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Colours on trees at Botanic Gardens
Photograph: Supplied

Things to do in Melbourne in July

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

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier
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Wondering what to do in Melbourne in July? We can help. Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne, including fun exhibitions, fantastic theatre productions and tasty food and drink events.

Wet weather on the horizon? Here are the best things to do in Melbourne when it's raining.

The best things to do in July

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Southbank

Often artistic works that attempt to draw a parallel between classic novels and modern pop culture tend to be overly wrought or uninteresting in their execution. The metaphor is sometimes so laborious that it comes off contrived, underestimating the intelligence of the audience. But Sydney Theatre Company’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray does the opposite; it demands more from us, asks us to keep up, and, to put it frankly, blows our tiny minds.  That Eryn Jean Norvill is incredible is almost a given at this point – I wouldn’t be the first to note that her mesmerising and exhilarating performance was probably the catalyst for its pending journey to Broadway. As a writer, I often note that those who fancy writing as an easy task haven’t read a great novel; it is also true that those who fancy themselves an actor probably haven’t seen Norvill in this. To see her at the height of her powers, enthralling and clearly thriving on the overwhelming task of bringing to life 26 fully formed characters in quick succession, is to understand that truly great acting is a delicate and difficult craft. Sydney Theatre Company artistic director Kip Williams’ use of multiple live cameras and smartphones – including live-on-stage picture manipulation – is not only clever, but it pushes the boundaries of anything you ever expected of a theatre/technology crossover. This artistic innovation is only made better by the perfect combination of composer and

  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

After a two-year delay due to Covid-19, immersive light installation Lightscape is finally arriving in Melbourne this winter. From June 24 to August 7, take a nighttime stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens and experience luminous pathways, lit-up tree canopies and soothing soundscapes.  Lightscape was first installed in the UK around a decade ago, where it was a huge success. Since then, it has taken over botanic gardens, National Trust and UNESCO World Heritage sites across the UK and the US.  The show includes large-scale installations, sparkling trees, floating lights, glowing archways and fields of light and colour along the 1.8km trail through the gardens. We're anticipating it will run much like the Fire Gardens exhibition that hit the RBG in 2018 with people directing you past all the attractions and showing you the best photo spots. Tickets start at $32 and are on sale now through the website.  Looking for some other Instagrammable moments? Here's everything illuminated and glowing in Melbourne this month.

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  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Melbourne

What if the Spice Girls did a concept album about King Henry VIII’s wives – and Baz Luhrmann directed the concert video? That, in a nutshell, is Six’s vibe: an up-tempo, empowering, all-singing, all-dancing account of the lives of the six key ladies in the Tudor monarch’s orbit. Much like Hamilton before it, the pop musical is making history buffs out of legions of musical theatre tragics, and making musical theatre tragics out of pop and hip hop lovers. A decent knowledge of Tudor history might help in getting some of the deeper cut references, but the bar to entry is low – you’re much better served by a willingness to go with the flow and get in the groove. There’s darkness at the core, though. As the lyrics remind us, the fates of these women are “divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived” – and the show makes no bones about the abuse and misogyny they suffered. The rousing climax is meant to absolve us of that sin, of course, but we’re still left with food for thought.  It's high concept, high quality, and highly enjoyable. With its cast of queens and unapologetic, celebratory feminism, Six rules.

  • Things to do
  • Pop-up locations
  • Melbourne

Between the first rickety flight of aviation pioneers the Wright brothers, and Neil Armstrong’s historic giant leap for mankind on the Moon, is a gap of just 66 years. And yet, despite the mind-boggling speed with which humanity went from earthbound to astronomical, the Apollo program, which took the first people to the lunar surface, was cancelled just over a year after its inaugural Moon landing. These extraordinary feats of engineering and courage had become too passé to hold the public’s attention. Well, for anyone still under the illusion that space is boring, a new immersive exhibition is ready to prove that there’s nothing dull about space exploration. Presented by Fever, this dazzling light show will transport you on a planet-hopping odyssey through our solar system, including visiting Mars, Venus, Pluto and Jupiter, with your feet still firmly on the ground. In orbit around these cosmic projections, visitors can find real space paraphernalia from notable missions including spacesuits supplied by NASA, as well as model spacecraft and interactive touchscreen displays for an even more detailed journey through the cosmos. While the exhibition has toured internationally, with more than a million people worldwide having seen the show to date, it's the first time the production will be shown in Melbourne.  The Melbourne premiere of Neighbourhood Earth will have a limited season at the Emporium from June 17 to August 28. Tickets are $30 per person and are on sale now through

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  • Art
  • Installation
  • Bulleen

Celebrated English-Australian artist Bruce Munro is presenting his first-ever museum exhibition at Heide this winter. From Sunrise Road features both indoor and outdoor interactive installations that show off Munro's adept skill in working with light. Here in Australia, Munro is perhaps best known for his massive 'Field of Light' installation at Uluru. The installation was first shown in 2016 and has 50,000 flower-like spindle light bulbs cover the desert – and it's from this work that Munro's new outdoor installation at Heide, 'Candent Spring', draws from. Within 'Candent Spring' you'll also find 'Time and Again', a series of tessellating abstract clock faces or stainless steel water lilies marked with symbols that try to give the concept of time a visual representation.  During daylight hours 'Time and Again' works as mirrors, literally reflecting the passage of time as the sky changes from the morning, to noon and to dusk. At night, the gleaming discs shine like stars and are amplified by the clusters of "fireflies" (spindly, anemone-like fibre optic forms) that guests can walk in between and explore. From Sunrise Road continues indoors, with Heide presenting several of Munro's top works. 'Ferryman's Crossing' comprises dozens of recycled CDs meshed together like an ocean with reflecting beams of light projected onto the work in morse code. 'Ferryman's Crossing' is inspired by the Herman Hesse novel Siddhartha, with the light projections echoing how mariners could communic

