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Brittany Long

Things to do in Melbourne in March

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

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier

March 1, 2023: March marks the end of summer, but that doesn't mean an end to good times. Start filling up your spring social calendar with fun events including music festivals like Golden Plains and Ability Fest or productions like The Mousetrap, Mary Poppins and & Juliet.

Looking for the best things to do in Melbourne this March? Check our list of fun events, new openings, theatre shows, food festivals and so much more. If you're after the best live music this month, check out our comprehensive guide to gigs in Melbourne. Or, if you're keen to hit the town, check out our guide to some of Victoria's coolest towns.

Planning ahead? Here's our guide to the best things happening in Melbourne in April.

Things to do in Melbourne in March

  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • Melbourne

Ability Fest has just dropped a red-hot line-up for 2023, where acts like Hilltop Hoods, Sampa the Great, Meg Mac, BROODS, Alex Lahey, Telenova, and Deathrays will take to the stage to celebrate the universal power of music.

Ability Fest will return to Naarm/Melbourne’s Birrarung Marr on March 25, 2023, and revellers can party the day away against sweeping skyline vistas in the spirit of diversity and inclusivity.

A not-for-profit event, Ability Fest is Australia’s first all-accessible music festival and one of the leading torchbearers for inclusive events, using music as a platform to normalise disability.  Organised by the Dylan Alcott Foundation and Untitled Group, Ability Fest has hosted some of the biggest names in the industry and raised just shy of $500,000 to help young Australians living with a disability fulfil their potential through the foundation's grant program.

The Ability Fest venue is specifically designed with infrastructure that caters to people of all levels of ability, with elevated platforms and ramps, Auslan translators on stage, a dedicated sensory area, accessible toilets, guide dog accessibility and more. 

The festival will be held across two stages, and festivalgoers can also expect to see acts like Mashd Kutcher, PARIS, dameeela, Linda Marigliano, Tyson O’Brien, Juno Mamba, Latifa Tee, Mulalo and Tiff Cornish. 

“I’m so proud to see the path Ability Fest has already paved for inclusive events across the country," says Dylan Alcott. "First and foremost, our main priority is to create a kick-ass festival that happens to be accessible. And that’s something I think we’ve achieved since launching in 2018."

General Tickets are on sale at 12 pm on January 24 and start from $89. Find out more here.

Can't get enough of live music? Don't miss out on seeing our guide to the best festivals happening this summer.

  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • Melbourne

The Moonlight Cinema has once again taken over the Botanic Gardens this summer, with a stellar line-up of blockbuster hits and cult classics for keen filmgoers to watch under the stars with a choc top in hand. The season kicked off on December 1 and will run until March 26, 2023.

Australia's favourite outdoor cinema has revealed its January line-up of movies, blockbuster summer previews and retro favourites to kickstart your 2023. Program highlights include everything from the highly anticipated Avatar: The Way of Water to Disney's latest family animation Strange World, as well as retro classics such as Twilight, My Best Friend's Wedding and The Princess Diaries. 

Those looking to splurge can opt for either the Mr Stubbs platinum experience, which includes a deluxe double bean bed for two with blankets in the most premium seating location, or the Green Grass experience, with a waiter service so that you can have food and beveraged delivered straight to your bean bag.

And it wouldn't be summer if you didn't treat yourself to some ice cream, so reserve tickets to the Connoisseur Lounge and beat the heat with decadent and creamy flavours – the new salted pretzel flavour is a must-eat. 

Moonlight is also a dog-friendly experience, so feel free to bring along the furriest member of your family and let him plonk down on a plush dog bean bed while snacking on canine movie snacks. 

Gates open from 6.30pm and screenings kick off at sundown around 8.15pm. Catching the tram is one of the easiest ways to reach the Moonling Cinema, with routes 3/3a, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67 and 72 all bypassing the Botanic Gardens. Tickets start at the $18 mark and can be purchased here.

Time Out's 100 Days of Summer calendar is here to help you plan your entire summer in Melbourne.

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  • Music
  • Melbourne

With lockdowns squarely in the rearview mirror, 2022 became the year that life finally returned to the city. In the spirit of this grand urban renaissance, Fed Square hosted a series of free blockbuster gigs that proved so darn popular, 2023 is now set to score its own line-up of open-air live shows to keep the party going.

The first three Fed Live gigs to be announced for 2023 are setting the bar sky high, with homegrown headliners that are making international waves. On Saturday January 21, NT quintet King Stingray will be unleashing their one-of-a-kind fusion of surf rock and First Nations Yolŋu culture, music and language. They’ll be joined by fellow NTers Andrew Gurruwiwi Band, whose funk-reggae stylings also fold in elements of First Nations culture; the Sydney songstress with a fresh sound but an old soul, Babitha; and dreamy, long-locked indie-rock four-piece the Moving Stills.

On Saturday February 18, one of the most exciting Aussie musos of the past decade, Vera Blue, will be taking to the stage, headlining an evening of powerhouse women. Her folksy yet pop-infused tunes and silken vocals have won her legions of fans across Australia and overseas. Joining Blue in support will be Melbourne-based singer-songwriter and Triple J Unearthed winner Gretta Ray; and up-and-coming R'n'B hitmaker Vetta Borne.

