Harry Potter Magic Breaks New Ground in Melbourne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has established a new standard for blockbuster plays in Australia, drawing more than 325,000 attendees through the doors of the Princess Theatre in a run now entering its second year.

Opening to rave reviews 12 months ago, the production officially celebrates its first birthday. The Andrews Labor Government secured the production for its February 2019 debut, making Melbourne only the third city to welcome the acclaimed play following its premiere in London in 2016 and a season in New York in 2018.

Victoria continues to be the creative and cultural capital of Australia, with studies showing that the state generates the highest share of national live performance attendance, as well as the highest share of attendance at musical theatre productions.

Harry Potter fans have travelled from near and far to enjoy the play in Melbourne with 50 per cent of ticket holders coming from regional Victoria, interstate or one of 42 countries around the world.

For many, the production was also a first theatre experience (51 per cent) and the first time visiting the Princess Theatre (77 per cent). The appeal of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to younger audiences has also been strong with 44 per cent of attendees under the age of 35, introducing the theatre to a new generation.

The Princess Theatre, which was restored ahead of the show’s launch, is the only place in the southern hemisphere where theatregoers can see this lauded production.

Major events are big business for Victoria – an independent study in 2018 found that they contributed $2.5 billion to the state’s economy.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne, directed by John Tiffany. It is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.

The critically acclaimed production is one play presented in two parts, which are intended to be seen in order on the same day (matinee and evening) or on two consecutive evenings.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is booked at the Princess Theatre until mid-2020. For more information and tickets, go to harrypottertheplay.com/au.

Source: Harry Potter The Play

Dial a Drag at QT Sydney

 This Mardi Gras, QT Sydney is offering the city’s first ever ‘Dial a Drag’ in partnership with MINI. Piling their stilettos and falsettos into the backseat of a MINI, Drag Queens will personally deliver Sydney-siders to Mardi Gras parties between 4-6pm on February 29″. Meanwhile, the hotel will come to life with rainbow love letter installations, glitter stations, DJs and more.

It’s official, surging Ubers are out and backseat drag shows are in; all from the comfort of a MINI. ‘Dial a Drag’ will be available to party-goers sipping a selection of Mardi Gras inspired cocktails at Gowings Bar or Parlour Cucina and to guests spending the night in one of QT Sydney’s luxurious rooms.

Those in need of a lift with a Mardi Gras-twist, will simply dial QT Sydney reception desk and a complimentary MINI Countryman will meet them outside the hotel within thirty minutes; complete with chauffeur in the front, and Drag Queen in the back.

Not to be missed on the streets, the iconic cars, renowned for their go-cart feel behind the wheel, will have their front doors painted with Mardi-Gras inspired prints.

`Dial a Drag’ won’t be the only Mardi Gras celebratory action, in partnership with Absolut, from Monday 24″ February, a rainbow love letter installation will pop up in the QT Sydney lobby, encouraging guests to share a message of love, support and positivity for the LGBTQI+ community. There will be love letter stations set up in all public areas of the hotel for guests to pen their romantic missive.

A selection of bespoke cocktails will be on offer at Gowings Bar, including the effervescent Death Drop featuring Absolut Vodka, Aperol, passionfruit, pineapple and lime, the flirtatious Yaaas Kween featuring Absolut Vodka, Cinzano Rosso 1757, Campari, Artisan Skinny Tonic and the outrageous The Shady B*tch featuring Absolut Vodka, Kahlua, Cargo Cult Banana Spiced Rum and Espresso.

The Mardi Gras party will start as soon as guests hit the QT front door with the hotel music hijacked by Sydney’s favourite Drag DJ, DJ Kitty Glitter, pumping the greatest gay anthems from sunup to sundown.

Guests will also have the opportunity to get glittered by QT Sydney’s resident makeup artist between 12 – 4pm and indulge in pre or post party treatments with spaQ’s selection of His & His, Hers & Hers and Theirs & Theirs couple’s treatments.

For those travelling interstate or splurging on a gaycation before a night of festivities, QT Sydney is offering ‘That’s Quite A Package’ accommodation packages. Book an overnight stay and receive two complimentary cocktails to kick start the celebrations, breakfast for two in QT’s signature restaurant Gowings Bar & Grill and extra late check out because let’s face it, party queens need their beauty sleep.
Bookings for QT and MINI’s ‘Dial a Drag’ Drop Off Service are subject to availability. Bookings can also be made onsite through the front desk.

