Returning to the Auckland Pride Festival line-up, the cherished Pride Gala is back with a reinvigorated format for 2020. Opening the performance programme on Saturday 1 February, tickets have just gone on-sale for OurGala to showcase the brilliance of queer artists from across Tāmaki Makaurau in an explosive curated cabaret event.
An evening to bring the community together, ticket prices have been reduced for the 2020 Gala in a move to increase accessibility for all, with tickets beginning at just $25. Directed by theatre practitioner Freya Finch and hosted by House of Drag’s HugoGrrrl, a sampling of the finest offerings from talent involved in the Auckland Pride Festival programme and beyond will be on offer in the one-night-only extravaganza, including a performance from celebrated vogue collective COVEN.
OurGala will celebrate and uplift the very finest artists from Auckland’s diverse rainbow communities, with pre-Gala entertainment starting the evening with roving performers and installations across the full venue, and Q Theatre hosts the official afterparty in their Barfoot & Thompson Lounge with a stellar set from DJ h2ho.
“Welcoming Freya to our team has been a privilege,” says Director of Pride Max Tweedie. “Freya’s multi-disciplinary talents and creativity made her an easy choice for the role of OurGala Director. Breaking down barriers to the 2020 Pride Festival has been part one of our focus areas, and OurGala is no different. If HugoGrrrl and COVEN are any indication of the talent that will grace the Rangatira Stage, OurGala won’t be an evening to miss!”
A multi-faceted and award-winning creative artist, Freya Finch is an actor, director, and theatre maker, and has stepped up to direct the 2020 OurGala. Named as Best Newcomer Award at the 2017 Auckland Fringe Festival for her work on Shabbat Shalom and Thank You for Coming, which she directed and co-created as well as starring in, Freya’s career highlights span the country. Her acting credits include Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (Auckland Theatre Company), Second Unit (Circa Theatre), Actual Fact (STAB at BATS) and Yorick! (Binge Culture for Matchbox 2018 at Q Theatre). Other career highlights include co-directing and performing in cult-hit CAR and being a founding member of Scungebags Theatre ensemble, whose award-winning show Maggot has toured extensively in New Zealand and Australia. Freya is also one of three creatives commissioned to create Break Bread for Silo Theatre to close their 2020 season, bookending her year at Q Theatre with impressive new collaborative works.
“For the 2020 OurGala I am wanting to create a joyful, celebratory spectacle of an evening that showcases the HOT queer talent of Tāmaki Makaurau,” says OurGala Director Freya Finch.
“OurGala is an opportunity to showcase and witness talent across all the genres of the performing arts and this year we are going bigger, bolder, and juicier than ever before. You can expect roving performance art, slick choreo, a troupe of queer clowns and Auckland’s hottest drag and vogue artists. Come for the art, stay for the back2back Britney on the d floor.”
Winner of Best Producer at the Wellington Comedy Awards in both 2017 and 2018, HugoGrrrl is a Wellington-based producer with work spanning multiple genres such as drag, comedy, poetry and cabaret. An impressive drag artist, Hugo won the inaugural series of TVNZ’s House of Drag, making history as the first drag king and first trans man to compete on a Drag Race reality show. Hugo was nominated in the 2018 Wellingtonian of the Year in the Arts category, and took home Outstanding Achievement and Best MC at the 2018 Wellington Comedy Awards. Known for creating energetic and politically-charged late-night theatre with over 20 original shows in his repertoire, his projects include The Pun Battle and Naked Girls Reading which have both been performed all over Aotearoa.
OurGala is the only ticketed event produced by Auckland Pride, returning alongside other staple Festival events, including cabaret Night Of The Queer (TAPAC, February 15) and the samesame but different writers festival (various venues, February 12-15). The first wave of registered events is now available on the Auckland Pride website, and includes a huge array of theatre, drag, cinema, music, comedy, performance art, circus, cabaret, and more! Both international and local queer icons are part of the already announced programme, including comic sensation Hannah Gadsby in her NZ debut Douglas (The Civic, February 1) and drag superstars Ru Paul’s Drag Race Werq The World (Aotea Centre, February 16).
In a first for Auckland Pride, an edition of their Digital Programme is available before Christmas while registrations are still open, inviting the community to see how the festival is shaping up and get their submissions in. Registrations close on January 5, and the full Auckland Pride Festival 2020 programme will be announced on January 10.
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