Melbourne's best drag shows and queer-friendly venues
From drag bingo to burlesque life drawing, campy cabaret and queer shows for kids. Start your engines for these fierce events and inclusive venues.
Midsumma Festival returns this summer for another sparkle-loaded celebration of all things queer and fabulous. The lineup is stacked with more than 200 events, featuring a diverse mix of LGBTIQ+ artists and performers. Kick things off in the Alexander Gardens at Midsumma Carnival, a massive free outdoor festival. Catch local and international artists across three stages. Explore pop-up bars and market stalls, and boogie under the stars until late. Don’t miss Midsumma Extravaganza, the queer night of nights. Hosted by Joel Creasey and Kween Kong at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Expect a rollicking evening of comedy, music and drag excellence from headline acts.
Drag ‘N’ Draw at Ferdydurke
Like the Polish novel it was named after, Ferdydurke is an exploration of identity and proudly non-conformist. If you’re feeling creative, this hidden laneway haunt is now hosting drag queen drawing classes. Head up to the loft bar, settle in with a complimentary bev and try your hand at capturing luxe couture looks. There’s a rotating line-up of queens, including local Drag Race alum Aubrey Haive. Expect over-the-top costumes and equally over-the-top hostesses. Check it out on the first and third Tuesday of every month from 7 February.
A cosy temple to all things camp and kitsch, The Butterfly Club features a revolving door of cabaret, comedy, drag, burlesque and more. The queer-friendly club hosts multiple shows every night, with a focus on emerging acts. Catch a rowdy good-time cabaret show. Or join burlesque life drawing at the weekly salon and get well-acquainted with feathers, fishnets and all things glam.
Gather some friends for a night of vintage vibes at Speakeasy Theatre. The Vaudeville Revue program features up to 15 artists per night, from jazz acts to stand-up comedy, dance and burlesque. Keep an eye out for tributes to the iconic Dolly Parton and jazz divas like Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. Or head along to one of the dozens of performances they have on every month.
Drag Bingo at Beast CBD
Get your drag with a side of finger lickin’ chicken at Beast CBD’s drag bingo night. Wingo Bingo takes over the burger joint on the first and third Wednesday of every month for a night of cheeky innuendos. It’s hosted by local queen Gloss, serving absolute looks. Feast on Dorito-crusted chicken (with vegan options available) and a giant plate of fries, while you listen out for your lucky number.
Unique, intimate and grungy – who doesn’t want a night out like that every once in a while? Find all three things combined at Club Voltaire. A quaint and quirky theatre and performing arts space in Raglan Street, North Melbourne. Check out weekly events like stand-up comedy and see Melbourne’s emerging cabaret and burlesque talent. This underground haunt favours the most original, offbeat and edgy shows, so you’re bound to see something memorable.
Why should grown-ups have all the fun? There are a gaggle of giggle-worthy shows and queer storytelling events for kids in Melbourne. ArtPlay offers arts experiences that encourage self-expression for kids up to 13. Like Polite Mammals, a hilarious sketch show starring puppets and poo jokes. See a beautiful and imaginative show created by kids from rainbow families. Next, school your little ones in drag culture at the NGV. In a drag performance inspired by the new McQueen exhibition, kids can dance along to a lip-sync and learn how to pose. Hear sweet and silly queer fairy tales at La Mama Courthouse. And see a heartwarming show about a teddy who knows in her heart that she’s a girl, not a boy.
More queer-friendly events
Last updated on Fri 27 Jan 2023
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