Mardi Gras 2015 Program Bursting With Passion

From the phenomenal parade to poignant think-pieces, pampered picnicking pooches and parties, parties, parties, the passion pops in the program for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2015. The entire festival program has now been released!

With a jam-packed program of events, performances, exhibitions and activities, there’s something for everyone at the world’s most dazzling celebration of pride and diversity, which runs from Friday, 20 February to Sunday, 8 March 2015.

The 2015 festival focuses on the theme of ‘PASSION’ and encourages one and all to find your passion – feed it, explore it, express it – shout it from the rooftops! Mardi Gras ’15 will present Sydney with an array of free and ticketed events, including extravagant parties, exceptional comedy and theatre performances, premiere film screenings, insightful panel discussions, and many all-inclusive community events.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Co-Chairs Fran Bowron and Paul Savage encourage people to share their passions and the world. Savage said, “Mardi Gras 2015 is all about passion. It’s what drives us, connects us, inspires us and makes us an unstoppable force for change. Without passion, we only have apathy. Passion is what has pulled us through the dark periods in the face of discrimination, inequality, brutality, and conflict. Passion is what has united us to come together. Passion is what Mardi Gras is all about.”

Bowron added, “In 2015, we want to hear about what you are passionate about, what is important to you, what inspires you. We invite you to give voice to your passions. Find your people, your music, and your style. Because to find your passion is to discover who you are, and there’s nothing worth celebrating more than that”,

Michael Rolik, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO, said, “This is one of the most richly diverse Mardi Gras programs yet. There is something for everyone to get involved in, no matter their background. I’m so proud of the whole Mardi Gras team for the hard work they’ve done to create such an exciting program of events.”


Mardi Gras kicks off with a favourite annual event, Queer Thinking, a thought-provoking day of ideas, literature, academia and culture, exploring what it was to be LGBTQI in 2015. At the Seymour Centre in Chippendale on Saturday, 21 February 2015, Queer Thinking will be followed immediately by Gender Trailblazers, featuring American actress, musician, author and LGBTQI activist Calpernia Addams. Gender Trailblazers explores and celebrates the remarkable lives of Trans trailblazers who embody the courage of the human spirit.

On Sunday, 22 February 2015, one of the festival’s most treasured and highly anticipated community celebrations, Fair Day, proudly supported by ANZ, will descend again upon Victoria Park in Chippendale. Every year, more than 80,000 people and their pampered pooches come together for gourmet food, rides for the kids, market stalls, comedy, dance and live music on the main stage. And, of course, the world-famous DoggyWood dog show will have everyone wagging their tails with glee! Pack up your picnic and head down to the Newtown and Bank Hotels on King Street for the free After the Fair party when the glorious Sydney sun has set.

Combining the grandeur of the big top with the fun of a carnival and the quirks of a sideshow, Women Say Something: Cirque du Femme, presented in partnership with IVF Australia, will pull you into a world beyond your wildest imagination. At Fairground Follies, St Peters, on Friday, 27 February 2015, Women Say Something: Cirque du Femme will present a selection of inspiring women, including Magda Szubanski, Dr Kerryn Phelps and Dr Dorothy McRae-McMahon, creating dynamic discussion around the achievements of women from all communities.

There are few parties worldwide, like Mardi Gras’ Harbour Party. Diverse, sexy and bursting with energy, the 2015 Harbour Party on Saturday, 28 February 2015, is headlined by Canadian chart-topping ‘Hideaway’ singer, Kiesza. Tickets are already selling fast for this unforgettable event, so don’t miss your chance to dance the night away with 3,000 of your new best friends.

Darling Harbour will be the go-to place for friends and families to get a taste of Mardi Gras. Whether you want to dip your toes or dive right in, Wow Me! Its Mardi Gras, presented in partnership with Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, will feature a fun-filled program of events like pop-up drag shows and hands-on workshops for the kids, as well as the famous Little Black Dress Run for charity on Sunday, 1 March 2015.

