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A glass filled with hot chocolate with melted chocolate over the rim
Photograph: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery

Things to do in Melbourne in August

August's best events in one place – it's your social emergency saviour for fun things to do in Melbourne in August

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Wondering what to do in Melbourne in August? We can help. Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne. Many performances, museums and venues have been closed and cancelled right so this list is a reflection of events happening around Melbourne, but also things to do at home and events that have moved online.

Here is a list of everything that is open right now in Victoria and here are Melbourne's current physical distancing rules explained. Face masks are mandatory in Victoria now, here's where to buy one.

The best things to do in August

Judith Lucy and Denise Scott
Photograph: Supplied / TS Publicity

1. Judith Lucy and Denise Scott: Disappointments Zoom Cast

Comedy Your Place, Melbourne

In 2017 Judith Lucy and Denise Scott premiered their new show Disappointments at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Now, we can't remember all the ins and outs of 2017, but we still think it's fair to say it was significantly less disappointing than 2020. With the comedians realising the show had never been more pertinent, they've brought it back for the time of isolation. Disappointments Zoom Cast brings Lucy and Scott back to the (virtual) stage to talk about brand-new disappointments, of which I'm sure they (like all of us) have many. 

Ema MIFF
Photograph: Supplied

2. Melbourne International Film Festival

Film Film festivals Your Place, Melbourne

Lockdown 2.0 has sadly vindicated the decision to make MIFF 2020 an online event. However, any concerns that the festival would lack in lustre in its ‘MIFF 68½’ incarnation have been quashed by the announcement of the festival’s fully digital, anyone-in Australia-can-watch-it lineup. It’s a cracker.    MIFF 68½ boasts 113 films – 68 features/series, 44 shorts and a VR experience. Another impressive stat: 49 per cent of all films have a female director. Anyone in Australia can buy tickets to the virtual screenings, taking place August 6-23. Tickets are on sale now.

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Hot Chocolate Festival
Photograph: Supplied/Hot Chocola

3. Hot Chocolate Festival

Things to do Food and drink Your Place, Melbourne

In 2020, the Hot Chocolate Festival will be returning, but in a way that allows chocolate fans to enjoy the event from at home. The Hot Chocolate Festival will this year take place remotely, with the three chocolateries creating a total of 31 limited-edition hot chocolate flavours that you can enjoy as DIY kits delivered to your door. Each flavour is created using a couverture chocolate base, which has seasonal and exotic ingredients, herbs and spices added to it. 

Japanese Modernism
Photograph: Supplied/NGV

4. Japanese Modernism

Art NGV International, Southbank

The early 20th century was a time of great cultural and social prosperity for Japan. Between the 1923 Kanto earthquake and the outbreak of World War II, emerging movements from Europe began to influence the island nation’s artists, resulting in the creation of Japanese Modernism. The NGV has brought more than 190 of these works to Melbourne for Japanese Modernism, a multidisciplinary exhibition spanning printmaking to fashion. You can tour it online from your own lounge room.

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Actors take on the kings of Shakespeare's history plays
Photograph: supplied

5. Age of Crowns

Theatre Drama Your Place, Melbourne

Shakespeare famously wrote in As You Like It that, “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Thanks to producer, actor, writer and director David Meadow, that holds truer now than ever before in these midsummer-dreaming days of lockdown. He has assembled actors from across the globe to perform Shakespeare’s beloved history plays from their living rooms as a series of livestream events spread across four months. Dubbed the very Game of Throne’s sounding Age of Crowns, it’s a collaboration between St Kilda’s Alex Theatre, Melbourne actors’ company Circle in the Sand and the International Actors Ensemble. 

Soju Gang
Photograph: C-Pash

6. NGV Friday Night In

Music Dance and electronic Your Place, Melbourne

Back in the day (OK, so 2019) ending the working week at NGV Friday Nights was a surefire way to start your weekend on the right foot.  Things might have changed since then, but the NGV is still pumping out a rad Friday night for you, shutdowns or no. NGV Friday Nights In is a series of fortnightly DJ sets filmed within the many spectacular galleries of the NGV. With a setting so stylish, you can bet that the musical talent is just as swish. The series has lined up three DJs, starting on July 31 with the multi-talented Soju Gang.

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Anna's Go-Go Academy
Photograph: Leanne Shingles

7. Learn the Kate Bush 'Wuthering Heights' dance and others with this brilliant online class

News Weird & Wonderful

Quick: Name your favourite interpretive dance dedicated to a fictional character from a Victorian novel. It's Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights', right? Dance instructor Anna from Anna's Go-Go Academy has donned the requisite red dress and is ready to teach you how to do the famous moves. All while in the privacy and comfort of your own lounge room, of course.  That's not the only dance Anna has up her red sleeve. She's offering one-hour classes, ten-minute dance breaks, and a weekly rant on anything from pop culture to feminism, cats, politics or her fabulous hair.

