La Mama Theatre presents Midsummica
In collaboration with Midsumma Pathways, La Mama Theatre is set to host the second annual Midsummica event on February 5; a celebration of LGBTQIA+ identities, disabled, and neurodiverse performers.
The event will showcase a range of performances from theatre and music, to spoken word and dance, featuring six talented alumni from the Midsumma Pathways Program in a single, dynamic night of artistic expression.
“A lot of the feedback that we were getting from artists in Midsumma Pathways was that not everybody wants to put on a full scale work – not everybody wants to do a whole season,” Midsumma Festival’s artist development manager, Harriet Devlin said.
“We started to think about what would be a useful format for artists and audiences, where a number of artists could test their work in a group setting.”
The program for Midsummica has been codesigned by Harriet and Midsumma Pathways coordinator, Ebony Rattle, and the La Mama team.
Harriet says that audiences can expect “a bit of a rollercoaster” of independent ideas and “raw storytelling”.
“It really is a partnership between Midsumma Pathways and La Mama to support independent, emerging artists who are at that intersectional identity of LGBTQIA+, disabled, deaf and neurodiverse,” Harriet told Inner City News.
One of the six performances will include Sam Martin and Nathan Borg’s Bump Into You, an adaptation of their show Deaf Enough, which premiered at Melbourne Fringe Festival in 2023.
“Bump Into You is a creative exploration based on the experiences of deaf people meeting each other – in our performance, we explore how two characters bond despite their differences,” Sam and Nathan said.
“We want to highlight that there is no one way to be deaf, we all have choices on how to live our life - choices are fluid and there are no wrong options.”
While all Midsummica performances will be Auslan-interpreted, Bump Into You uniquely combines Sam’s signing with Nathan’s spoken words.
“We hope that audiences, both deaf and hearing, will come away from our performance with an understanding and impactful reminder that deaf people, regardless of identity, culture and language, can connect no matter what,” the pair said.
“We may live different lives, but we are more similar than different – let’s embrace our differences and choices and choose to unite over our shared experiences.”
Having met for the first time at La Mama for Sam’s Melbourne debut of the one-person show, Sam I Am, the two share a close relationship both “as friends and artistic collaborators”.
“For us, this is definitely a full-circle moment, and this performance is an insight into an updated time capsule of us together in 2024.”
Beyond Midsummica, the broader Midsumma Festival running from January 21 to February 11, promises a diverse array of performances across Melbourne, where Harriet hopes individuals will be able to “express themselves to the fullest extent”.
“I hope that people can be loud and proud if that’s what they want to do, or that they can go to a library and have a quiet interaction or listen to a panel talk if that’s what interesting to them,” Harriet said.
“I would hope that queer communities and their allies can find an experience that feels welcoming for them.”
Midsummica will play at La Mama Theatre on February 5, and will be available to livestream. •
Photography credit: Mish Winters