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Ballarat Courier – Frolic Cabaret @ Winterfest article

The Ballarat Courier – Frolic Festival to showcase all the glamour of LGBTIQA+ arts and culture at winter cabaret performance.

FROLIC: Organiser Jay Morrison with performers Maureen Andrew, Minnie Mayhem, Holly Pop, Katherine Gale and Lil Jul. Photo: Kate Healy

FROLIC: Organiser Jay Morrison with performers Maureen Andrew, Minnie Mayhem, Holly Pop, Katherine Gale and Lil Jul. Photo: Kate Healy

The Ballarat Frolic Festival will put on two loud and colourful cabaret shows featuring burlesque, singing and drag during the Ballarat Winter Festival on consecutive Saturdays.

The performances will focus on the avant-garde while giving both experienced and newer performers a place to shine on stage.

Ballarat Frolic Festival is an annual, volunteer-run festival that promotes LGBTIQA+ arts and culture each November but the organisers are also trying to branch out to connecting with other events throughout the year in an effort to connect with the wider community.

A recent collaboration saw the festival organise an exhibition of LGBTQIA+ history and tours of the city for Ballarat Heritage Weekend, with 700 people engaging with the events.

Jay Morrison, from Ballarat Frolic Festival, said the group had identified a need to work with other organisations and groups running events throughout the year to ensure there was a visible LGBTQIA+ presence.

It is also a way for the group to build a bigger audience within the community and showcase its presence year-round.

Frolic Festival aims to advance acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people, and improve their well-being while simultaneously promoting the community’s arts and culture.

Mr Morrison cited the recent community reaction to a story The Courierpublished about Alex Bayley’s experience as a non-binary person as an example of why the group exists.

“[The reaction] really strengthened our resolve to make sure that there is a positive and visible LGBTQIA+ presence in the community,” he said.

While we had a very strong yes vote in Ballarat, there are still people who have concerns about being in the community and being visible.

Jay Morrison

Mr Morrison said Frolic Festival’s ethos around being present within and connecting with the wider community was intended to result in making a difference collectively.

“That’s why we do this but we also want it to be fun as we are an arts and culture festival,” he said.

The group’s participation in Ballarat Winter Festival is a taste of what the group will put on during its festival later in the year.

Mr Morrison said the group tried to represent all aspects and ages of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as trying to provide interest to the wider community.

“The LGBTQIA+ community has always existed in Ballarat but has just not always been visible. We are trying to cater to the existing community here but also showing off the unique arts and culture of our community to wider Ballarat.

GLITZ AND GLAM: Lance DeBoyle, Bryce Ives, Gabriella Labucce and Susan Mitchell at the Frolic Festival Ball in 2017. Photo: Dylan Burns

GLITZ AND GLAM: Lance DeBoyle, Bryce Ives, Gabriella Labucce and Susan Mitchell at the Frolic Festival Ball in 2017. Photo: Dylan Burns

“We know there are people who come to our festival from Stawell and Ararat and we want to keep communicating with the wider surrounds to encourage them to join us.”

Mr Morrison said Frolic Festival, which is organised by about 30 active volunteers, would continue to grow each year, given that it saw a 20 per cent growth in attendance at its 2018 festival.

The two shows will be hosted and curated by the fabulous Nellie Minelli.

They will take place at The Printers Room on July 6 and 13. Tickets available through https://frolicfestival.org/events/

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