A woman and dog sit at a table, she is painting a collar, there are craft supplies on the table.
Photograph: Supplied/Moo + Twig

8. Melbourne's best online workshops and DIY kits

Things to do Classes and workshops

Always dreamed of learning another language? Have a lot of hoarded wine and want to start boozily slapping pigments on a canvas in a Zoom class full of other tiddly painters? Well, you've certainly come to the right place. Now is as good a time as any to upskill (or sit on your butt and watch an online tutorial without moving a muscle, no one's judging) and luckily for us, many Melbourne institutions have opened their virtual doors to help us out (and some in Sydney are throwing their virtual doors open to us too, for a treat).

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Steph Tisdell on stage
Photograph: Supplied / Tess O'Loughlin Publicity

9. Comedy SOS

Comedy Your Place, Melbourne

Put on your comfiest trackies, crack open the vino and get ready to enjoy a comedy festival of sorts on your couch. Comedy SOS (that's 'stand-up online series') brings together some of Australia's top comedians for seven weeks of brand-spanking-new shows. The Comedy SOS line-up features Steph Tisdell, Kitty Flanagan, Arj Barker, Jimeoin, Ross Noble, Lawrence Mooney and Georgie Carroll, who will be premiering their new comedy specials. 

Pinot Pilates wine
Photograph: Supplied

10. Pinot Pilates

Things to do Classes and workshops Your Place, Melbourne

If you’d have told us we’d be mixing our alcohol consumption with our exercise routines in 2020, I would have thrown my yoga mat in your face. But here we are, in lockdown 2.0, and ready to mix some pinot and Pilates.  Pinot Pilates is hosted by Pilates instructor Laura Roodhouse and will be getting Melburnians stretching and winding down on Friday evenings. The event is happening every Friday night until August 14 at 6pm. Note that only the Pilates session is included in the ticket price, so you'll have to BYO wine.

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Hope in the Dark, installation view at Gertrude Contemporary, featuring work by Amrita Hepi and Sarah Brasier
Photograph: Christian Capurro

11. Hope in the Dark

Art Gertrude Contemporary, Preston

Since the first shutdowns in March, Gertrude Contemporary has been hosting Hope in the Dark – a street-facing exhibition that uses the windows at Gertrude Contemporary (Preston) and Gertrude Glasshouse (Collingwood) to showcase works.  Hope in the Dark has been showing since March 30, during which time the exhibition has regularly evolved and featured several artists close with close connections to the gallery, including Darren Sylvester, Simon Zoric, Amrita Hepi, Kiron Roberston and Sarah Brasier (who is responsible for the Jonathan Safran Foer-esque work ‘Everything IS a bit fucked’ currently showing in the Gertrude Glasshouse vitrine). 

T Form Pilates Melbourne
Photograph: T Form/Supplied

12. Online exercise classes you can do at home

Things to do

During times of uncertainty, a reliable routine can really help. If fitness is part of your daily ritual, you might be a little rattled with the fact that gyms are now closed (AGAIN) in Melbourne. But don't worry, we've picked out some handy online workouts by local experts, so you can still get your heart pumping and those endorphins flowing in the safety of your own home.

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Illustration of Ballarat
City of Ballarat

13. Ballarat Virtual Winter Fest

Things to do Your Place, Melbourne

Ballarat Winter Festival warms the heart (and the belly) in the depths of the cold months.  This year things look a little different, with the festival moving entirely online. What could be cosier than putting on your warmest pyjamas and fuzziest socks and taking the entire family on a virtual tour of the regional city? You can 'walk' around the city (virtually, of course), stopping to admire the sights and gorgeous architecture and participate in activities at some of Ballarat's favourite attractions and businesses. 

Federation Square fitness
Photograph: Supplied

14. Lunchtime Meditation with Fed Square

Things to do Classes and workshops Your Place, Melbourne

Most Melburnians could probably do with a little extra calm in their lives right now and we've got just the thing for it. Fed Square is teaming up with Meditate in Melbourne to host weekly lunchtime meditation classes online. In the Beforetime, Fed Square regularly hosted free meditation classes as part of its regular fitness offerings. With 2020 giving the finger to any and all IRL events, these free online meditation classes are one way you can practice mindfulness and physical distancing at the same time. The free livestreamed classes run for 30 minutes and are suitable for beginners through to meditation pros. A new stream is released every Tuesday at 12.30pm, with the classes expected to run for at least six weeks.

Staying in?

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Time Out

Time In: The best things to do at home

Things to do

We've collected the best ways for you to experience Melbourne while staying at home here into this hub, so you can stay sane, comfortable, fed, watered and entertained at home – while helping small business owners, hospitality workers and creative people who desperately need your business.

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