Rounding out the program for the first quarter of 2023, with be rap star Masked Wolf on Saturday March 24. AKA Harry Michael, this born'n'bred Sydney boy cracked the US Billboard Hot 100 last year, charting at number 6 with his 2021 sleeper hit 'Astronaut in the Ocean', and he has continued to go from strength to strength throughout 2022. Sharing the stage with Masked Wolf will be ten-piece funk supergroup Big Twisty & the Funknasty; ascendant Melbourne rap star Agung Mango; the African-charged, soulful hip-hop of South Sudanese Melbournite Pookie; and Indigenous raptress and rising star Kootsie Don.

Entry to all three of these gigs is absolutely free, so assemble the squad and clear those ears for Fed Live’s line-up of huge Aussie talents in 2023.

Find out more about Fed Live.

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  • Art
  • Paintings
  • Southbank

A retrospective solo exhibition covering 50 years of Peter Tyndall’s iconic career is set to open in Melbourne, starting December 9. The exhibition will be the most comprehensive to date, featuring more than 200 works, including over 130 unstretched paintings.

Drawing from the University of Melbourne’s own collection and also including works on loan from national institutions and private collections, the show is set to display some never-before-seen pieces. Tyndall's preoccupation with perception of meaning and how art is comprehended is contrasted by an exacting, almost pop-art style of painting – a distinction that is front and centre in this exhibit.

The university's contemporary art museum, Buxton Contemporary, will house the retrospective and also host a series of educational programs on the artist. The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive publication on the artist that will include important essays by the curators, Doug Hall AM and Dr Claire Roberts.

Samantha Comte, senior curator of Art Museums, says this exhibition continues Buxton's focus on the practices of artists and tendencies within contemporary art through its programs.

"Attracting a cult following since his stellar rise in the 1970s, Tyndall is known by many in the art world as unique in his vision," she says. "This exhibition celebrates half a century of his constant, inventive permutations, looking at art, ourselves and the world, which we are eager to introduce to a new generation."

The Peter Tyndall Retrospective opens on December 9 until April 16, 2023. For more information, head to the website.

Lover of art? Here are the best exhibitions happening in Melbourne this month.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Melbourne

Following its winter hibernation, Melbourne's OG floating bar and restaurant is returning for its seventh season on the Yarra. Last year, Arbory Afloat was decked out in the style of the picturesque Turquoise Coast in Turkey — and this year, it's returning as a sun-drenched take on the Balearic Islands. 

Instead of dropping thousands on a ticket to Ibiza, Formentera, Menorca or Mallorca, you can enjoy a taste of the archipelago right here in Melbourne. The 69-metre space, which features two bars and an extensive upper deck pool club, is set to have its dreamiest design yet. 

Food-wise, this season's menu will focus on simple, fresh and flavourful ingredients. It's designed to share, with several Spanish-inspired offerings including pintxos, tapas, bocadillos and raciones. The brand-new drinks list will also lean into the Balearic Islands theme, and you can expect the likes of Sangrias, Porn Star Sour Martinis, Pina Coladas and Aperol Spritzes to take centre stage. 

Arbory Afloat will reopen from 4pm on Wednesday, September 21 and will remain open from 11am to 1am from Thursday, September 22 onwards. For more information, visit the Arbory Afloat website. 

  • Art
  • Carlton

Naadohbii: To Draw Water has arrived at the Melbourne Museum. A trinational exhibition curated in partnership with New Zealand’s Pātaka Art and Museum, and Canada’s Winnipeg Art Gallery, it exhibits over 20 pieces of art from First Peoples artists from Australia, New Zealand and Canada. 

Naadohbii means ‘to draw or seek water’, and comes from the Anishinaabemowin language of the First Peoples of Canada. This exhibition seeks to shed light on First Peoples' cultural connections to water, continuing the dialogue of climate change from an Indigenous perspective.

“For First Peoples, our country of earth, sky, and water grounds us in our history, our identity and our futures, and water is pertinent to the survival of all of three of these aspects to who we are," says Kimberley Moulton, senior curator south eastern Aboriginal collections at Museums Victoria. "This exhibition is a powerful reflection on water through contemporary practice – it looks at themes of fresh and saltwater countries, to the stars for sea navigation and to our consumption and need for preservation of water.”

Australian artists featured in the exhibition include Ishmael Marika, James Tylor, Elisa Jane Carmichael, Nici Cumpston and Regina Pilawuk Wilson presenting their art in all forms, from sound works to sculptures and textiles. Museums Victoria will also take the opportunity to showcase significant cultural materials related to Indigenous water management for the first time, including a Tasmanian First Peoples canoe created by Uncle Rex Greeno.

Naadohbii: To Draw Water  will be on display at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum until March 26, 2023. Tickets to the exhibition are included with Melbourne Museum general entry.

  • Art
  • Installation
  • Melbourne

Following a successful season of Patricia Piccinini's hyperrealist installation, 'A Miracle Constantly Repeated', it is uber popular street artist Rone who will be the second artist in residence in the enigmatic ballroom space above Flinders Street Station.