Source: QT Sydney


World-renowned Australian LGBTQIA+ venue The Imperial Erskineville in partnership with the leading brand of premium vodka Absolut has launched their Absolut: House of Love campaign, a month-long series of activations and an out-of-home and digital campaign celebrating the 42nd annual Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. 

 The Imperial has always stood for equality and the LGBTQIA+ community and we’re passionate about nurturing the diversity within our community,” says The Sydney Collective’s CEO, Fraser Short. 

Absolut took over the iconic inner-west Sydney hotel transforming the three-storied establishment into an interactive social media playground and experiential cocktail bar for party-goers. The month-long calendar of events includes a two-part QueerTank symposium series, a gallery of archival Absolut LGBT campaigns from global markets, and an out-of-home and digital campaign launching with bill posters around central Sydney.

Archival Absolut LGBT campaigns are plastered on the walls throughout the venue; a 360 degree Absolut rainbow-branded photo-booth and Absolut Love Letters letterbox and strictly Absolut bar took-over the Imperial’s iconic UP! rooftop; and performance artists The Huxley’s added their unique flavour of glitterati,” says The Imperial Erskineville’s marketing manager, Matt Folino. 

 Throughout the month of Mardi Gras, officially February 14th through to March 1st, Absolut and The Imperial Erskineville are also serving an exclusive cocktail, the Absolut: Frida Las Vegas trialled and tested by the venue’s lead mixologist, Ty Singleton. One dollar from every cocktail poured during the festival will be donated to the long-standing AIDS and HIV charity organisation the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation. 

 We’re proud of our relationship with both Absolut and The Imperial Erskineville and hope to provide the wider LGBTQIA+ community with the support to help destigmatize living with HIV in 2020,” adds The Bobby Goldsmith Foundation CEO, Nick Lawson. 

On hand to celebrate the campaigns launch were 2016 The Voice winner Alfie Arcuri, celebrity chef Anna Polyviou, Rugby Australia’s head of diversity and inclusion Casey Conway, Channel Nine’s The Block host and interior designer Darren Palmer, stylist Emma Read, celebrity make-up artist Max May, Double Rainbouu creative director Michael Nolan, Chadwick’s model and social media personality Reece Carter, American-Australian media personality and Studio Ten host Richard Reid, Oyster magazine fashion editor Sarah Starkey, Sunrise presenter Shaun White, and The Amazing Race winners Tim and Rod Sattler-Jones. 
Source: Absolut

The 10 Most Powerful Women on Australian FM Radio in 2020

Here are the Top 10 Most Powerful Women on Australian Radio in 2020. Among Radio Today‘s most popular lists have always been those that celebrate and champion the women of our industry.

These ten remarkable women (and the honourable mentions that follow) have real star power. They are engaging, smart, assertive, driven and brilliant communicators. They deliver the laughs and the ratings five days a week, and are leading the way for other women to succeed in the radio industry.

Radio Today spent considerable time talking to industry experts and factored in the thoughts of leading radio programmers about who they consider being in the Top 10. They also factored in the thoughts of leading radio consultants and took into account market size and the competitive landscape.

There has been some movement on the list compared with 2019’s edition, and a new face in Susie O’Neill, while former Hit Network Drive host Kate Longbroek no longer works in radio full-time, and as a result drops out of the Top 10.

The result is a list of women who are successful, have had great ratings success and longevity, those who have built a strong local and national profile and, most importantly, women who have a strong message. It is a list of which the industry can be proud!

1. Jackie ‘O’ Henderson – KIIS 106.5

Undoubtedly one of the most high-profile and successful media personalities in Australia, and her Breakfast show with Kyle Sandilands remains dominant among FM brands in Sydney. The pair moved from 2DayFM to KIIS in 2013.

In 2019 her media profile went to new heights as she appeared as a judge on newly minted Ten reality show The Masked Singer, having previously appeared on Big Brother, Popstars, Australian Princess, The Nation, Surprise Gotcha, Robots and Ground Zero.

2. Chrissie Swan – Nova 100

Chrissie Swan got started in copywriting before appearing on television in 2003 as a contestant on the reality TV series Big Brother, where she was the runner-up.

She landed a start in Breakfast radio in Queensland in late 2003 where she worked at Hot 91.1 with co-host Ronnie Stanton. Swan also worked on-air at Vega and Mix 101.1 (now KIIS).

