Midsumma Matters: The Future of Queer Arts


Queer identity and Queer arts practice

Midsumma Matters will explore the future of Queer Arts in Australia and beyond.

The forum will discuss a variety of topics including Queer Identity and how it informs arts practice, the new National Arts Policy, the new Melbourne Arts Precinct and the place of queer artists within these landscapes.

The panelists are: Adena Jacobs, Daniel Santangeli, Jo Clifford, Kath Duncan and Wesley Enoch AM.


Panel facilitated by Karen Bryant, Midsumma CEO

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Adena Jacobs

Adena Jacobs is a Naarm (Melbourne) based theatre director and the Artistic Director of independent company Fraught Outfit. Her distinct body of work incorporates queer and feminist renderings of ancient texts, hallucinatory landscapes and rich sound scores. Nationally, her work has been presented at Carriageworks, Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Festival, Dark Mofo, MTC, Theatre Works, Malthouse Theatre and Belvoir where she was Resident Director in 2014/15. Internationally, she has directed for Vienna’s Burgtheater, London’s English National Opera and Tokyo Festival.

As a dramaturge, Adena has collaborated with Lucy Guerin, Melanie Lane, Aaron Orzech, Nick Coyle and renown Indonesian filmmaker Kamila Andini as part of Asia TOPA.

Adena is the recipient of MIAF’s Harold Mitchell Fellowship, the George Fairfax Memorial Award and two Green Room Awards. IN 2018, Adena Jacobs' and Damien Ricketson's THE HOWLING GIRLS was awarded the Music Theatre NOW prize as part of Operadagen Rotterdam, and the Best Vocal/Choral Work by APRA AMCOS at the 2019 Art Music Awards. Her recent production of DIE TROERINNEN at Burgtheater was shortlisted by the festival jury for Theatertreffen 2023.

Daniel Santangeli

Daniel is Artistic Director and Co-CEO of Footscray Community Arts, a world-renowned community-engaged, contemporary arts centre located in Melbourne’s western suburbs. Daniel is outgoing Chair for Outer Urban Projects, a performing arts company working with emerging artists from Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs. Daniel is one of 24 CEOs currently participating in the Social Impact Leadership Program, supported by the Sidney Myer Fund and Myer Foundation, Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation and Paul Ramsay Foundation. He has previously participated in Australia Council for the Arts and Leadership Victoria leadership programs. Prior to his time at Footscray Community Arts, Daniel was Program Manager at Midsumma Festival (2016 – 2019), and previously Program Producer and Program Coordinator at Next Wave (2012 – 2016). He frequently hosts Richard Watts’ Smart Arts Program on Triple R.

Jo Clifford

Jo Clifford is a playwright, performer, proud father and grandmother. She is the author of over 100 plays. She recently performed her Gospel According to Jesus Queen of Heaven in Sao Paulo just before lockdown after a hugely successful 10th anniversary season in the Tron the previous October. The play has since been translated into German and into Norwegian; and it is being successfully toured in both countries this year. Later this year it will be performed in Reykjavik (in Icelandic) and Copenhagen (in Danish).

Her translation of Life is a Dream was revived by the Lyceum in late 2021 in an acclaimed and multi award winning new production.; the Finnish translation of her Wuthering Heights ran in Helsinki and Seinajoki; and she is coming to Melbourne straight after seeing her Light in the Village in an Urdu translation in Karachi.

Previously she performed as one of the women in Tai Shani's Turner Prize winning installation DC Semiramis in the Turner Gallery Margate; her Anna Karenina had a highly successful run in Tokyo, and her queer version of The Taming of the Shrew was performed to great acclaim in Cardiff and Glasgow.

The Not So Ugly Duckling (a play for grown-ups), which she co-created and performed with the actress and writer Maria MacDonell opened last August at the Edinburgh Fringe.

In November she performed her Covid Requiem with her co-writer Lesley Orr in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, with the cathedral choir who sang Faure’s Requiem. She also broadcast a daily blessing with Queen Jesus from there during lockdown; and is planning to perform the world premiere of her new piece, Sister Death, later in 2023. She also writes a twice weekly newsletter.

Jo has been recognised for her transformative work in theatre, including the ground-breaking play The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven as well as her contribution to the queer community by being canonised as Saint Jo, Scribe Of Our Soul by the Order of Perpetual Indulgence Edinburgh.

Kath Duncan

Kath Duncan is a disabled queer lover of writing, text and performance, pronouns she/her. Kath's intersectionalities of queerness and disability come together in her form and appearance, as well as the sort of media/text she creates. Kath co-founded the queer disabled spoken word cabaret troupe Quippings: Disability Unleashed, produced a series of national disability arts workshops with the University of Melbourne called The Last Avant Garde; and is currently working on her own performance pieces, Hi Heartbreak! – a queer hot Christmas plane crash - and Specials – a play about 2 people meeting as adults outside their Special School and blowing it up.

Kath's creative background is in media production, working in Australian community radio and TV in the 1980s, and ABC Radio and SBS TV in the 90s.

Kath is the recipient of the Australia Council 2020 Ros Bower Award for Community Arts and Cultural Development.

Wesley Enoch AM

Wesley Enoch is a writer and director. He hails from Stradbroke Island (Minjeribah) and is a proud Quandamooka man.

Previously Wesley has been the Artistic Director at Sydney Festival from 2017 – 2020; Kooemba Jdarra Indigenous Performing Arts; Artistic Director at Ilbijerri Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Theatre Co-operative and the Associate Artistic Director at Belvoir Street Theatre. Wesley’s other residencies include Resident Director at Sydney Theatre Company; the 2002 Australia Council Cite Internationale des Arts Residency in Paris and the Australia Council Artistic Director for the Australian Delegation to the 2008 Festival of Pacific Arts. He was creative consultant, segment director and indigenous consultant for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Wesley has written and directed iconic Indigenous theatre productions. The 7 Stages of Grieving, which Wesley directed and co-wrote with Deborah Mailman was first produced in 1995 and continues to tour both nationally and internationally. Others include The Sunshine Club for Queensland Theatre Company and a new adaptation of Medea by Euripides’; Black Medea. His play The Story of the Miracles at Cookie's Table won the 2005 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award.

In 2004 Wesley directed the original stage production of The Saphires, which won the 2005 Helpmann Award for Best Play. Other productions include Appropriate, Black Cockatoo, Stolen, Riverland, Mother Courage and her Children, Headful of Love, Bombshells, Black Diggers, Gasp!, Country Song, Happy Days and The Odd Couple, I am Eora, One Night The Moon, The Man from Mukinupin, Yibiyung, Parramatta Girls, Capricornia, The Cherry Pickers and Romeo and Juliet.

Wesley’s most recent productions include A Raisin in the Sun, for Sydney Theatre Company, and the musical The Sunshine Club, which Wesley wrote and directed for Queensland Theatre. In 2021 Wesley received the Dorothy Crawford Award For Outstanding Contribution to the Profession and the Industry at the AWGIES.

Event & ticketing details



Auslan Interpreted
Wheelchair Access
Vision Rating less than 50%

Dates & Times

WHEN Sat 4 Feb 1:30pm
DURATION 1hr 30m


FREE Registration required


Fed Square - The Edge

Flinders St, Melbourne CBD

Get directions


Flinders Street


35, 70, 75 to stop 5 or 6 | Any Swanston St tram to stop 13

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