His new, immersive installation, 'Time', will be spread across 11 themed rooms, all featuring Rone's distinctive female figures flanked by vintage-style objects by interior set decorator Carly Spooner and a building team led by Callum Preston. Composer Nick Batterham joins with a haunting soundscape to accompany.

“For years, I had heard all these stories about the mysterious ballroom above Flinders Street Station," says Rone, aka Tyrone Wright. "I always wondered how much of it was truth and how much was urban myth. I was desperate to get in there."

“I find it fascinating that there is an entire wing of the building that was locked up for decades,” he says. “Once I discovered how important these spaces had been in the past, I knew I wanted to share that with people.”

Over the past 20 years, Rone has taken over many a decaying weatherboard cottage for his show 'Omega'; the Alphington Paper Mill for extremely limited viewings of his collection of works, 'Alpha'; and the Star Lyric Theatre building in Fitzroy for his show, 'Empty'. In 2019 he even popped up in an abandoned 1930s mansion for 'Empire'.

Tickets go on sale for Rone's highly anticipated installation 'Time' are on sale now. The exhibition is open to the public until April 23, 2023.

  • Art
  • Parkville

A bold, thought-provoking exhibition has landed at the University of Melbourne, featuring three newly commissioned works by contemporary artists Andy Butler, Lisa Hilli and James Nguyen.

Co-curated by the Ian Potter Museum of Art’s senior curator Samantha Comte and head curator Jacqueline Doughty, Collective Unease signals a tension between contemporary Australian society and the remnants of a colonial vision still embodied within the architecture of the Old Quad building, where the exhibition is being displayed. 

These three artists have responded to and reframed objects from the university’s archives and art collections, moving beyond colonial narratives to a complex, multi-voiced understanding of Australia inflected by experiences of migration and diaspora. In the face of difficult histories and an uncertain future, these works emphasise themes of self-representation, empowerment and optimism. 

Andy Butler’s video ‘The Agony and the Ecstasy’ juxtaposes landscape paintings and decorative objects with footage of the university's cheerleading club, while Lisa Hilli’sBirds of a Feather’ explores the empowerment of educated Papua Niuginian women through the cultural and symbolic connection of ‘kumul’ (birds of paradise). Hilli’s installation highlights women alumni, in particular Dame Meg Taylor.

Finally, in James Nguyen’s video ‘An Australian National Son’, musicians reinterpret a Federation-era song sheet from the university’s rare books collection, performing the nationalistic tune on violins that have been muffled with foam.

Collective Unease is showing in the Old Quad building until June 2, 2023 (with a break between December 9, 2022, and February 14, 2023). For more information, head to the website.

Want more art? Check out the best free exhibitions in Melbourne.

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Melbourne

If you were looking for a Shakespeare / pop music mash up, then this is the musical for you. Award-winning West End and Broadway hit & Juliet will debut in Melbourne in February 2023 for its Australian premiere at the Regent Theatre – and it's an exclusive to boot.

Based on Shakespeare's ode to star-crossed love, Romeo and Juliet, the feel-good jukebox musical features iconic songs from legendary pop songwriter Max Martin, including his hits for Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Katy Perry, The Weeknd, and Kelly Clarkson. But this is no retelling of the much-loved play – this is, instead, a chance for Juliet to choose her own fate, and embark on a journey of self-discovery.

The recently announced Australian cast is led by 26-year-old proud Aboriginal and South Sea Islander woman Lorinda May Merrypor in the title role, and Australian music industry legend Rob Mills as Shakespeare, while music theatre icon Amy Lehpamer tries to rewrite the narrative as his wife Anne. Fresh from starring in Fangirls, Blake Appelqvist steps up as bad boy Romeo. No stranger to the irresistible combination of "love, pop and Shakespeare", Appelqvist was just stealing hearts in Bell Shakespeare's The LoversRounding out the cast is the legendary Casey Donovan, Hayden Tee, Jesse Dutlow and Yashith Fernando.

Speaking of the casting, Australian Producer Michael Cassel said: “We want the people audiences see on stage to look like the faces they see around them in everyday life and I am so proud of the cast we found in Australia for & Juliet. From the big stars of Australian stage to the newcomers who blew us away in their auditions this is a vibrant, exciting, diverse and, most important, hugely talented group of people to bring this show to life Down Under."

“In the iconic words of Max Martin and Jessie J, this cast really ‘takes me down, like I’m a domino’. Australia deserves a show with this much joy, and a cast that can knock it out of the theatre every single night and that is exactly what they will deliver.”

& Juliet first premiered on London’s West End in 2019, winning 3 Olivier Awards. Tickets are on sale now for the season, running from February 26 to April 9, 2023.

  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Melbourne

Disney's famous magical nanny is packing her bottomless bag and hitching a ride on a flying umbrella all the way down to Melbourne for a mainstage musical production of Disney Theatrical’s Mary Poppins. Take a spoonful of sugar and get your singing voice ready to belt along with classic songs like the tongue twisting ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ and put out your tuppence a bag for ‘Feed the Birds’. This rave-reviewed Tony and Olivier Award-winning show (which Time Out Sydney gave a whopping 5 stars) flies onto the stage at Her Majesty's Theatre from January 29, 2023. 

