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The Cocoa Butter Club: Midsumma Special

Celebrating Performers of Colour
Presented by Midsumma Festival, Arts Centre Melbourne and The Cocoa Butter Club
Fri 19 Jan 9.30pm
Duration: 2 hours
Arts Centre Melbourne - Fairfax Studio, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

A special cabaret and performance event curated by queers of colour. The Cocoa Butter Club is a spirited soiree of unapologetic, oh-so-hot-right-now performers who are Indigenous and/or people of colour. Everyone is welcome to come revel in a variety night of stunning burlesque, performance art, dance, drag and more.

The Cocoa Butter Club will feature stunning burlesque, live music, performance art, dance and drag performances including Zelia Rose (Miss Burlesque Australia 2014 winner), Mojo Juju (Futuristic Soul Funk), Garret Lyon (Singer), Krista Herrington (Diva Deaf Drag Queen), Raina Peterson & Govind (Classical Indian Burlesque), Illini Kabalan, Bu Lutiu, Olivia Leilani Crawford & Iki San (Pacific Islander dance), Wãni (Sonic Spoken Word), Anadiction (Gender-play Boylesque), with emcees Nayuka Gorrie (writer for Vice, Junkee) and Davey Thompson (Circus Oz). The Cocoa Butter Club's mission? To quench the thirsty performance scene with representation of 'the other' and to proudly provide a platform for Indigenous and People of Colour to challenge, inspire and entertain audiences across Australia.

Warm-up and cool-down before and after the event at the Midsumma Festival Bar: Bombini Buzz. Butter-Up is a line-up of pre-Cocoa Butter Club entertainment from 7.30pm onwards. And cool down with guest DJs at the Midsumma Festival Bar post-event. All free, and flash your tickets to get a 15% discount on all food and beverage.

This event aims to be a safer space for Indigenous and/or People of Colour to express themselves, and for everyone to feel free from oppressive behavior such as racism, ableism, fatphobia, transphobia, homophobia or classism.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is it okay to attend if I'm not a person of colour?

A. Of course! Anyone is welcome to attend, as long as they respect the mission of the evening. It's important for people who are white to hear the frustrations and resilience and true expressions of people of colour. It is encouraged to listen to the experiences of others, attend this event with an open mind, and sit with any discomfort that may arise. We hope the night is thought-provoking, celebratory and an experience to remember!

Q. Why do you use the term Indigenous and/or Person of Colour?

These terms aren't perfect, however we aim to describe people who do not benefit from racism and colonialism. The term Person of Colour (PoC) aims to describe folks who are marginalised under white supremacy, a culture in which whiteness is valued as a priority. It is important to acknowledge that this term is less about the colour of the skin, and that due to many factors including colonialism, many Indigenous folks may seem to be white and have white heritage, however they are certainly Indigenous. In all of our anti-racist politics, it is crucial to centre Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander folks, no matter how their skin colour and features may appear. Many of us have complex relationships with race and our heritage, and it is usually up to the individual to decide if this category applies to them or not.

Q. What types of performances will there be?

A. We always curate a diverse line up, taking the audience on a journey through emotions and artforms. Expect live music, drag, dance, burlesque and more.

Q. Is this event run by people of colour?

A. Yes. It is curated and organised by two queer people of colour, Krishna Istha and Dani Weber.
This is a cross-continental project, originally started by Sadie Sinner The Songbird in London, 2016 in response to being faced with the issues of cultural appropriation, lack of representation and even black-facing in cabaret. She created something beautiful in response, and in March 2017 the Australian sibling group was launched in Melbourne. There have been three shows this year to electric, vibrant, sell out crowds.

Q. Can we buy and donate extra tickets to someone who may not be able to afford a ticket?

A. Yes you can. Arts Centre Melbourne and Midsumma are offering tickets that include a contribution towards a NOTAFLOF ticket as part of the price. Just select the NOTAFLOF Contribution option and you'll be helping to make The Cocoa Butter Club as accessible as possible.

Q. What is a NOTAFLOF ticket and how do we access it?

A. It is a ticket for folks to attend who wouldn't be able to otherwise due to lack of funds. We wish to keep our events accessible to as many people as possible, and it is an honour system about whether or not you wish to access these tickets. There is a limited number, and we encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander folks and people of colour, and folks who are unwaged to access these tickets.

Adult content, nudity 

Image: D.Flowers by Phil Soliman
Arts Centre MelbourneMidsumma Festival

Wheelchair access Auslan interpreted Audio described Over 18 only Food available Bar available 


Fri 19 Jan 9.30pm
Duration: 2 hours
No session


Premium: $35 A-Reserve: $25 NOTAFLOLF: $0
NOTAFLOF Contribution Premium: $52.50
NOTAFLOF Contribution Ticket A-Reserve $37.50


Arts Centre Melbourne - Fairfax Studio
100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
CBD: how to get there

Open PTV website to plan your trip Any Swanston St tram to stop 14

Open PTV website to plan your trip Flinders Street

  • Dan Murphy's
  • AGL
  • Jetstar
  • City of Melbourne
  • Corrs
  • NAB
  • PwC