3. Amanda Keller – WSFM

A triple threat in Australian showbiz, Keller is a journalist, radio presenter and TV personality.

Starting in radio in Bathurst, she did Breakfast with Andrew Denton on Triple M from 1994 and is in her 15th year at WSFM, currently hosting WSFM Breakfast with Brendan Jones.

Keller has plenty of experience on TV too, racking up appearances on Good News Week, Rove Live, The Glass House, 20 to 1, Spicks and Specks, Have You Been Paying Attention?, Show Me the Movieand Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation.

4. Carrie Bickmore – Hit Network

Carrie Bickmore has been a staple of Australian radio and TV for over a decade, and is a Gold Logie winner.

She currently co-hosts the Carrie & Tommy Drive show across Southern Cross Austereo’s Hit Network with comedian Tommy Little, while appearing on Ten’s daily light news show The Project.

Bickmore has a journalism degree from Curtin University of Technology, and started her career as a newsreader on 92.9FM Perth. In 2001 she became the Afternoons newsreader for Nova 100 in Melbourne, before landing a gig co-hosting Drive with Andy Ross in 2002.

5. Kate Ritchie – Nova Network

Another Gold Logie winner, Kate Ritchie featured on Seven’s iconic soap Home & Away, joining Merrick & Rosso on Nova 96.9 Breakfast in 2007.

Ritchie left Nova in 2009, to return to acting but later came back to radio after the departure of Meshel Laurie.

She has since combined with Marty Sheargold and Tim Blackwell on the hugely successful and national Kate, Tim & Marty Drive show.

Source: Radio Today

W Hotels teams up with Mardi Gras to LOVE OUT LOUD

Whoever you are, wherever you are, you’re welcome at W Hotels. With inclusiveness at the heart of W since it debuted over 20 years ago, the global, trailblazing lifestyle hotel brand is teaming up with Australia’s longest running LGBTQI organisation, the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, to celebrate equality and inspire travellers to love out loud.

For the first time, W Hotels will be a major partner of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras celebration, showcasing its first-ever float in the 2020 Parade taking place on February 29.

Choreographed by Sydney born Ame Delves, 80 guests – including 20 staff from W Brisbane and the soon-to-open W Melbourne, as well as Marriott Bonvoy members – will dance and march alongside W’s LOVE OUT LOUD float, a super-charged fluoro boom box that celebrates celebrates the brand’s bold and playful personality with a colorful, musical homage to individuality and inclusion.

“Since day one, W Hotels has been committed to inclusivity and equality and that sense of acceptance remains at the core of the W DNA,” said. Bruce Ryde, Vice President Luxury Brands & Brand Marketing, Asia Pacific, Marriott International.

“We are excited to take part in this year’s parade for the first time as both organisations aim to be global leaders lead in promoting diversity, inclusion, equality and social justice through culture and creativity, and I cannot wait to see my co-workers, guests and friends of the brand marching, dancing and loving out loud and proud.”

Uniting hundreds of thousands of revelers for Sydney’s biggest night, the iconic march down Oxford Street will feature about 200 dazzling floats. Designed by 160over90, the W Hotels float will feature special guests, international drag superstar Alyssa Edwards (RuPaul’s Drag Race, Dancing Queen) and Australian singer songwriter Vera Blue, joined by local influencers Alfie Arcuri, Megan Dijkman, Brandon Kilgour, musician KYVA and Lola Van Vorst.

Members of Marriott Bonvoy will have access to exclusive Moments including a pre-event glam squad experience, limited-edition W merchandise and entrance to the premium parade viewing spot – W Hotels VIP viewing deck. For a chance to win, members can bid their points at www.moments.marriottbonvoy.com.

Those bold and daring members keen to live it up may wish to Float With Pride and march in the parade before a night of pumping dance beats and electrifying headliners at the official Mardi Gras after party.

Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO, Albert Kruger added: “With engaging LGBTQI initiatives worldwide and new properties opening around Australia, Mardi Gras is delighted to have W Hotels join us as our new hotel partner. Each year travellers come from across the globe to celebrate with us and we know they’ll be welcomed enthusiastically at W Hotels.”

Known for defying expectations and breaking the norms of traditional luxury, W Brisbane opened its doors in June 2019, with W Melbourne to follow suit later this year and W Sydney in 2021.

Source: W Hotels