Co-created and produced with Cameron Mackintosh, this production features dazzling choreography, mystifying special effects, and new songs and additional music by the Olivier Award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, with book by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes. Mary Poppins last played on Australian stages in 2010, when it won a record-breaking eight Helpmann awards.

For the Melbourne season, musical theatre icon Marina Prior will join the cast as in the dual roles of Bird Woman and Miss Andrew, while much of the rest of the Sydney cast list remains unchanged, including Stefanie Jones as Mary Poppins and Jack Chambers as Bert.

Mary Poppins’ arrival in Australia is a homecoming in more ways than one. The quintessentially British magical nanny’s original creator, PL Travers, or Pamela Travers, is actually Aussie. Born in Queensland before moving to Bowral in New South Wales at a young age, Travers published eight books featuring Mary Poppins all up. And as told in Valerie Lawson’s biography, Travers was a poet and a world-renowned author whose love of mysticism and magic shaped both her life and the character of Mary Poppins.

“My original treatment for the show was written in the shadow of Sydney’s Opera House, only a stone’s throw away from the original Theatre Royal where Pamela Travers first worked as an actress before she left her home country for England, where she created the world’s most famous Nanny in the 1930’s,” Mackintosh shared. 

“Though I dreamt of doing a musical version of her stories for over 25 years it was only when I finally met Pamela Travers in 1993 and she decided ‘I would do’ and entrusted me with the stage rights to her books, that I realised it might happen. However, it was meeting with Disney’s Tom Schumacher, who shared my vision, that made the show a reality, opening triumphantly in London in 2004.”

Tickets for the Melbourne season of Mary Poppins are on sale now. Head to the official website for more details.

What are you up to? Check out the best theatre and musicals in Melbourne this month.

  • Things to do
  • Talks and discussions
  • Coburg

Have you ever wanted to walk the hallowed halls that once housed notorious criminals like Ned Kelly and Mark 'Chopper' Read? Well, soon you'll have your chance: the historic Pentridge Prison in Coburg is reopening for public tours from March 1, 2023. 

Pentridge opened its doors in 1851 and served as a maximum security prison for nearly 150 years, so you know it's going to be spooky in there. The 90-minute tours, which are partially narrated by former inmate Uncle Jack Charles, will delve into the stories of former inmates and highlight the historical disproportionate imprisonment of First Nations people. As you listen, you'll be taken through different sections of the prison, learn about how the place was run and how prisoners were treated. 

Tickets start at $35 and will be available through the Pentridge Prison website. Watch this space for more details. 

Love being spooked? Read about Cell 17, the most haunted prison cell at Old Melbourne Gaol.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Spotswood

Head to Scienceworks for a brand new exhibition focusing on the science of light. Kids and adults alike will love this exploration of light and colour, featuring interactive exhibits, neon displays, and even an invisible laser sensor chamber.

With an illuminated colour-mixing station, a giant kaleidoscope and more, the hands-on, interactive play is an excellent introduction to the world of STEM for kids and will keep them entertained during the winter school holidays.

"Our new experience encourages play, exploration and creativity, reflecting our museum's role in fostering life-long engagement with STEM and preparing young Victorians for the science and technology-led workforce of the future," said Lynley Crosswell, the CEO of Museums Victoria. 

The exhibition runs until July 2023 at Scienceworks. Entry is $12, in addition to the $15 museum entry.

Looking to get your culture fix? Here are the best art exhibitions in Melbourne this month.

  • Music
  • Rap, hip hop and R&B
  • Melbourne

In news that’s got teens of the '90s giddy, some of hip-hop’s heavy-hitters are making their way Down Under in March 2023. American rapper and actor Ice Cube is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his famous 1993 Lethal Injection album, with Cypress Hill and The Game in tow. They’ll be performing at Rod Laver Arena, as well as in Sydney, Adelaide and Brissy. 

They’re big names, and the shows will be big, in-your-face productions. “I love performing in Australia. It’s been four long years since my last visit and I can’t wait to return for a couple of history-making shows in 2023,” says Mr Cube, who’s famous for politically-driven solo albums. He's also known for his lyrics on N.W.A’s 1988 album Straight Outta Compton, which were instrumental in the development of gangsta rap. Ice Cube’s musical mastery saw him and N.W.A. inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

Californian rap group Cypress Hill of ‘Insane in the Brain’ fame earned fans around the world (as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and three Grammy Award nominations) thanks to their genre-shifting sonic tapestry. The group introduced Latino sounds and rhymes to hip-hop. Cypress Hill also celebrates an anniversary next year – 2023 will be 30 years since they released Black Sunday, the album featuring songs like ‘Hits from the Bong’ and ‘I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That’. 

Then there’s double-platinum artist The Game, who emerged from the US’s West Coast hip-hop scene in the early 2000s with his intensely autobiographical narratives. 

These huge international acts will also be joined by some exciting homegrown Aussie talent (still to be announced). 

Tickets go on sale to the public at 2pm (local time) on Wednesday, November 22, 2022. Buy tickets here.

Looking for things to do now? Read a list of the best things to do in Melbourne this month.

  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Southbank

Content warning: This article discusses sexual assault. 

Award-winning playwright Suzie Miller drew on her experiences as a lawyer for Prima Facie, the hugely successful, hard-hitting one-woman play that takes a searing hot, clear-eyed look at the Australian legal system, sexual consent laws and their effects on victims.

