Culture and heritage

Spirits soar with bold new art

A person in a sparkly dress with a large flower in their hair performs on stage

Celebrate transgender experience and ponder the dualities of life as bold new theatre, music and visual art fills the city, supported by our Annual Arts Grants.

We’ve backed more than 1000 artists to push their boundaries and test ideas through 94 arts projects this year.

The projects are expected to attract about 200,000 people to Melbourne, strengthening our creative and economic recovery.

Applications for the program were among the most diverse we’ve ever seen, with three quarters of applicants coming from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and more than a quarter from artists with disability.

Gender Euphoria: Mighty Real will bring together the largest trans and non-binary cast ever to appear on a main stage at Arts Centre Melbourne from 28 March to 1 April.

This variety-style performance will showcase singers, dancers, circus artists, comedians, actors and poets in an uplifting and inclusive affirmation of power, led by Mama Alto.

The Gender Euphoria ensemble, photographed by Alexis Desaulniers-Lea

‘In the arts, we’ve seen so often trans representation “about” us “without” us – without centering our authentic presence – and we’ve seen emphasis on our tragedies and traumas,’ Mama Alto said.

‘But what if we can author our own narratives, and show the euphoria of letting your true spirit soar?

‘My vision for the future of trans experience and identity is one where we thrive and flourish, living safely as our full selves, celebrating the unique beauty and joy that every human being contains.’

Director Maude Davey said Gender Euphoria demonstrates that unleashing gender constrictions unleashes possibility and power.  

‘Our conceptions of gender are transforming to encompass what many cultures have always known, that male and female are not the only options, that biology is not destiny and that people are capable of living in many different ways,’ Maude said.  


We’re also supporting singer-songwriter Lior to launch a new studio album exploring dualities of identity with performances at Melbourne Recital Centre and intimate, unique venues across town.

‘Melbourne is such a rich and diverse city culturally. I love being part of the arts fabric here and to be able to connect with so many interesting and unique artists,’ Lior said.

‘I think the pandemic has given everyone more of a carpe-diem approach to living and I see this translating both into the creation side as well as the hunger and enthusiasm for appreciating the arts in this city.’

Check online for Lior’s show dates and locations.

Other arts grants recipients include:

  • Oceanic Feeling by Elena Betros López – a moving image project looking at the Southern Ocean as a place of resilience and abundance in the face of global warming and climate change.
  • Memory, Material and Cultural Agency by Brian Martin – a visual art project using living trees and other Aboriginal cultural materials.
  • Of The Land On Which We Meet by Na Djinang Circus – a contemporary circus work acknowledging and exploring connection to Country.
  • Disconnected by Olivia Muscat – an autobiographical theatre work exploring anxiety and fear in the face of love, loss and connection through a disabled lens.

For more information, visit Annual Arts Grants.

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