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • price 3 of 4
  • Melbourne

It’s Christmas for Potterheads. Three years after its celebrated opening at the expensively refurbished Princess Theatre, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is taking an apt step back in time with a second premiere, this time of a streamlined one-play version that carves a good three hours off of its original running time. There are various motivations for this. Even for ardent devotees or seasoned theatre veterans, six hours in a seat is a slog, and once killed-for tickets had become readily available. But what could have been a cynical hatchet job has turned out to be the making of this show. The main pillars of the story remain – picking up where JK Rowling’s novels ended, we meet the children of famed wizard Harry Potter as they depart for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. However, the enduring friendships that kept Harry alive are elusive for Harry’s awkward son Albus, and when he fails to live up to the towering expectations of not just his school but the entire wizarding world, his sole friendship becomes both his greatest refuge and his biggest vulnerability. But while you might reasonably assume that this is a play about magic, you’d be wrong. This is a play about love. Which should come as no surprise – love is quite literally the most powerful, death-defying force in JK Rowling’s seven-book saga. What is surprising however, is how one of the greatest juggernaut fiction franchises of all time has leaned – comfortably, credibly, with heart-rending sensitivit

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  • Things to do
  • Markets
  • price 0 of 4
  • Melbourne

It's always sad when the Queen Victoria Summer Night Market comes to an end, but the silver lining is that it means the Winter Night Market is on the horizon. This year, it'll kick off on June 1 and run every Wednesday until August 31, so rug up and warm yourself up from the inside out with cosy eats and hot beverages. This year, more than 35 of Melbourne's best street food traders, including returning favourites and Market first-timers, will be serving up delicious winter menus. Expect decadent burnt Basque and Biscoff cheesecakes from M&G Caiafa, all manner of tacos from the Happy Mexican, roasted local chestnuts from the Apple Corner, falafel platters from the Black Sheep, wood-fired pizza from 400 Gradi and pasta tossed in cheese wheels from That's Amore Cheese. All of these belly-warmers will pair well with warm beverages like hot gin toddies, warmed spiced cider and mulled wine by the likes of ReWine, Coldstream Brewery and Antagonist Spirits.  As always, you can expect roving performers and a rotating line-up of homegrown talent playing live music on the market's main stage. Before you settle in beside one of the many roaring open fires, be sure to explore the dozens of stalls selling locally-sourced and handmade products including jewellery, art, skincare, books and homewares.  If you've watched American holiday movies and dreamed of enjoying a white Christmas, you're in luck: come mid-season, the market will turn into a winter wonderland. Rug up in your winter woolli

  • Art
  • Installation
  • Daylesford

Switzerland-based 'artivist' Dan Acher is bringing his entrancing work 'Northern Lights' to Lake Daylesford this winter, delivering a light installation reminiscent of the Aurora Borealis – the colourful natural lights that dance over the far northern hemisphere at night. Borealis on the Lake combines a tranquil soundtrack with colourful, moving light beams in a blend of technology and art that aims to create a sense of community by bringing together people from all walks of life.  The outdoor installation, projected over Lake Daylesford, will run from July 15 to September 4 with timed entry tickets available between sundown (ranging from 6pm to 6.45pm, depending on the date) and 10pm. A shuttle is available from the Daylesford town centre – just add a ride to your ticket. For more on Borealis on the Lake, or to book tickets, check out the official website. Keen to see some more winter lights? Check out our list of everything lit up, glowing and illuminated in Melbourne this month, or our list of winter light festivals in regional Victoria.

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  • Art
  • Installation
  • Southbank

There's always one totally Instagrammable art piece at every festival – and at Rising this year, Kaleidoscope is surely it.  Keith Courtney, the artist behind the popular 1000 Doors and House of Mirrors art installations, delivers a kaleidoscopic mirror maze of constantly shifting coloured lights that will transport you right into the centre of the much-loved children's toy.  The dreamy illusion is at once fascinating and disorientating, accompanied by a soundscape sung by The National Boys Choir of Australia and composed by Tamil Rogeon. It's definitely not one to miss at this year's festival.

  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

The United States supreme court has overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision which has protected a pregnant person's liberty to choose to have an abortion for almost 50 years. Individual states in the US will now be allowed to ban abortion, and the dissolution of this protective measure brings with it grave fears for bodily autonomy for women and people with uteruses – not only in the US, but across the world.  Rallies are being organised across Australia this weekend in solidarity with abortion rights protesters in the US, to demand free, safe and legal abortion access and protection. In Melbourne, the rally will congregate outside the State Library on Saturday, July 2 at noon, and you can find out more on the Facebook event page. While these protests are intended as a show of support for those impacted in the US, the issues at hand also hit close to home. Abortion was only decriminalised in New South Wales in October 2019, and access to abortion was only fully decriminalised in all jurisdictions in Australia in 2021, with South Australia being the last to change its laws. However, non-legal barriers remain to abortion access across the country, including cost, geography and “residual stigma". There are fears that what is happening in the States could have an influence here.

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