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July events in Sydney

Find the coolest events in Sydney this month

Photograph: Supplied

The chilly weather won't stop us from enjoying the best outdoor ice skating spots or celebrating NAIDOC Week in the park. But when we do nip indoors, it'll be to go behind the scenes in the best backstage tours, to cosy up in Sydney's pubs with fireplaces, or to work up a sweat in these indoor climbing centres. Parents, check out our guide to the winter school holidays and this ranked list of kid-friendly pubs. Want to get away? See our guide to a weekend in Narooma

July's best events

1

Australian Graffiti

Twenty-three-year-old Disapol Savetsila is the youngest playwright to be commissioned by Sydney Theatre Company for their main stage program. His debut fictionalises a story close to his heart: a family whose restaurant business puts them at the coalface of multiculturalism in regional Australia. The cast featuers Gabrielle Chan, Airlie Dodds, Peter Kowitz, Kenneth Moraleda, Mason Phoumirath, Srisacd Sacdpraseuth and Monica Sayers. 

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Sydney Theatre Company - Wharf Theatres , Dawes Point Until Saturday August 12 2017
2

Cloud Nine

Pioneering British playwright Caryl Churchill (Top Girls) broke through with this genre mash-up, which starts in colonial Africa and then zips forward to 1979, exploring how race, gender and class have changed in the intervening years. Sydney Theatre Company artistic director Kip Williams will direct this new production, starring Matthew Backer, Kate Box, Harry Greenwood, Anita Hegh, Josh McConville, Heather Mitchell, Anthony Taufa. 

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Sydney Theatre Company - Wharf Theatres , Dawes Point Until Saturday August 12 2017
3

Scandinavian Film Festival

The fourth Scandinavian Film Festival is coming soon with films from Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, screening at Palace Norton Street and Palace Verona. “It came about because Scandinavia makes so many amazing films and so many of them weren’t being picked up for distribution here, or even being picked up by the festivals,” says festival director Elysia Zeccola. 

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Around Sydney , Sydney Until Wednesday August 2 2017
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4

Bondi Feast

Five editions in, Bondi Feast is looking a lot like Sydney’s “unofficial Fringe”: a curated festival of new independent work, unusual work, boundary-breaking work and experiments – all for the kind of price point where you the viewer can also afford to take risks. Having started as a project of Tamarama Rock Surfers (the now-defunct independent theatre company) in 2012, and after taking a year off in 2016, Bondi Feast is returning this year under the auspices of Waverley Council – and co-curated by founder, theatre-maker and Story Club regular Phil Spencer, with theatre maker Rachel Chant.

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Bondi Pavilion , Bondi Beach Until Saturday July 29 2017
5

Red Bull Sound Select

Launched in Sydney in April 2016, this world-wide series promotes live music – for less than the price of a coffee. The local edition is curated on a rotating roster by FBi 94.5, I Oh You and Laneway Festival. Each month you can see three of Australia's best new live acts for $3 (if you RSVP) and $10 (if you don't!). This month catch SK Simeon, Friendships and Cassius Select.

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Around Sydney , Sydney Until Sunday December 31 2017
6

Rice

Griffin Theatre Company's artistic director Lee Lewis (The Homosexuals) is helming this Queensland Theatre Company co-production of Michelle Lee’s two-hander about the relationship between a high-flying executive and her office cleaner. Kristy Best and Hsiao-Ling Tang star.

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SBW Stables Theatre - Griffin Theatre Company , Darlinghurst Until Saturday August 26 2017
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7

Making Modernism: O’Keeffe, Preston, Cossington Smith

This collaboration between Melbourne's Heide Museum of Modern Art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum represents the first major body of work by the American modernist to be presented in Australia, alongside works by her Antipodean peers Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith. All three women were pioneers of modernism, presenting bold new visions for art in their (very different) aesthetics. 

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Art Gallery of NSW , Sydney Until Monday October 2 2017
8

Bondi Winter Magic

In July, Bondi Beach will come to life with non-stop entertainment for its annual Winter Magic Festival. The biggest drawcard of this year’s festival is the new 32-metre high ferris wheel called the Bondi Eye, which will give visitors a 360-degree view of the beachy ’burb. Don’t worry, it’ll be perfectly warm up there in a glass box, sheltered from the coastal breeze. It’ll be particularly spectacular at night as the gondola has LEDs with 35 different changing colours and patterns. Tickets start from $8 per person for a single ride or $30 for four people. 

