Back in 2019, Sydney was lucky enough to win hosting rights to the fabulous WorldPride event in 2023. Around the world, Pride is a time to celebrate the existence of LGBTQIA+ people. It’s been a long time coming, but Sydney WorldPride is almost here — so it’s time to get you up to speed on all the incredible events that will be taking place across the city come February.
What Is Sydney WorldPride 2023?
WorldPride is a global event that takes place in a different city around the world every two years. It’s been held in New York, Rome, London, Toronto and more — and lucky for us, WorldPride is heading Down Under in 2023. This is also the first time WorldPride will be held in the Southern Hemisphere.
The best part is, WorldPride is linking up with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to bring us a bumper edition of the festival. All the most beloved traditions of Mardi Gras — like the Parade, the Party, Fair Day and Sissy Ball — will be taking place amongst the WorldPride celebrations. All in all, it’s going to be a massive, 200+ event festival.
That’s not all, either. The supersized festival is even more special as 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Australian Gay Pride Week, the 45th anniversary of the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and the fifth anniversary of Marriage Equality in Australia. All the more reason to party!
When Is Sydney WorldPride 2023?
Sydney WorldPride will take place from Friday February 17 to Sunday March 5, 2023. That’s two weeks of back-to-back parties, concerts, balls and other festivities, which means there’s something for absolutely everyone.
Which is just as well, because it looks like about 500,000 people are expected to attend. Slay.
Who Is Performing?
Oh my goodness, where to start. Charli XCX, Kylie Minogue and Jessica Mauboy will be performing at the official Opening Concert (which will also be broadcast on the ABC if you can’t make it in person).
But WorldPride is not just about music. There will also be a huge number of drag performances, plays, comedy, dance performances, movie screenings, sports, exhibitions, balls, parties, lectures and more.
Let’s dive into the stacked lineup, shall we?
What Are The Main WorldPride Events?
The Opening Concert is going to be one hell of a welcome party for our global queer family. Pop superstars Charli XCX, Kylie Minogue and Jessica Mauboy will be performing, while queer icons Courtney Act and Casey Donovan will host.
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade is back home on Oxford St next year after being held at the Sydney Cricket Ground last Mardi Gras. There are plenty of spots to catch all the action — head to Ruby Road with a picnic blanket for an all-ages experience, or enjoy the luxury of Club Cindy, with its food, bar and bathrooms (ooh la la).
This fabulous showcase will celebrate World First Nations excellence. A massive variety of performers will take the stage, including Aboriginal Comedy All Stars, House Of Alexander, Casus, Humxn and many more. This event has been curated by Haus Of Kong, home of the incredible Kween Kong.
Helpmann Award-winning director Dean Bryant returns to the Sydney Theatre Company with Hubris and Humiliation, a modern-day, queer, uniquely Australian Pride & Prejudice. This hilarious comedy is a high-camp exploration of love, family and commitment.
Miss First Nation has become a fixture on the Australian drag circuit. This stunning celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander drag performers will take place over two massive nights — who will be crowned drag royalty?
This multidisciplinary exhibition showcases Sydney’s leading queer creatives who are reshaping attitudes towards their communities. Drop by and have a look through the gorgeous and moving commissions, comprising costume, design, visual art, fashion and multimedia.
Catch this once-in-a-lifetime performance from the award-winning performer Mo’Ju in collaboration with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the historic Sydney Opera House. Mo’Ju’s smooth, complex soul sound is set to unite with the full power and impact of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra — this is one performance you do not want to miss.
The Queer Sporting Alliance does sport a little differently. Get down to this event at KGV Recreation Centre to enjoy a game of basketball, followed by a super-queer roller disco. Bring your very best skatewear — there will be prizes!
Camp Culture is an interactive circus show for audience members of any age. Presented by Dale Woodbridge Brown, one of Australia’s most exciting circus performers, Camp Culture will help you discover your authentic, beautiful self.
Bloodlines is a loving, expressive tribute to legendary artists lost too soon to HIV/AIDS. The Huxleys' work evokes the colourful, rebellious and creative spirit of these queer saints. This beautiful exhibition is a heartbreaking but vital stop on your WorldPride journey.
Blessed Union is a lesbian divorce comedy from the brilliant mind of Maeve Marsden. This is a witty, hilarious play about a new kind of family and a couple who take a look at their lives and wonder if things could perhaps be done a little differently.
In 2023, Queer Screen will deliver its 30th Mardi Gras Queer Film Festival. There will be exciting film premieres, beloved classics, insightful documentaries, compelling romances, hilarious comedies and more, with each film showcasing the diversity of the queer experience.
The spectacular drag performer Coco Jumbo is set to host this hilarious event, featuring two sets from comedians Geraldine Hickey and Nath Valvo. Pop down for a giggle and a cocktail.
Witness one of Australia’s greatest storytellers and internationally renowned performance artist William Yang, as he takes you on a journey through 1970s Sydney and the vibrant history of Mardi Gras. This performance also features stunning live music from composer Timothy Fairless.
What Else Is There To See & Do During World Pride?
Museums, businesses, councils and a number of other organisations are installing rainbow public artworks across Sydney. On February 17, the Sydney Opera House will be lit up with a Progress Pride Flag to mark the start of Sydney WorldPride. First Nations artist Dylan Mooney will be working with a team of muralists to paint the northern side of the Top of the Town building in Darlinghurst, and Taronga Zoo Sydney’s giant bronze gorilla, Queen Nyani (formerly King Nyani) will be decked out with a giant rainbow cape and recline under the lights.
From February 24 to March 5, buzzing Crown and Riley Streets will become home to daily stalls, dining, bars and performances as part of Pride Villages. Then on March 4 to March 5, Oxford Street will be transformed into a street party to celebrate the 45th anniversary of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Expect performances from the likes of Vassy, HANDSOME, Haiku Hands and Chela over this final weekend of WorldPride. There's also the opportunity to support small businesses at the American Express Shop Small Village.
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