Kicking off MTC's 2023 season, we will see Sheridan Harbridge stars as Tessa, a criminal lawyer at the top of her game who knows the law permits no room for emotion. This production speaking directly to an all-too-familiar reality where one in three women experience some form of sexual assault, and the law’s delivery of ‘justice’ fails to account for the deep imbalances of power and gender.

When the show premiered at Sydney's Griffin Theatre Company in 2018, Time Out reviewer Debbie Zhou said: "Prima Facie gives a platform for a woman to speak her truth, asking us to look beyond first impressions and to dig deeper into the very structures and procedures that embed underlying injustices. This is an urgent and compelling work: one that should be as widely seen for its craft, just as much as its subject matter should be better understood by our politicians, lawmakers and general public. Run, don’t walk."

And now, the original team from that premiere – Harbridge along with director Lee Lewis (Gloria) – are set to deliver this award-winning production to Arts Centre Melbourne's Fairfax Studio. As we said, run for those tickets when they're on sale from December 1.

If this article has raised any issues for you, you can call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732, the line is open nationwide 24 hours a day. In Victoria, you can also call the Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria between 5pm and 9am on 1800 806 292.

  • Comedy
  • Stand Up
  • Melbourne

The superstar comedian and actor Kevin Hart is back for his Antipodean encore to bring his stand-up comedy show, 'Reality Check', to Australian and New Zealand audiences in March 2023. One of the most well-known comics in the industry, Hart's tour will kick off in Auckland with its grand finale at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena on March 27.

Hailed as one of the highest-earning comedians of 2016 by Forbes, the American powerhouse is best known for his self-effacing humour and for delivering high-octane performances full of punch.

Born in 1979 in Philadelphia, Hart was raised by his mother, Nancy, while his father, Henry, battled with cocaine addiction and was in and out of jail. Inspired by the likes of Jerry Seinfield, Chris Rock, and Eddie Murphy, Hart took to comedy as a coping mechanism and began to perform in small clubs by the name of 'Lil Kev the Bastard.'

Ever since, Hart has had a meteoric rise and has starred in films such as Soul Plane, Paper Soldiers, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Fockers, and Get Hard. As well as making a name for himself in Hollywood, Hart has released three comedy albums - including the Grammy-nominated album Kevin Hart: What Now? - and his previous comedy tour in 2018 sold out in more than 100 arenas.

Tickets for Kevin Hart's 'Reality Check' stand-up show are available now on Ticketek.

Laugh your abs off with these regular comedy nights in Melbourne.

  • Art
  • Street art
  • Melbourne

If you were to ask almost any local what Melbourne is best known for, there’s a chance you’ll get a reference to its laneways. While a good number of Melbourne laneways are already filled with art, eateries, and hidden bars, there are a fair few that are lesser known and haven’t reached their full laneway potential, until now.

Supported by the City of Melbourne, Flash Forward is Melbourne’s most ambitious street art project, with over 40 large-scale works commissioned and set to hit the laneways of Melbourne. Among the program are familiar names like Celeste Mountjoy (filthyratbag), Jarra Karralinar Steel, Olana Janfa, Aretha Brown, DREZ, and Ling, with more lighting, music and creative installations in the works. 

From Mountjoy’s ‘Your Turn’ on Little Lonsdale Street standing over six metres tall with vibrant pops of colour, through to LING’s gargantuan sculptural piece ‘Crushed Can’ on Wills Street paying homage to the city’s graffiti scene, Flash Forward is encouraging exploration with an element of surprise, as pieces seem to pop up across the city overnight. While a fair few pieces are already up, the ever-growing program list means there are still a bunch more pieces yet to hit the laneways of Melbourne. 

If you’re interested in taking yourself on a laneway tour, there’s an interactive and printable map available on the Flash Forward website.

Want more art? Check out the best street art spots in Melbourne.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Melbourne

Get ready to go on a journey through living light when Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium unveils its new interactive digital experience in mid-February. 

Marking the major attraction’s first foray into this ever-evolving art form, Submerged is inspired by the bioluminescent underwater world and will tell the story of the mysterious firefly squid (which emits a glowing blue light from its body) and other majestic ocean creatures. The exhibition will also explore magical locations such as a glittering shoreline in the midst of spawning season and a moonlit deep dive into the depths of the bioluminescent unknown.

Suitable for all ages, Submerged will run until December 2023 while the 2.2 million litre Oceanarium undergoes a massive renovation. During this time, the larger sharks and rays will not be on display – but rest assured there will still be thousands of marine animals and freshwater animals to discover during your visit. 

“As one of Melbourne’s top tourist attractions, we are excited to be diving into new depths with the launch of Submerged," says Claire Burrell, general manager of Sea Life Melbourne. “The digital experience will captivate guests with its vibrance and hyperrealism, providing them with an alternative but no less engaging ocean experience while our Oceanarium is upgraded.”

Access to Submerged is included in the price of your admission and will be open to the public until December 2023. For more information, head to the website.

ICYMI: three adorable baby elephants were just born at Melbourne Zoo – and you can now see them!