Pool Party at Ivy Pool Club on Monday, 2 March 2015, is the zenith of summertime glamour in Sydney. An intimate and sexy playground, Pool Party’s mantra is maximum style, minimum clothing. Expect a long afternoon of gently swaying palm trees, private cabanas and handsome lifeguards, drifting into an evening of high-end cocktails, poolside DJs, underwater speakers, and even a disco in the change rooms.

Water babies don’t only have Pool Party to look forward to – the following night, on Tuesday 3 March 2015, the sexy Sunset Cruise sails off around the world’s most beautiful harbour. Hosted by the hilarious Ms Summer Salt aboard the spectacular MV Sydney Glass Island, you’ll be treated to magical views of the harbour, a night of drag, and fabulous music amongst a super-friendly crowd.

The eye-popping, jaw-dropping centrepiece of Mardi Gras is, of course, the Parade. Proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, the 37th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade will be held on Saturday, 7 March 2015, and there is no more perfect combination of passion and people. For an extra special viewing experience of the Parade, step right up to Parade Sideshow, a premium spectator spot that offers bars, food stalls, live screens, celebrity hosts, the all-important bathrooms, and seating if your feet need a rest. Tickets are available for all ages and there’s even a family ticket bundle. There’s also The Diamond Club, presented in partnership with ANZ, an exclusive viewing area reserved for members of Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Following the parade, on Saturday, 7 March 2015, will be the official Mardi Gras Party at Playbill Venues and Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park. With a piping hot line-up of DJs and musical acts from across the globe, including David Morales (USA), Paul Mac with special guests, Sammy Jo (USA) and JD Samson (USA) (with more to be announced), the Mardi Gras party is the only place to be to keep the celebrations kicking long into the night.

Finally, rounding out the official festival program will be the viral The Laneway event on Sunday, 8 March 2015. A buzzing indoor/outdoor party that has been a Mardi Gras institution for years, The Laneway is held along the Hill St laneway in Surry Hills. It extends to the Beresford and Flinders Hotels at either end. Celebrate the end of Mardi Gras and recover from the Party the night before with live music, diva drop-ins, pop-up drag shows and a terrific mix of different spaces with top-notch DJs.

In addition to the staple festival events, Mardi Gras 2015 will offer a plethora of incredible cultural and community events across Sydney, ensuring that every local and visiting friend has an opportunity to find their passion in their own Mardi Gras highlight!


Blown in from the West, Bar Bitch Chew Art is an alternate-queer party set to storm Oxford Art Factory for one night only on Sunday, 1 March 2015. Curated by avant-garde theatre collective Voix De La Ville, subterranean spearheads Ash Baroque and Strykermeyer conspire with world-class performers to invoke a mind-bending maelstrom of unhinged hallucination and fierce, exact satire. See the revolution for yourself.

Hailed as ‘the new Joan Rivers’ and the winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race Season 6, Bianca Del Rio is bringing her fiercely fabulous show to Mardi Gras with special guest Courtney Act. Direct from a sell-out season in New York, this is your chance to catch this Queen in style and comfort at Sydney Theatre on Friday, 27 February 2015.

Opening the 2015 Downstairs season at Belvoir is Blue Wizard by Nick Coyle. Uniting theatre, magic, puppetry, song and highly original costume design, Blue Wizard tells the story of an intergalactic blue wizard who gets stranded on Earth. Playing from Thursday 19 February to Sunday 15 March 2015, this is Coyle’s hilarious attempt at the ‘gayest one-man show ever.’

Premiering in Sydney for Mardi Gras, COCK by Mike Bartlett is a play about an unconventional love triangle that earned rave reviews in London and picked up an Olivier Award in the process. Don’t miss this captivating show starring hot young Australian talent at the Old Fitz Theatre from Tuesday, 3 February to Friday, 6 March 2015.