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Bondi Pavilion , Bondi Beach Until Monday July 31 2017
9

Kinky Boots

For a musical largely set in a Northampton shoe factory, Kinky Boots is surprisingly energetic. Directed and choreographed by Broadway favourite Jerry Mitchell, it’s buoyed by buckets of charm, a gung-ho approach to storytelling, and – in this Australian iteration – superlative performances. The show barrels along in a shower of sequins and triumphant lyrics – almost distracting its audience from significant narrative issues. The true story turned 2005 film turned Tony-winning Broadway hit follows Charlie Price (played here by Sydney’s Toby Francis, a fine actor with a winning rock tenor), who inherits a struggling shoe factory from his father. 

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Capitol Theatre , Haymarket Until Sunday August 13 2017
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10

Shit

Recommended

Patricia Cornelius’s new play is an outright provocation as the title suggests. It dares to put three female characters on the stage who are rarely if ever given a theatrical voice. Rough, rude and irrevocably damaged, they are the kind of people most theatre-goers would cross the street to avoid – but under the rich talents of the playwright and the extraordinary direction of Susie Dee, they make a compelling and heartbreaking subject. 

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Seymour Centre , Darlington Until Saturday July 29 2017
11

The Rover

This production of Aphra Behn’s Restoration-era battle-of-the-sexes romp will star Black Sails star and Belvoir favourite Toby Schmitz, and Nikki Shiels (Twelfth Night), within a cast of ten. “It’s wild, really wild,” says Eamon Flack, directing the production. “I wanted a show that had that level of panache and that high energy level and entertainment quotient.”  Behn is generally considered the world’s first ‘professional’ female playwright.

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Belvoir St Theatre , Surry Hills Until Sunday August 6 2017
12

Etsy Community Market

Sydney has no shortage of markets, which means the bar has been set high when it comes to purveyors of local, handmade and artisanal goods. Luckily, market snobs are in for a welcome treat, with the upcoming Etsy Community Market set to showcase some of the finest wares by Sydney’s best creatives. On Saturday July 29, over 70 local makers, artisans and designers from Etsy.com, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, will come together to show off their talents at the Brewery Yard at Central Park. 

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Central Park Mall , Chippendale Saturday July 29 2017
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13

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards and exhibition showcase not only the best of the natural world, but the patience, ingenuity and talent of the photographers who spend their time embedded within wildlife so that they can get that incredible, revealing shot. Judged by a panel of industry-recognised professionals, this year's 100 finalists were taken by some of the world’s best nature photographers and selected for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity.

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Australian National Maritime Museum , Darling Harbour Until Monday October 9 2017
14

The Archibald Prize

The Archibald Prize is the exhibition that stops a nation – well, a city anyway. Everyone has an opinion about who and what is most deserving of the $100,000 top gong within a line-up of faces familiar and not, by big name, mid-career and emerging painters. Running concurrently in the gallery are the Wynne and Sulman Prize exhibitions – the former for landscape painting or figure sculpture, the latter for subject painting, genre painting or mural art.

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Art Gallery of NSW , Sydney Saturday July 29 2017 - Sunday October 22 2017
15

Neil DeGrasse Tyson - A Cosmic Perspective

Generally speaking, any mention of astrophysics is likely to invite a round of yawns than to provoke cheers of excitement. However, the man working to change that is Dr Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an internationally renowned scientist, author and media personality who is gracing our shores this July with his tour A Cosmic Perspective. He will be talking all things aliens, artificial intelligence and alternative facts at Darling Harbour’s ICC.

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International Convention Centre , Darling Harbour Saturday July 29 2017
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16

Paddy's Night Market

Paddy's Markets in Flemington is throwing its hat into the ring with a huge night food market in their undercover carpark. Filling the cavernous space with over 25 vendors, free arcade games, and live music, they've given themselves the competitive edge in Sydney's vortex of night markets, filling their version with irresistible elements that are sure to beckon even the most frost-fearing of food truck aficionados out into the cold. Expect fried chicken from Maverick Wings and Dirty Bird, Instagram-friendly burgers from Chur and the dancing bakers of Knafeh, who will be slinging their signature desserts around (in between bursts of choreography of course). 

