Posted by & filed under Arts & Entertainment, Theatre & Performance.

Queerstories goes west again this year with a fabulous and diverse selection of queer storytellers sharing a lectern (metaphorically)  at Riverside Theatres.  

“It’s particularly nice during Mardi Gras to be doing Queerstories in Western Sydney,” says creator, Maeve Marsden, “Mardi Gras can be really CBD centric.”

The stories and speakers for the Riverside show all have a connection to Western Sydney. There’s no prescribed theme or style, and there’s no pressure to appeal to the masses.

“I specifically tell the storytellers that they don’t have to worry about educating straight people in the audience, that their stories are for their community and about their community and they don’t have to self-censor,” explains Marsden. 

In selecting speakers, Marsden tries to keep an open mind.

“I like leaving it a little up to chance,” she says. “I’ve had people who have never performed before […] I think there can be something quite sweet in an inexperienced performer.” 

She’s happy to coach newcomers and there’s usually a seasoned performer on the bill who can offer advice. However, the writing has to be good because “bad writing is very hard to save.”

The other important criterion is humility.

“Humility means that you care about your community, you care about the impact your story will have on your community and you’re not just gonna get up there and give a self-aggrandising speech.” 

The guest list for this show includes: Steven Lindsay Ross who has worked at Parramatta Council for many years and is performing for the second time; Dibs Barisic Sprem, a trans writer and personal trainer in the area who will share stories about transitioning; Raveena Grover who’s involved in Sweatshop, a writer’s collective in Western Sydney; Brandon Bear, recent co-chair of Mardi Gras and now with ACON; Charles O’Grady, the trans director of a play opening at Joan Sutherland Theatre as part of Mardi Gras; and Laura Hart, improv theatre comedian who works regularly with not-for-profit organisations and uses humour to improve well-being.

Feb 9. Riverside Theatres, Cnr Church & Market Streets, Parramatta. $25-$30+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.riversideparramatta.com.au

By Rita Bratovich