Riverside Archives

This event has occurred in the past

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras


Venue Lennox Theatre
Dates 09 February 2018
Category Live Event

Riverside Theatres presents


Sydney’s favourite LGBTQI storytelling night goes west this Mardi Gras. Join host Maeve Marsden and an eclectic line up of stars and strangers at Riverside for a night of our city’s queerstories, unexpected tales of lives well lived and battles fought, pride, prejudice, love and humour.

Queerstories is a monthly storytelling night as well as a podcast. Featuring a diverse line up of LGBTQIA Australians, Queerstories grew out of a desire to hear the stories LGBTQI people want to tell. Too often, the agenda is set by politics or the media. There’s more to being queer than coming out and marriage. The LGBTQI community has been sharing stories for centuries, creating our own histories, disrupting and reinventing conventional ideas about narrative, family and community.

Special guests for the Riverside edition include theatre-maker, Karen Therese; author, Peter Polites; activist, Mel Gardiner; filmmaker, Vonne Patiag; and Amar and Muhammad Ali from 2 Boys in Saris.

In its usual home in Redfern, Queerstories has been selling out every month for over a year, bringing storytellers from all walks of life to the stage. This Western Sydney special event is presented in partnership with Riverside Theatres.

This event is Auslan interpreted.

Date & Time:
Friday 9 February at 7.45pm for an 8pm start.



Two Sydney boys-next-door, Muhammad Ali and Amar, woke up one morning. Mulling over chai, they expertly devoured handfuls of Amar’s ‘Ghee Roast Rava Dosa’, with lashings of coconut-green chilly chutney and a serenading side of Aunty Fitzgerald’s voice. Between sips of cardamom scented brew and irresistibly spicy mouthfuls, an idea took birth. Over the course of many an incredulous and trivial argument (oh, we are PETTY QUEENS) and theatrical confrontations (of course, we’re brown), a brainchild came out of the closet … and they named it whaaaat: 2 BOYS IN SARIS! “What will the world say?” they wondered. “Well, THE WORLD WILL DEAL WITH IT!” their queerness answered.

The hands of Amar aka Aunty Bindi concoct food for the soul, while the hands of Ali aka Aunty Bangles concoct drama and shamelessness of sorts.

We are slowly simmering a saucy conversation and you must join in! The name ‘2 Boys In Saris’, we’re guessing, will leave very little to the imagination. So yes, the dialogue revolves around breaking gender norms and senseless societal shackles!

There is the deliciousness of South-Asian food on offer … the kind we saw our grandmothers and aunties and even grandfathers and uncles lovingly cook up. This dialogue is about to get spicy and scrumptious with a generous sprinkling of entertainment, dress-up, artistic expression and LGBTQIA fabulous-ness.

Think ‘Paris Is Burning’ meets Lip-smacking Food meets South Asian Dress-up meets Love meets Peace meets Jazz meets Soul meets Dramatic Non-seriousness meets Shameless Brown-ess meets You-Can-Figure-Out-The-Rest! Bye girl!


Peter Polites is a writer of Greek descent from Western Sydney. As part of the SWEATSHOP writers collective, Peter has written and performed pieces all over Australia. Alongside SMH Best Young Novelists Luke Carman and Michael Mohammed Ahmad, Polites wrote and performed THREE JERKS – a spoken word piece about the Cronulla riots – to sellout crowds in Sydney and Melbourne. He has recently been commissioned to write a play about the migrant experience in Western Sydney for Sydney Festival, to be performed in 2017. He has published, DOWN THE HUME, his first novel with Hachette.


Karen Therese grew up in Mt Druitt in Western Sydney, and her cultural heritage is Hungarian-Australian. She is an interdisciplinary artist, creative producer and cultural leader. Her practice is grounded in performance, political activism and community building with a particular focus on underground youth cultures.

In 2010 Karen was awarded the inaugural Cultural Leadership Grant by The Australia Council’s Theatre Board to investigate innovative curatorial practices across diverse cultures and art forms, with a vision to embed her practice within Western Sydney. Since then Karen has created and produced significant works for the region. As the recipient of the Creative Producer Fellowship from the Australia Council’s Community Partnerships Board she created ‘FUNPARK’, a large-scale site based event in Mt Druitt for the 2014 Sydney Festival. Karen also directed the youth led performance Mt Druitt Press Conference performed at ‘FUNPARK’ and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).