A hit at last year’s festival, Day for Night was back bigger and better in 2015. Part exhibition, part performance art go-go and part T-dance, Day for Night is a collaboration between Performance Space, Mardi Gras and Carriageworks that places Australia’s boldest queer artists in a durational performance wunderkammer. It kicks off with a unique dance-art party on the night of Friday, 20 February, with the exhibition of live performances continuing over the weekend.

Another Sydney premiere is Gaybies, by Helpmann Award winner Dean Bryant. A funny and moving piece of real-life theatre about children who have grown up with gay parents, Gaybies has drawn from real-life interviews from people aged four to forty. It plays at the Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst from Friday, 6 February to Sunday, 8 March 2015.

The impeccable, multi-talented, and somewhat intimidating Sandra Bernhard is coming to Sydney’s Enmore Theatre to transform it into her own personal Sandyland. She’ll tell you jokes and stories, sing for you and insult you if you’re lucky. Those who’ve seen her are instant die-hard fans. Do yourself a favour and see Sandyland at the Enmore on Friday 6 March 2015.


Curious to see how much Mardi Gras has changed over the years? The HAPPY MARDI GRAS! The photographic exhibition will display fascinating photos from the City of Sydney Archive’s C. Moore Hardy collection documenting two decades of Mardi Gras fabulousness – the fun, the fair, the protest, the party. It runs from Friday, 3 February to Friday, 27 March 2015, at Surry Hills Library.

Winner of the Mardi Gras 2014 Best Visual Arts Event, Richard Hedger is returning in 2015 with a new photographic exhibition National Treasures, a celebration of aging in the LGBTI community, at Muse Art Collective in Darlinghurst from Friday 20 February to Sunday 8 March 2015.


The ever-popular Mardi Gras film-reviews Festival presented by Queer Screen is on again in 2015 at Event Cinemas George Street from Thursday 19 February to Thursday 5 March. A teaser of ten films from the program has been released, and it already looks like the festival is set to be one of the best yet, with several premieres, award-winners and an Oscar contender. Stay tuned for the entire program to be revealed in January, and get ready to buy your 5 or 10 film-reviews Flexi Passes. You’ll be spoilt for choice!


Dance beneath the highest spinning disco ball in all of Sydney – atop the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Returning to Mardi Gras is an experience unlike any other, the Mardi Gras Disco Climb. This climb has limited departures and is only available from Wednesday, 25 February, to Sunday, 8 March, so book now!

This year, you also have the chance to be part of the first gay event at the Sydney Observatory: the aptly titled Stargayzing on the evening of 20 February 2015.


Presented by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Women’s Committee in collaboration with Dykes on Bikes,  Women’s Soiree is an afternoon of drinks to celebrate the involvement of women in Mardi Gras. There will be short talks and entertainment, including performance artist and poet Candy Royalle. So come along on Saturday, 7 February, with a friend or two, and find out just how rewarding it is to be a part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Sydney Frontrunners are hosting their annual Little Black Dress Run again at Darling Harbour on Sunday, 1 March. The LBD Run raises crucial funds for Camp Goodtime, organised by Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation for children living with HIV. In 2014, the run raised over $45,000! So frock up, drape yourself in your finmost delicatearls and jewels, and join drag hostess Joyce Maynge for a 2km run, walk or high-heeled totter around Darling Harbour! It’s free to join, and fabulous prizes are up for grabs for top fundraisers and best dressed.


You are calling all young professionals and students from all disciplines and industries! Come along on Thursday, 26 February, for an informal gathering to meet your peers, share your stories and explore opportunities in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. Sydney Young Connect is presented by the Mardi Gras YourGen project in association with Sydney Gay & Lesbian Business Association and Out for Sydney.


The 2015 Sports Festival, presented by Team Sydney, showcases a wide range of sports for beginners to experienced players. Highlights include the Sydney Frontrunners Fun Run on Parade morning (Saturday, 7 March), the Freezone Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, 21 February, and the Mardi Gras Tenpin Bowling Tournament on Monday, 2 March.

For further information on the 2015 festival program and to buy tickets, visit