  • Things to do
  • Food and drink
  • Melbourne

Here at Time Out Melbourne we haven't met a Sunday session we haven’t liked. So when we heard that Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters was joining the party, it’s safe to say our ears well and truly pricked up.

Overlooking the Yarra River, the newish restaurant has made a splash in the food world with its aim to take diners on a seasonal journey across Victoria to showcase the produce, people and places of the state. And that it has; so much so that Time Out’s review said the restaurant is “a Tom Cruise on Oprah’s couch moment professing absolute love for the region. How lucky are we?"

Back to the Sunday session. To celebrate the state’s incredible produce and the warm sunny weather, Victoria is teaming up with local gin gods Four Pillars to bring you an elevated Sunday escapade on the terrace. Think endless Four Pillars cocktails, wine and beer paired with a seven-course seasonal menu curated by executive chef Alejandro Saravia. Sounds like a dream to us. Kicking off on Sunday, January 15, the Sunday Summer Sessions will run weekly for 12 weeks with two sittings: 11.30am and 2.30pm (note, the sessions will not run on January 29 and February 5, 2023 due to private bookings). 

While the menu is not set in stone and will be evolving, you can absolutely expect to find top-quality local produce from passionate farmers and producers. You may enjoy a menu such as Cobb Lane sourdough with Inglenook Dairy salted butter; Mt Zero biodynamic grain hummus and crudités; artisan Victorian cheese and free range cured meats; fried rockling sandwich with gribiche and kohlrabi remoulade; Millbrook handcut chips and smoked hollandaise; O’Connor beef skewer with a black garlic glaze; and lastly, a Cuveé chocolate brownie with a salted caramel sauce. Veggos won’t miss out on the fun either, as there is a vegetarian menu available on request when booking.

To go alongside the feast, lap up two hours of bottomless Four Pillars cocktails and Victorian wine and beer. Plus, DJ Phinious will be there on the terrace to ensure the music is on point and the good times are flowing.

Tickets for Sunday Summer Sessions at Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters are $90 per person. Get your friends together, make a booking here and experience one of your best Sunday sessions yet at Victoria by Farmers Daughters.

Make a reservation and find out more information here

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  • Sport and fitness
  • Soccer
  • Melbourne

From October to June of each year, 12 teams from Australia and New Zealand compete in the A-League, the highest-level professional men's soccer league. Currently, Melbourne has two clubs: Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory, which both call AAMI Park home. 

Last year, Western United took home the trophy – but the year before that, Melbourne City secured the W. Historically, Sydney FC has netted the most wins, with four premierships and five championships to the team's name.

If you'd like to catch the A-League from home, it's streamed on Paramount+, and one game each week is streamed on Channel Ten. 

Keen on a frothy pint and a lively atmosphere? Here are Melbourne's best sports bars and pubs.

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Melbourne

A little south of Melton and just 40 minutes from the Melbourne CBD is the vibrant 3,000-person community of Eynesbury where you’ll soon be able to attend a range of free events to see you right through the silly season and summer. 

Each month, Eynesbury will put on a handful of free events with one day every month dedicated to the Food Truck Festival where you can try food from Portugal, the Netherlands, India and more. Over the season, youcan watch summer sports in the beer garden or grab a seat and relax in the shade. To help you plan, we’ve rounded up some of the standout events from the program. 

On Saturday, November 26, sip on local craft brews and chat with some star brewers at the Beer Festival. On Saturday, December 10, catch Santa, sing some carols and get some last-minute Christmas shopping done at the Community Christmas Party. The Australia Day Party is happening on Thursday, January 26, with plenty of music, fireworks and pop-up bars to keep you entertained. 

At the Indian Festival on Saturday 25 February, feast on traditional food, buy Indian wares and kick back and watch the entertainment before ending the season at the Eynesbury Masters Pro-Am on Saturday, March 27.  Golf lovers can team up with PGA professionals and have a swing, and there will even be a special free kids’ zone and free kids’ clinics with the pros.

After more fun in Melbourne? Check out our guide to everything happening in the city this month.

  • Art
  • Southbank

An exhibition of one of the world's most influential and innovative fashion designers lands in Melbourne this summer. Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse invites visitors to enter the conceptual, encyclopaedic and creative mind of this boundary-pushing fashion designer through more than 100 clothing pieces accompanied by more than 70 historical artworks. 

As fashion lovers work their way through the exhibition, they can see McQueen's inner workings at play; besides viewing the final product of his fashion genius, they can explore his reference points and capacity for storytelling through fashion and art via a series of paintings, sculptures, photography, decorative arts and works on paper. It is through this rich and varied collection that viewers are able to further understand his master strokes, and gain a deeper appreciation of his timeless art.

The summer blockbuster showcases 50 garments from the NGV's own collection, in addition to some 60 garments on loan from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), making it an Australian exclusive exhibition. 

Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse is on display from December 11, 2022 until April 16, 2023 at NGV International. The exhibition will kick off with Melbourne's fanciest annual event, The NGV Gala, held on December 10, 2022. Tickets are on sale now for the exhibition, as well as the NGV Gala.

Time Out's 100 Days of Summer calendar is here to help you plan your entire summer in Melbourne.

