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Byron Shire
June 20, 2021

All that Glitters

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glitterfestivalgoldcoastGlitter Festival is a spectacular four-day arts event that recognises and celebrates diversity and encourages freedom of expression. Brad Rush is the artistic director, and he spoke to The Echo about this exciting new event that is now in its second year.

First of all, congratulations, the program looks fantastic! What do you look for when you are programming?

It’s important to create experiences that speak to a broad section of the community. It is also important for Glitter to create events and present performances that cross over to mainstream.

What was the inspiration for the Glitter Festival on the GC?

The LGBTIQP+ community doesn’t have an obvious presence on the Gold Coast. Previous social groups and activities have struggled for support.

In context of ‘arts’ – the community has the opportunity to come together to share some great creative and social projects.

What do you think the special moments are going to be this year?

Anthony Callea tickets selling really fast.

Particularly proud of Brown Sugar, which brings together our first national community.

How do you plan to grow the event?

The event will grow through community support. Look forward to attracting more participation from the drive market.

Gold Coast is great destination and has terrific tourism opportunity.

How did you find yourself working in the arts? 

Been part of my world from very early age. I’m performer, musician and kinda stuck into my DNA.

I love that I can continue that passion from various angles. I really like what I get to do!

What is the show that made the biggest impact on you as a young man?

Wow – that’s a good question.

I’m a hopeless musical-theatre boy.

What was most impacting was going to shows with my mum and nana. They were both provided very good foundation and creative support. Gave me an appetite.

Probably was old school – My Fair Lady, Merry Widow… but it was moreso the whole experience including sharing with Mum and Nana.

First time I flew on my own to Sydney to see the original Cats was pretty special.

How do events such as Glitter Festival contribute to inclusivity – especially artistically; are performers who happen to be gay still ghettoised?

Glitter has been created at a time when those boundaries are less evident. We are boldly saying, ‘Okay, people – just get on with it’. Doesn’t matter what your background is. It’s the art that brings commonality… so the programming and events are very important.

The other day my eldest daughter told me her friend had come out and she remarked, ‘In the future I don’t think people will need to come out because it will be so normal and people won’t be assuming you’re straight or gay or anything’. Do you think this is true, or is it too naively optimistic? 

I love that. I think our community sometimes closes in on itself either through fear, or by habit. I totally agree on this optimism and it’s ideally strongly supported by the thinking of Glitter.

What should people expect for this year’s Glitter Festival?

We have enlisted some amazing community-arts workers. I think this year more community participation. And mostly activation in more creative ways

Thursday 6 October till Sunday 9 October.

For full details: www.theartscentregc.com.au/glitter.

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