Midsumma Futures

Archie Barry, previous Midsumma Futures participant, in Hypnic (2017), performance approximately 4min. Photograph Credit: Vanessa Godden

Midsumma Futures

Midsumma Futures is a nine-month development and mentoring program for early-career artists and culture-makers, kicking off in October and running until May. 

This program provides a queer context in which participants can develop their practice, and includes access to professional mentoring, and workshops with likeminded (or radically different-minded) peers.

Midsumma Futures provides the opportunity for today's generation of early-career artists to advance their career, deepen their practice, gain exposure and lead the future of queer culture.

For 30 years Midsumma has been fertile ground for queer culture-makers, forging careers for some of Australia’s most respected cultural and artistic voices. Check out the 12 successful applicants, and their mentors, for the inaugural Midsumma Futures in 2017-2018.

Stomping Ground Brewing Co is a neighbourhood brewery in Collingwood bringing people together over a great beer.

At the start of 2017, Stomping Ground Brewing Co launched a partnership with Midsumma Festival that saw them create a beer designed to help support artists within LGBTQIA+ communities. That beer was PRIDElweiss, with the brewery donating 50 cents from every pot sold to the Midsumma Futures mentoring program.

Inside the rainbow cans, you'll find an Australian wheat beer with a fluffy white head that's just as fluffy and full on the palate. The brewers clearly haven't held back on the hops, with pineapple and mango dominating the aroma and a surprisingly grippy and resinous grapefruit bitterness delivering a lingering bite too.

This program is made possible with their generous support.

Logo of Stomping Ground


Midsumma Futures 2018-2019

The following 11 participants were selected for Midsumma Futures 2018-2019. They were then matched with a professional artist mentor and attended three professional development workshops led by artists and industry representatives.


– mentored by Ripley Kavara (Aus)

Daisy Catterall is a Maori Ngati Maniapoto woman, based in Sydney, Australia. Daiy’s creative practice spans multiple disciplines including visual art, DJing, writing, zine-making and singing, all which share the common goal of empowering young and marginalised people. She also does this through her youth work, producing events for young queer people to have an opportunity to socialise, learn a new skill and explore their identities safely.
She works as a DJ (DJ DEE*LUSCIOUS) where she plays RnB and hip hop music at queer parties and community events. Daisy is a co-founder of New Wayfinders, an art collective of young and emerging Pasifika people based in Naarm Melbourne, who are looking to explore queerness and their cultural identity through art making.


– mentored by William Johnson (USA)

Gene Smith is Program Manager at Melbourne Writers Festival, and is a literary programmer, producer, writer, and voracious reader, with a particular interest in queer literature and experience.

He has worked for some of Australia’s premier arts organisations, including Sydney Opera House, NIDA, Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Sydney Writers’ Festival.


– mentored by Maude Davey and Mama Alto

George is an emerging producer and cabaret performer, under the name Mx Munro. 

They are currently completing a law arts double degree at La Trobe University with a major in Gender, Sexuality, and Diversity Studies. They are interested in combing intersectional feminist practice of critique and engaging in storytelling and community building.

As a non binary person, they are also interested in combating binary thinking and narrative building, but rather exploring all the shades of grey.


– mentored by Chris Kraus (USA)

Georgia Banks is a Melbourne based artist working primarily with live performance. She has completed a Masters of Fine Arts from Victoria College of the Arts, for which she was awarded the National Gallery of Victoria Women’s Association Award. Her work is predominantly concerned with extrapolating a new conceptual and evaluative framework for which to better understand the potential for reenactment to be used as a radically feminist act of transformation and reclamation.

Banks has spoken about her practice at a number of symposiums and conferences, including ‘Women and Feminist Art in Australia Since 1970’ at Victoria College of the Arts, and the ‘Feminist Renewal Art Network’ at the Art Gallery of South Australia, with an upcoming performance lecture at Parsons School of Design for the ‘ANYWHERE’ symposium.

Banks has exhibited extensively across Australia; her work has recently been exhibited as a part of FRAN Festival, the Festival of Live Art, Melbourne Fringe Festival and at The Other Art Fair, with upcoming projects at as a part of Project Anywhere, One Night in Footscray, and at Queensland’s Metro Arts.


– mentored by Steven Amsterdam (USA)

Hannah Samuel is a Melbourne based writer and producer. Since graduating in 2015 from the Victorian College of the Arts, with a Bachelor of Fine Art: Screenwriting, she has worked at Matchbox Pictures across their diverse slate of shows. In 2017 she co-wrote and co-directed an ad for Marriage Equality, executive produced by Tony Ayres. Most recently, she was deployed to Perth to work as producer’s assistant on the highly anticipated, new ABC drama series, The Heights.

Hannah is drawn to stories about people of colour, the female experience, and coming of age in a world she doesn’t quite understand. Her stories are navigated by her guileless humour and buoyant child-like wonder and spirit. Her favourite colour is yellow and she knows every dog breed in the world (unverified).


– mentored by Morgan McWaters

Meri Leeworthy is an artist and designer living in Footscray, Naarm (so-called Melbourne). Through a multiplicity of processes and forms, Meri aims to engender a contemporary sacred performance practice. Their work is rooted in their experience as a queer ex-Mormon, and expanded through a critical and collaborative research process that aims to give space to other(ed) voices and bodies. They have created performance in collaboration with Next Wave, La Mama and Performance Space, exhibited work at the George Paton Gallery and SIGNAL, and worked as a designer with Harriet Gillies, Nana Biluš Abaffy and Phillip Adams Balletlab. Their recent performance work Paradisiac was presented as part of Critical Mass, Melbourne Fringe 2018.