In 2013 Karen became the Artistic Director of Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT) in Fairfield, developing a dynamic new arts program for the Western Sydney region. Her works at PYT include ‘TRIBUNAL’, presented at Griffin Theatre Company, PYT I Fairfield, Museum of Contemporary Art, Arts House Melbourne and will be presented as part of the 2018 The Sydney Festival . ‘Women of Fairfield’ (partner MCA C3_West and STARTTS) Winner: ‘Best Arts Program 2016’, FBi SMAC Awards. ‘Jump First, Ask Later’ (partner Force Majeure) Winner of the Helpmann Award, ‘Best Presentation for Children 2017’ and Winner of the 2016 Australian Dance Award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Youth Dance’. ‘Jump First, Ask Later’ has been presented at PYT I Fairfield, Arts Centre Melbourne, Sydney Opera House and Adelaide Festival Centre, and touring nationally in 2019.

Karen was curator of ArtBar in 2015 for MCA presenting an all-western sydney focused night titled SO WESTERN to sell out audiences. Alongside this Karen was a 2015 Studio Artist for Griffin Theatre and works independently as an artist and curator. She has worked both nationally and internationally as an Artist and/or Creative Producer for companies such as PS122 (New York), The Centre of Performance Research (New York), The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Performance Space, Blacktown Arts Centre and PACT Theatre for Emerging Artists. She is a graduate of the Victoria College of the Arts (Animateuring) and holds a Masters by Research (Creative Arts) from Wollongong University and was the recipient of a Post Graduate scholarship.


Melody Gardiner is a proud queer crip from Western Sydney and an often less-proud Catholic. They are an LGBTIQ activist, passionate advocate for young people, and a strong believer in community organising and social change. Growing up queer in the ‘Bible Belt’, Melody wasn’t always so proud. Yet as the late great Stella Young said, you get proud by practicing. Melody is proud to say they are now acertified practicing queer.

Melody has spent most of the past decade living 90% of life horizontal in bed in their suburban bedroom, peeking in and out of the closet until their mid-20s while running an online queer collective and allies groups at the Australian Catholic University under a completely anonymous pseudonym lest they lose their job. Within a couple of years they found themselves an almost accidental marriage equality activist in 2012 when one of their closeted pseudonym’s many random Facebook friend adds asked for their help with their page.

Five years later and Melody is still the Co-Head Admin of Equal Marriage Rights Australia (EMRA), Australia’s largest LGBTIQ rights community with over 320,000 likes on Facebook and a weekly reach averaging over 1 million people. Melody enjoys bringing folks together and firmly believes in creating our own communities – there’s always ‘a group for that’.

Melody co-started Out West, a social support group for rainbow young people in Western Sydney (now run by Twenty10) and is a founding Co-Convenor of the Rainbow Catholic Interagency for Ministry and founding member of the Advisory Board of Australian Catholics for Equality. Much to their own surprise, Melody has in recent years discovered a love for AFL; yelling at the TV or in the stands for the GWS Giants and starting the Rainbow Giants supporter group with fellow footy-mad queers in Western Sydney.

Melody is active in ME/CFS organising in Australia and admins groups to help folks navigate accessing services and support. Melody has been a volunteer youth worker in Western Sydney for over 15 years and enjoys upskilling young folk to identify problems and create their own youth-led solutions to create real change with their communities.


Vonne Patiag is a Writer/Director based in Western Sydney, working in theatre and film. His most recent short film ‘Window’ was commissioned by Olympus Cameras and had its World Premiere at St. Kilda Film Festival 2016 where it won Best Short Film in its category. Window has gone on to screen at Dungog Festival (Short Film Competition), Noosa International Film Festival, BOFA Film Festival (2016) and Revelation Perth International Film Festival and Sydney Underground Film Festival (2017). In 2015, his short film ‘Yang’ had its World Premiere at A Night Of Horror, Australia’s Leading Genre Film Festival and his short film ‘The Dead Man’s Face Was My Own’ won Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Editing at the Made In The West Film Festival. In theatre, most recently he wrote and directed the one-act play ‘The Hanging’ in 2016, which premiered at The Butterfly Club, Melbourne.

He was recently announced as a recipient of the Hot Shots Plus 2017 funding round from Screen Australia for his online series ‘Boy (Space) Friends’ for production and talent development funding, focusing on issues of masculinity, racism and queer identity in Western Sydney.

He has just wrapped production on Tomgirl, a short film about Filipino Bakla culture in Blacktown. Bakla is the most visible LGBT+ culture of Phiillipines, where men cross-dress as women, and especially ties into his re-connection with his Filipino roots.

He is proud to be a Western Sydney artist, recently returning to the area after brief stints in Japan and Melbourne. He is interested in personal stories that explore queer/ethnic intersections and issues of racism and geographical prejudice prevalent to the Western Sydney area.

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1 hour 45 mins including interval

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