Interview with MESSY FRIENDS for Pride Month

Wed, Jun 19 2024
As we continue to celebrate Pride Month here at fringe, join us on shinning a light on all of our talented LGBTQIA+ artists. We had a chat with this year's #ADLfringe Best Cabaret Award winner,MESSY FRIENDS to hear more about the importance of inclusion and diversity in the arts.
A group of performers on stage wearing vibrant colourful costumes with their hands in sky.
MESSY FRIENDS. Photo: Chloe Elizabeth, Adelaide Fringe 2024
What does Pride Month mean to you personally, and how do you incorporate its values into your performances?

It is a time of year that really reminds us in the LGBTQIA+ family how important power in numbers can be! That you are not alone and there is a community and space for you to be yourself unapologetically! 

Can you share a memorable experience from a previous Pride celebration that has influenced your work?

Going to my first Perth Pride as an adult in 2009, witnessing a performance by avant garde drag artists Ash Baroque, Strykermeyer and Cindy Pastel at Connections Nightclub, out of a vintage closet trunk. It opened my eyes to what drag performance can be, and that it was limitless.

How did your 2024 Fringe show reflect the themes of Pride and the broader LGBTQI+ community?

I would say MESSY FRINEDS is the perfect catalyst for sharing stories of the queer experience and how they influence the art we create and present. We in the cast have had our hard knocks, but have also demonstrated how to use it to our strengths and show audiences we are proud to be artists that identify as queer. The show focuses and empowers queer voices to be amplified and celebrated, opening many conversations with audiences post show too!

What message do you hope audiences take away from your show?

Don’t let the visual spectacles of the weird, messy and unfamiliar fool you. There is more than meets the eye and so much physical, mental and emotional work that goes into what we as artists do. But mainly, support, nurture and show LOVE to your local artists and the queer community. Share your stories, celebrate your uniqueness and be unapologetically you! 

In what ways do you think the arts and festivals like Fringe impact diversity?
For me,  it’s been such an accessible platform for an independent artist like myself to present different kinds of work and stories that stray from the norm. I’ve never really felt judged for who I am as a queer artist in the Fringe circuit, I’ve felt so supported by the other queer artists I’ve met, making lifelong friendships.Fesivals like the Fringe are also fostering inclusivity which is really important for diverse audience experiences, I see more accessible shows being presented! Making it a safe space for all to receive and experience art together.

What advice would you give to young, aspiring queer artists looking to break into the industry?

Your story is important, even if you don’t think it is. Sharing your story and experiences enable others the opportunity to see themselves in you, to feel seen and this has the power to change someone's life. 

How do you see the future of LGBTQI+ representation in the arts, and what role do you hope to play in it?

Even with the current political climate being very hostile toward the drag community and queer artists, I only see LGBTQI+ representation becoming more vast and inevitable.
I’m very grateful to be in the beginning stages of my career where I’m able to present more of these shows and stories to the masses. With the continued support of platforms like Fringe, the constant exposure of queer stories will always be amplified. Art is a form of activism and with audiences' continued exposure to queer stories and the beauty in the diversity of those perspectives I hope lead to understanding, empathy, and challenge outdated stereotypes.