea

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Meet your NEW Program Coordinator - Artistic Development, Mama Alto

There are few places around the world you'll find something that is so transportive and expressive as the vocal work of Mama Alto - a jazz singer, cabaret artiste, gender transcendent diva and now, adding to her long list of talents... Midsumma's Program Coordinator and tigress of Artist development.

Fierce, femme and fabulous, Mama is transgender and a queer person of colour, who works with the radical potential of storytelling, strength in softness, and power in vulnerability; all of which shines through in every aspect of her careers.

Mama's role at Midsumma will involve coordinating the Midsumma Pathways mentorship program for 2020-2021 and supporting Patrick Hayes with Midsumma's program development, making sure accessibility and marginalised voices stay on the forefront of our strategic thinking.

Her emphasis resides in the quality of her work, the strength and power in her independence and messaging in her femme-ness. We couldn't be more excited to have Mama as the newest member of our Midsumma family and, even more excited to introduce you to her. 


Please, let us welcome our newest team member, Mama Alto - Program Coordinator - Artist Development

Q: Describe yourself in three words:

Particularly in this role - “fabulous artist enabler!”

Q: What is the best part of your role at Midsumma? 

I am deeply passionate about helping emerging artists to flourish, so facilitating pathways for LGBTIQA+ artists and culture makers to develop and grow is the best part of my role at Midsumma - and luckily for me, that’s the very purpose of the Artist Development program coordinator!

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Wherever it is, there will be a piano and friends.

Q: What drew you to working in the arts industry?

The arts improve and enhance our lives. The arts can change the world, inspire hope, empathy, joy, reflection, and comfort; and confront inequality and oppression. The arts can make someone smile, can make someone feel understood, can make someone feel less alone.

Q: What keeps you awake at night?

I live with anxiety and depression, and my mind is often spiraling at night thinking about the state of the world. I think it’s something many of us live with, so it’s worth talking about it upfront to reduce stigma and let people know they’re not alone! If I really can’t switch off, I’ll read about the arts, design and positive social change online until I relax again, or try to wind down with a warm drink, deep breathing and therapy exercises. But the other thing that does keep me awake at night… is my cat. Why do cats get the zooms at 3am?

Q: What is the future of queer arts and culture? 

The future of queer arts and culture will be abundant with accessibility, diversity, multi-faceted layers, expression and passion. And it is our job to be the midwives for this beautiful future.

Q: What gets you out of bed on a Sunday morning?

Usually my cat, at 4.30am, demanding breakfast. 


Get in touch with Midsumma Festival to chat with Mama, check out Mama's suite of works, or get to know more of the team, starting with Flick.



Edition #3 - Midsumma's tips for queer arts, artists and culture makers in the time of COVID-19

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