Despite the recent developments affecting the Parade and Party the Auckland Pride Festival of 2019 is all go, offering a diverse programme that showcases some of Aotearoa’s most talented queer artists. Here’s a taster of the arts events and shows to check out over the festival season:

On the literary front SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT explodes across multiple Auckland venues, joined by two very different offerings for Auckland Pride 2019. A first of its kind, the book launch of SAMOAN QUEER LIVES on Feb 5 is a collection of autobiographical pieces by fa’afafine, transgender, and queer people of Sāmoa. This book appeals to those interested in cultures that were part of the origins of the Transgender and Gay movements; and about contemporary fa’afafine culture in the Sāmoa Islands and global diaspora, as told by renowned fa’afafine artists Yuki Kihara and Dan Taulapapa McMullin.

On a different note THE SISTERS GAY PRESENT … will draw on the longstanding public library ‘Storytime’ tradition for pre-schoolers in their hosting of an evening event at the Grey Lynn Library on February 5. Embracing their proven formula of story, song and silliness this evening caters more for grown-ups this time, though all are welcome. Fairy tales will never be the same!


The Auckland theatre scene cultivates queer storytelling this PRIDE season with multiple performances at Q Theatre, Tapac (next to Auckland Zoo) and the Basement Theatre. A must-see highlight is the return of award-winning director and writer Shane Bosher, delivering his creative genius with a production of HOMOS at Q Theatre from Feb 1.

The popular NIGHT OF THE QUEER returns to Tapac promising an intoxicating mix of genderbending acts of burlesque, cabaret, circus, theatre, music and dance. Artistic Directors James Luck and Rebekkah Schoonbeek have a assembled a fantastic cast that takes the audience on a magical journey of self-discovery as they follow a powerful queer love story with characters inspired by Greek gods and goddesses.

The Legacy Project has been sharing local queer stories with heart on stage since 2014. Each year Legacy Project under the Artistic Direction of Bruce Brown carefully curates and develops six scripts from open call submissions to create a collection of unique stories that speaks to the personal experiences from all corners of our queer community. Running February 5 -15, LEGACY SIX will again present provoking tales of love and family, of identity and dating.

The creative force that is Tom Sainsbury is also back, taking the directors seat for THERE SHE IS, a radical explosion of dance, drag and prose, following one boy’s epic journey to find self-love. Boasting choreography from Dynamotion’s Lara Liew, gag-worthy looks created by fashion designer Jarrad Godman, and a mind-blowing gender-bending performance from Zak Enayat, THERE SHE IS follows one boy’s epic journey to find self-love.

Again at Q, Mr Sainsbury will also wrangle a cast of 10 musical performers for the premiere of the comedy musical – KARAOKE BOIZ. The show follows ‘Wayne the Karaoke King’ as he journeys through the Waikato searching for the most bitch-perfect band to rule them all. This is the same crew that bought Gays In Space to the stage last summer and in true Sainsbury style, this is sure to be a truly outrageous and fun night out. Running February 7-16.

Basement Theatre comes to the party with ETHERA, a new work from the South Auckland collective COVEN. This highly acclaimed collective asks audiences to ‘join the secret circle’. Running from February 12-16, expect wild creativity and brilliant performance art!

Also at Basement, running from February 12-16; director and playwright Jason Te Mete leads a cast of eight in Over My Dead Body: UNINVITED, a play set on the eve of World Aids Day. The play gathers together an unlikely group of old and new tenants at a flat warming party and follows the action as they drag old skeletons out of the closet revealing incredible connections to the past.

Queer film buffs are also in for a treat with the DOCUMENTARY EDGE FESTIVAL presenting a selection of selection of GLBTQ+ film screenings at the Auckland Art Gallery on the weekend of 8-10 February. The ever-popular QUEER SCENES is also back at Basement, whilst the Academy Cinema becomes home to the TAKATĀPUI CINEMA SHOWCASE.

With more events to be announced this week, visit for updates and news on the 2019 Auckland Pride Festival.

Photo | There She Is star Zak Enayat