  • Things to do
  • Southbank

What could possibly improve on the grandeur of the Harry Potter film series? Seeing it on a huge screen with the magnificent Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performing the score live. 

The Harry Potter Film Concert Series is a global concert tour celebrating the boy wizard films all over the world, and it kicked off in Melbourne in 2017. Over the last few years, Melburnians have gotten to hear the awe-inspiring scores from films one through seven, and now it's finally time for the series to draw to a close with the final film of the Harry Potter series. 

In part two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Nicholas Buc will conduct the MSO in performing Alexandre Desplat's epic and emotional score as the films are projected onto a 12-metre high HD screen. Let the live music transport you into the wizarding world and follow along as Harry and the gang track down and destroy the final horcruxes and prepare for the Battle of Hogwarts against Voldemort and his army. 

If previous iterations of this popular series are anything to go by, tickets will sell out – so get ready to put your galleons down. Tickets for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 are on sale now, and will be running in 2023 from March 30 to April 1. 

Looking for more things to do? Check out our round-up of the best events happening in Melbourne this week.

  • Shopping
  • Sales
  • Abbotsford

On March 25 and 26, the National Trust's beloved annual vintage sale is returning to the Abbotsford Convent. This year, the sale will be taking place at the North Magdalen laundry from 10am to 4pm.

You'll be able to peruse a selection of vintage and pre-loved designer clothing and accessories from brands like Armani, Alexander McQueen and Marimekko. A lot of household linen, furnishings, dress fabrics and haberdashery will also be on offer.

Bring a gold coin donation for entry to prepare to refresh your wardrobe with fun new designer finds for a fraction of the price. Best of all, proceeds from the sale support the work of the National Trust in conserving our state's cultural and built heritage.

Learn more here.

Keen to hit the town? Check out our round-up of the best things happening in Melbourne this weekend.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Southbank

One of Melbourne’s favourite evening activities, NGV Friday Nights, is back for another season this summer, bringing with it a smoking line-up of musical acts, food, drinks and groundbreaking art.

The 18-week season will run every Friday night from December 16, 2022 to April 14, 2023, and feature some of Melbourne’s most boundary-pushing artists across the disco, glam rock, jazz and soul genres. Three-time Grammy Award nominee and neo-soul superstar Nai Palm will headline on opening night, with Electric Fields, Kee’ahn, Banoffee and Billy Davis also on the program. See the full line-up on the NGV's website.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an NGV Friday Night without late-night access to a world-class exhibition, and this season, it’s a big one. Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse gives you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the work of Alexander McQueen (1969 – 2010), showcasing 60 garments and accessories from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) alongside over 50 McQueen designs from the NGV Collection. 

What makes this exhibition unique is the addition of more than 70 historical artworks (including paintings, sculptures and photographs) that influenced McQueen’s designs over the years, exclusively curated for this special exhibition. 

The Moët Champagne Terrace Bar will be serving tipples all night, or you can treat yourself to a classic G&T or cocktail at the Four Pillars Gin Bar. If you’re more of a wine lover, the Yering Station Wine Bar will be set up in the Great Hall, pouring Yarra Valley rosé, chardonnay and pinot noir. And to commemorate McQueen’s London heritage, you’ll even get to dine on crispy pork belly, fish and chips, and a selection of cheeses. 

Visitors will also be able to view Freedom of Movement: Contemporary Art and Design from the NGV Collection and the newly installed Temple of Boom in the Grollo Equiset Garden.

NGV Friday Nights runs from December 16 to April 14, 2023. Tickets are available now on the NGV website

  • Art
  • Galleries
  • Southbank

Have you ever seen a series of chairs based on manga-style comic books? A brightly-lit conveyor belt and a computerised scanner to place your objects on? Or even a rock made from hundreds of microphones? Well, look no further than the NGV’s all-encompassing exhibition Freedom of Movement: Contemporary Art and Design from the NGV Collection. 

From December 2 to April 10, 2023, Freedom of Movement from the NGV is a free exhibition that offers a dynamic survey of the state collection across contemporary furniture, lighting, painting, film, sculpture and installation. 

Discover more than 60 multimedia works of contemporary art and design by some of the most recognisable names working today, including Patricia Piccinini, KAWS, Nick Cave, Shilpa Gupta, Alicja Kwade, Alex Prager to Daniel Arsham. 

Crossing culture, disciplines and traditional divides, the works in Freedom of Movement have been braided together from a selection of NGV Collection works to reveal the centrality of movement in contemporary art and design. Presented in four “movements”, each anchored by a major work, the exhibition invites audiences to consider concepts of movement, change, perception and transformation in contemporary life. 

Want to take a deeper dive into all the NGV has to offer? Check out the best ten works to see at the NGV that every Melburnian should see.

  • Museums
  • History

Catherine Martin's costumes from Baz Luhrmann's acclaimed movie Elvis have arrived at the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra, joining the exhibition Australians and Hollywood as a major drawcard.

See the famous 'Aztec' jumpsuit that the King wears in his final concert that concludes the film; the pink woollen suit jacket he wears in at his breakthrough performance; the 'Blue Wheat' jumpsuit; and more costumes worn by star Austin Butler and other cast members. 