- mentored by Fez Fa'anana

Mark Brown II, aka Nefertiti LaNegra, is a performance artist based in Melbourne but originally from a small hamlet called Haynesville, VA (USA). He is a graduate of Brown University (Providence, RI USA) where he studied Theatre Arts and Ethnic Studies with focus in feminism. His artistic background and practice includes Afro-Cuban dance, Haitian dance, West African (primarily Malian) dance, modern dance, theatre, drag, and playwriting. In addition to being an artist he also likes to lift heavy objects via Crossfit - but he is not #teamMasc and is always trying to recruit new queers to join, so don’t get it twisted and he's a coder.

Nefertiti LaNegra is a muscle queen of color who loves nothing more than to explode, expand, and fail at drag and vocal music. She samples music that is representative of her background (including salsa, Santeria chants, African-American gospel, and queer pop icons) to highlight the innate expressions of her voice and to draw connection between herself and the history of her communities. When thinking about drag everyone expects a Judy Garland but no one expects a Serena Williams - and that’s where Nefertiti fills the gap.


– mentored by Hannah Kent (Aus)

Nadia Bailey a writer and critic based in Melbourne. Her creative work has appeared in journals like The Lifted Brow, Cordite Poetry Review and Voiceworks, and as a journalist, she’s been published in The Australian, The Age, Australian Gourmet Traveller, and more. Nadia was the recipient of Express Media’s inaugural poetry mentorship with Dorothy Porter, the winner of the 2014 Adrien Abbot Poetry Prize and was awarded highly commended in the 2017 OutStanding Queer Short Story Awards.

She has appeared at Melbourne Writers Festival, Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Emerging Writers’ Festival and the National Young Writers’ Festival and was part of Voiceworks’ editorial committee for three years. She holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing.


– mentored by Lawrence English (Aus)

Romy Seven Fox is an interdisciplinary artist and composer based in Melbourne. Her work primarily deals with exploring identity and body, protective witchcraft and navigating queer spaces as a trans-woman. She is an active member of performance art vehicle Embittered Swish, with whom she devised and performed in“Estrogenesis”, an exploration of trans futures, medical dreams and nightmares for the 2018 Next Wave Festival. Individually she has performed creative work at Firstdraft Galleries, Airspace Projects, as part of FOMO’s ‘FAUX MO’ after-party in Hobart and ACCA for Liquid Architecture. Driven by vibrations, textures and tones, she acts as a conduit for whispered confessions and glitched hymns from undesirable gender outlaws.


– mentored by Declan Greene (Aus)

Samuel Russo is an emerging performer, theatremaker, educator and director with a passion for physical dynamism, narrative and queer aesthetics. Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts, Samuel has been creating playful and imaginative work for venues and festivals around the country including How To Kill The Queen of Pop, Massive Bitch, Lonely Planet and High Achievers. Samuel is currently developing a re-imagining of The Maids By Jean Genet with long time collaborator Adam Ibrahim which will premiere at Midsumma Festival 2019.

Samuel recently accepted an offer to study a Masters of Collaborative Theatre Making with Frantic Assembly & Coventry University in the UK, which he hopes to undertake in 2020.

Samuel’s Credits include: As Director or Assistant Director: Massive Bitch (Sydney Fringe/ Melbourne International Comedy Festival), High Achievers (Melbourne International Comedy Festival / Melbourne Fringe), The Chapel Perilous (VCA), Detroit(Red Stitch Actors Theatre), As Maker/Performer: How To Kill The Queen Of Pop (Perth Fringe World/ Melbourne Fringe Festival), Rainbow Paradiso (Melbourne Fringe), Lonely Planet (Melbourne Fringe), 3 Boys 1 Box (VCA/Fairfax Regional Arts Festival), Un/Clean (VCA), Contra (VCA/Fr!sk Festival Regional Tour). As Performer; Werewolf (Red Stitch - Play List), Cuckoo (45 Downstairs), Notes from Zombieland (Darebin True North Festival), The Woman in Black (Brisbane Arts Theatre), Narnia (Brisbane Arts Theatre), The Greeks (VCA), Three Sisters (VCA) and The Little Prince (VCA).

Samuel is totally stoked to be taking part in the Midsumma Futures Program. samuelrusso.com


– mentored by Tim Smith-Stewart (USA)

Tom (he/his/him) is a freelance composer, sound designer and producer. As a sound designer some of his credits include Anti-Hamlet (New Working Group), The Mill on the Floss (OpticNerve Performance Group), Astroman (Melbourne Theatre Company), Can't Be Tamed (Baker's Dozen Theatre Co) and my sister feather (VIMH). In 2017 Tom was a recipient of the Besen Family Artist Placement at the Malthouse Theatre, working with Jethro Woodward on The Real and Imagined History of the Elephant Man. As a producer Tom has worked closely with subversive comedy group The Very Good Looking Initiative.

He was associate producer on the Green Room nominated, Let's Get Practical! Live and the award winning social media comedy, CULL. In 2018 Tom was awarded Best Emerging Producer at the Melbourne Fringe Festival for presenting Dazza and Keif Go Viral.

Check out the 12 successful applicants, and their mentors, for Midsumma Futures in 2017-2018.


Midsumma Pathways

Midsumma Pathways is a four-month development program providing a queer context in which seven LGBTQIA+ artists with disability will develop their creative practice.

Midsumma Year Round

Want to know what else we do (apart from run a fantastic arts festival each year, of course)! Check out our mentorship programs and year-round activities.

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