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Yummy Deluxe performers on a brightly lit stage
Photograph: Theresa Harrison

Things to do in Melbourne in September

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

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Wondering what to do in Melbourne in September? We can help. Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne. Performances, museums and venues have been closed and cancelled right now, so this list is a reflection of events you're able 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

Best things to do in Melbourne in September

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • Melbourne

If there was ever a time that us Melburnians needed a healthy dose of comedy, music, dance and theatre to lift our spirits, it’s right now. Thankfully, the annual Melbourne Fringe Festival is returning in 2021 with the largest program in the event’s history.

From September 30 to October 17, more than 2,500 performers will creating chaos, magic and thought-provoking fun at venues right across the city – or in your home. Following on from the success and increased accessibility of last year’s Digital Fringe, the platform will again be hosting a number of engaging digital events that you can enjoy from the comfort of your lounge room.  

The key theme for the festival this year is ‘Make Some Noise’, so prepare for things to get a little loud. Voices will be raised, screams will be heard and music will be pumping – that’s a Fringe promise.

Trades Hall will once more act as the Festival Hub, and the epicentre for much of the action. The Deadly Fringe program is also back, and features a talented line-up of First Nations artists and performers. And to celebrate 35 years of the festival’s avante-garde furniture exhibition, Fringe Furniture has evolved to become Design Fringe – a new space to celebrate designers and the weird, wacky and totally impractical works they produce. It will be on display at Linden New Art and the Victorian Pride Centre.

Other highlights include Groundswell, a large-scale participatory experience and giant playable musical instrument by percussive artist, Matthias Schack-Arnott. It will be taking over Queensbridge Square and is open to all. Town Choir is another musical must-see that reframes everyday observations as epic, choral declarations. Catch the outdoor choir in Prahran Square singing these statements in glorious, four-part harmonies. And then there’s We Built This City – an enormous cardboard construction site by Polyglot Theatre, which encourages both adults and children alike to build the towns and cities of their dreams. 

With more than 460 events to check out, there truly is something for everyone. Tickets go on sale from August 27, and you can score yours here.

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  • Film
  • Melbourne

Flickerfest feels like it's been showcasing the best Australian short films forever. In reality, it's been 30 years – and the team are celebrating that milestone by partnering with SBS on Demand.

From now until the end of the year you can catch up on some of the best Flickerfest films from the last 30 years via the free online streaming platform. There are a total of 49 award-winning flicks to watch, both Australian and international. 

The festival is an Academy Awards accredited short film festival as well as a BAFTA recognised film festival, meaning winning films at Flickerfest are eligible for consideration in the Oscars and BAFTAs. A number of films streaming have been nominated or won Academy Awards, including Butterlamp, Timecode and The Eleven O’Clock.

Films available as part of the 30-year celebration also highlight some of our best local talents, including Deborah Mailman (see her directorial debut Ralph), Rachel Ward (who won at Flickerfest 2020 with The Big House), a young Joel Edgerton (in 1998 short film Bloodlock) and Black Widow director Cate Shortland (her short Flowergirl is based on her real experiences in 1990s Bondi). 

Visit the website to start streaming.

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  • Things to do
  • Sports
  • Melbourne

Throughout the month of September, the Robert Connor Dawes (RDC) foundation is inviting you to participate in the ninth annual Connor’s Run to help raise funds supporting research for paediatric brain cancer. While the run normally takes place in person, the foundation has adapted to lockdown restrictions with the ‘Your Way, Any Day’ version of the event.

Challenge yourself to run, walk, pedal, swim or participate in any other form of fitness you enjoy throughout the month of September and encourage your friends to donate and sponsor your commitment. Whether you want to make it a daily habit or you have a goal you want to achieve by the end of the month, Connor’s Run is a great way to give back to your community while also challenging yourself and getting in some physical activity during lockdown. 

The RCD foundation was created in 2013 in memory of Robert Connor Dawes who, at 18 years of age, lost his 16-month battle with brain cancer. Paediatric brain cancer is the number one cancer killer of young Australians and since 2013, the foundation has raised more than $8.5 million for research on the disease. 

You can sign up for Connor’s Run through the website and you can make donations to the foundation and participants by clicking here.

  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

You're sitting on a park bench listening to your headphones when a woman comes up to you asking for help. She is wearing a coat that's too big for her, and she doesn't remember how she got there. Are these cigarettes in her pockets hers? What does the alarm on her watch mean? And wait... what's in the box?

Knot is the latest audio production from Darkfield Radio, the team behind immersive soundscape experiences Séance and Flight, which took place in physical shipping containers around the city. In the former, participants were immersed in the world of a séance that summons more than anyone bargained for. The Flight shipping container was fitted out like an aeroplane, with real plane seats, overhead bins and in-flight safety messaging. That made it all the more terrifying when the lights went out and the seats began to shake, but in both cases, a meticulously designed soundscape of terror brought the audience's worst fears to life.

Darkfield Radio uses the power of cleverly created soundscapes and your own imagination to bring terrifying scenarios to life. The company has created audio-only soundscapes to be enjoyed (or feared) in your own home, such as Eternal and Visitors. This one, called Knot, is meant to be listened to in three separate locations: on a park bench, in your car and at home.

All three locations are important to the plot, and you'll get more out of it if you follow the instructions to the letter. The audio is so cleverly recorded you'll swear someone really is sitting next to you whispering in your ear, or walking up behind you, getting closer.

The action takes place over three different times: 5.30pm on a park bench, 6.30pm in a car and 7.30pm at home. When you book your tickets, make sure you have access to all three of those locations at the times specified. And although the action is slightly confusing at first, stick with it – all will be (horrifyingly) revealed. 

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

When Melburnians seek a local escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Royal Botanical Gardens is often one of the first destinations to come to mind. But it’s likely most of us don’t know much about its history and its first director who made many significant contributions to the gardens: Baron Ferdinand von Mueller. 

If it’s within your 5km radius and you’re looking for a new and educational outdoor activity, make your way to the Gardens for a free audio tour narrated by Mueller (voiced by an actor, of course) who has time-travelled into the present-day to visit his former haunt.

Mueller, who served a 20-year tenure as the garden’s first director starting in 1857, will speak to you about his joys and fill you in on the drama and frustration of his replacement by William Guilfoyle. He’ll also confront and come to terms with some of his own actions, including his contribution to colonisation, and his introduction of blackberries which became one of Australia’s most pesky invasive plant species.

The tour lasts around 50 minutes and takes you on a 1.2km walk around the gardens, so it's a great way to get some exercise and fresh air on your own or with a friend while also learning about one of Melbourne's most popular attractions. You can access the audio tour via your smartphone and headphones, and the audio can be found here

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