Australians and Hollywood has been running for a year in the nation's capital, and new arrivals also include props from Jane Campion's Oscar-winning western The Power of the Dog. Other highlights include customised steering wheels from Mad Max: Fury Road, spectacular costumes from Moulin Rouge! and The Sapphires; and Luhrmann and Martin’s famous art concept books for Romeo + Juliet. 

Two years in the making and presented with major partner VisitCanberra, Australians and Hollywood contains never-before publicly seen objects, costumes, original documents and footage from the archive’s huge collection, augmented by loans from the private collections of some of Australia’s most celebrated actors, cinematographers and filmmakers, including Eric Bana and Mia Wasikowska.

With dozens of Australians contributing to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, filmmakers such as George Miller and Luhrmann hailed as visionaries, the likes of Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Cate Blanchett admired as A listers internationally, and First Nations storytellers like Rachel Perkins and Warwick Thornton the toast of international film festivals, there’s no denying the influence of the so-called “Aussiewood”. The show is a chance to find out more and take the opportunity to visit Canberra while you’re at it.

Full-price tickets to the exhibition are $16, and there are accommodation packages being offered at Accor Hotels in Canberra starting at $171/night too. Packages include accommodation, breakfast, an exclusive tote bag and tickets to Australians and Hollywood.

Find out more about Australians and Hollywood at the NFSA.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Melbourne

As Halloween approaches, the Harry Potter crew are celebrating the darker side of the play with Dark Arts Month until October 31. To celebrate, ticket purchases over $75 will get a $30 discount when booked on the official site. For ticket holders at the show this Sunday 16 October, they can attend an exclusive pre-show event at 5pm with Australian illusions and magic associate Lee Cohen. Attendees will explore the show’s wizardry in a special Introduction to Magic workshop. In the last week of October, there will also be a special Dark Arts-inspired dress up competition.

Read on below for our review of the new one-night version of the play.

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 sensitivity – into a queer romance.

Many people who strapped in to the six-hour theatrical marathon that was the original two-show format of the Cursed Child were left frustrated by the almost-but nature of the relationship between the two main protagonists, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy (yes, son of that Malfoy). A story (no spoilers – #keepthesecrets) that spends such extravagant resources to explore a connection that overcomes alternative realities, the boundless void of uncreation and simply being a teenager with overbearing parents, yanked the rug from beneath the audience’s feet with a couple of clunky lines that frankly retconned the hours of storytelling they’d just witnessed.

However, in this streamlined one-play version, whatever tentativeness that may have held back fully embracing this facet of the narrative seems to have lifted. Now, this wondrous show, jam-packed with spectacle and surprise, is one of the most authentic, moving, beautifully told coming out stories ever seen on stage.

The original conjuring of Cursed Child had one clear imperative. JK Rowling’s sequel to her blockbusting novels would be an unapologetic ode to the worldwide fandom that had embraced the wizarding world of Potter and Co down to the swish and flick of the smallest charm. But this also posed a problem. With a marathon performance (with a hefty pricetag) that relied so heavily on fan service, a swathe of potential ticket buyers, uninitated into the Potterverse, were held at arm’s length.

While some knowledge of Potter’s history is still somewhat a prerequisite, many of the recent changes to story have jettisoned the winks, nods, and barefaced indulgences to the novels and distilled the narrative to focus on more universal truths – of course packaged in a way that still makes use of the extraordinary stage craft and sorcery that made the two-show OG one of the most successful stage shows on both Broadway and the West End.

But how could such a success lose almost half of its running time and remain intact? It’s a question of economy of narrative. Those who are only familiar with the films of the original seven novels may be used to more disciplined plots than those that actually exist in Rowling’s pages. Indeed, the beats of the original script of the Cursed Child, penned by Rowling in partnership with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, were at times so head-spinningly convoluted with call-backs, flashbacks, back-to-the-future divergences, it was tricky to keep a handle on every parallel story arc in motion.

By losing some of the zanier corners of the story, the action feels more nimble, the plot more agile, and the emotional poigniancy that thrives beyond the whizbangs of the wandwork shines even brighter. It makes certain scenes that might have seemed inconsequential in the scheme of six hours of theatre hit even harder and individual lines that might have seemed throwaway blaze into memory.

But fear not, this edit doesn’t shortchange audiences when it comes to jaw-drops. Oooohs and aaahhs and how-the-hells? still abound in this bewitching triumph, amplified by the fleet-footed choreography of Steve Hoggart and buoyant, poppy score by Imogen Heap. Which is important, because seeing magic tricks before your eyes is an experience that the sterile ease of CGI simply cannot touch. To see wands waved in real life and for spells to literally spring from them is a thrill that remains entirely unchanged in the new Cursed Child, but without the uniformly stellar performances of this Australian cast, they would be nothing more than parlour tricks.

Nyx Calder as Scorpius is deeply endearing in his awkward, quirky account that is clearly the product of many hundreds of hours inhabiting this role, while Ben Walter’s quiet frustrations and subtle yearnings as Albus Potter are a perfect echo of the internal battles many young people conceal while they are discovering their identity. 

Harry Potter and Cursed Child was always more than the sum of its parts; such is the way of magic. But somehow, it has pulled out an even more impressive trick – by losing so much of its length and yet somehow saying more. 

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