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Paddy's Organic Market , Homebush West Saturday July 29 2017 - Saturday August 5 2017
17

Video Junkee

Video Junkee is a two-day celebration of creativity and innovation in video through a series of talks, screenings, masterclasses and awards. The aim is to bring together leading and viral content creators to discuss the so-called ‘Golden Age of video’ we currently live in. The program will be headlined by the stars and producers of Foxtel’s Wentworth, BoJack Horseman creator and showrunner Raphael Bob-Waksberg (in conversation with Marc Fennell), the cast and crew of ABCs Cleverman and keynote speaker Yael Stone, from Orange is the New Black. 

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Carriageworks , Eveleigh Until Saturday July 29 2017
18

Demi Lardner

Recommended

The young comedian won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s 2017 Director's Choice Award with this show – her second ever full-length – in which she gets inside the mind of a 46-year-old man called Gavin who is trapped in his basement. It's a little like Tim and Eric, but live and with no budget props. Glorious, surreal, silly fun. Look What You Made Me Do is showing as part of Bondi Feast.

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Bondi Pavilion , Bondi Beach Until Saturday July 29 2017
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19

Velvet

Craig Ilott's 2015 show is returning to Sydney with a cocktail of circus, cabaret and disco tunes to rival the legendary New York night spot Studio 54. Marcia Hines is up front wrangling the boogie, and playing guide to the young ingenue (Tom Oliver) who stumbles into her boogie wonderland. La Clique favourite Craig Reid (aka The Incredible Hula Boy) is one of many delivering acrobatic eye-candy: Stephen Williams, Mirko Köckenberger, Emma Goh, Kaylah Attard and Rechelle Mansour.

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Roslyn Packer Theatre , Millers Point Until Sunday August 6 2017
20

The Plant

Young Sydney playwright Kit Brookman (Small and Tired; The Great Fire) won the 2016 Ensemble Theatre New Writing Commission with this new play about looking for companionship in unusual places. Elsie Edgerton-Till directs a cast led by Sandy Gore, and featuring Helen Dallimore, Briallen Clarke, Michelle Lim Davidson and Garth Holcombe.

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Ensemble Theatre , Kirribilli Until Saturday August 5 2017
21

International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes

The exhibition will be an interactive journey into the world of the most famous detective in the world, whether you know him from the books, the movies of the TV shows. You’ll be able to try your hand at vintage forensic experiments, including blood splatter analysis and a steampunk-y footprint machine. Fans of the recent adaptations will be thrilled to know there are a bunch of props, costumes, sets and oddities from Sherlock, Elementary and other screen and stage pop culture gems. It'll include a recreation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s study – the man behind the legendary character – that features over 350 objects. 

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Powerhouse Museum , Ultimo Until Sunday October 8 2017
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22

Rhythm of the Night: 90s Dance Party

Never ever have we ever felt so low (so low) for we’ve heard the next Rhythm of the Night will be the last. Without it, will anything ever make us feel Whole Again? We all know there ain’t no party like an S Club party. C’est la vie. If the ’90s dance party has been the rhythm of your life, then you’d be wise to get on that Venga Bus before it’s gone for good. DJ Levins will be at Hudson Ballroom for one last Macarena on Saturday July 29. 

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Hudson Ballroom , Sydney Saturday July 29 2017
23

The Dark Matters

It'll be your last chance to see White Rabbit’s exhibition before it closes on July 30. Williams first had the idea for The Dark Matters during a visit to an artist’s studio in Beijing, in November 2015. “Most of the studios are really higgledy piggledy – but this was the most Zen space I’ve ever been to.” The artist, Shao Fan, designs furniture and paints in black (one of his elegant, minimalist tables has made it into the show, as a pedestal for another artist’s work). “That’s when I thought, let’s just do a really Zen show.”

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White Rabbit , Chippendale Until Sunday July 30 2017
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