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Celebrate queer artists with the inaugural Queer Arts Festival

Celebrate queer artists with the inaugural Queer Arts Festival

This winter, warm your heart and boost your spirits with a week of fabulous art and artistry. The inaugural Queer Arts Festival will take place in Wellington from 30 May to 5 June, featuring more than 60 queer artists across a range of events.

On a road trip in late 2021, Queer AF co-founders Jess Ducey (they/she) and Ania Upstill (they/them) came up with the idea while ranting about the importance of joyous queer representation. ‘If I’d seen queerness treated as more than a punchline or an insult when I was young, it probably wouldn’t have taken me so long to come out,’ says Ducey, ruefully. Adds Upstill, ‘So much of our classic queer art tells a narrative of tragedy, like Brokeback Mountain or Rent. What about the happy gays? We exist too!’

As a result, Ducey says that Queer AF will be packed with LGBTQIA+ artists across as many genres of art as possible. ‘It’s been a rough few years for everyone, but especially the arts and artists, and frankly, Wellington deserves some joy and whimsy. We’re excited about creating paid performance opportunities for queer artists, and giving Wellingtonians a chance to discover something new, whether that be in theatre, drag, burlesque, circus, improv, poetry… Watch this space!’

Upstill adds that the enthusiasm they’ve seen from artists, venues, and partners shows that the city is ready for a festival dedicated to queer art. ‘We’ve got an amazing team of curators producing shows, and are partnering with queer organisations to offer opportunities for rangatahi and emerging artists to develop their practice.’

They emphasise that this festival is just the beginning, and they want it to be driven by and for the queer community. ‘If people have ideas for other events or otherwise want to get involved, we’d love to hear from you. We welcome all Wellingtonians to experience a rainbow of representation at Queer AF this year!’

Wellington is invited to celebrate queer joy at the inaugural Queer Arts Festival from 30 May to 5 June 2022. The festival is supported by the Wellington Creative Communities Fund.

Programme and ticketing information available at BATS will be home to 'Too Much Hair' a new musical cabaret about gender euphoria, which highlights the joy of being oneself and having diverse expressions of gender. Read more about Too Much Hair here!


For further information, contact: [email protected]