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October events in Sydney

The second month of spring is packed with outdoor festivals, live music, cinematic events and sun-soaked adventures

The Plant Library Lauren Brincott MCA C3West 2019 supplied
Photograph: Jaimi Joy

Party season is well and truly on the way when October rolls around. There’s plenty to keep you entertained on weekends and after hours since the sun is starting to shine with more enthusiasm.

This month’s coolest events include coastal art exhibitions like Sculpture by the Sea, Asian hawker markets in the park at the Night Noodle Markets, the experimental performing arts festival Liveworks, as well as all the incredible new theatre productions that are busting out each week. And as a bonus, the second month in spring holds the promise of spooky Halloween events, and the perfect opportunity to plan a trip to these terrifying haunted sites around Sydney.

RECOMMENDED: Musical theatre in Sydney.

October's biggest events

Billy Elliot the Musical 2019 supplied image Sydney Lyric
Photograph: Alastair Muir
Theatre, Musicals

Billy Elliot the Musical

icon-location-pin Sydney Lyric, Darling Harbour

It's time to don your ballet shoes and practice your plié – Billy Elliot the Musical is on its way back to Australian shores for a tenth anniversary tour. The British blockbuster is opening at the Sydney Lyric, with four freakishly talented youngsters sharing the title role.


Kurios – Cabinet of Curiosities

icon-location-pin The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park

Every couple of years, globe-trotting circus company Cirque du Soleil pops up its Grand Chapiteau in Sydney for a season of good, old-fashioned spectacle and entertainment. Its next show to come to town has got a decidedly retro vibe and has been widely praised as the company's best in years.

Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee
Photograph: Hugh Stewart
Things to do, Exhibitions

Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Step Into Paradise

icon-location-pin Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo

In 1973, the Sydney Opera House opened and our city was making headlines around the world. But in the Strand arcade, another cultural revolution was happening: Jenny Kee opened her Flamingo Park Frock Salon. Her creative partnership with Linda Jackson is being celebrated in this major survey.

Primavera MCA 2019 supplied
Zoe M. Robertson, 'Various Protest Banners', 2018
Art, Galleries


icon-location-pin Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks

Each year, the MCA invites an artist or curator to take the reins of Primavera, an exhibition for emerging artists under 35. This year, it's curated by Archibald Prize-winning painter Mitch Cairns, who has brought together seven artists who all incorporate language forms and poetic expression in their practice.

Women in Vogue National Portrait Gallery 2019 supplied
Images courtesy Vogue Australia.

Women in Vogue: Celebrating 60 Years in Australia

icon-location-pin National Portrait Gallery,

Celebrating 60 years of Vogue Australia, Women in Vogue brings together iconic portraits of the Australian women who have featured in the magazine’s pages over the years, including Kylie Minogue, Cate Blanchett and Elle McPherson, while celebrating the role the magazine has played in the lives of Australian women over two generations.

Then White Rabbit 2019 supplied image
Photograph: Supplied


icon-location-pin White Rabbit, Chippendale

For ten years now, Judith Neilson's four-storey temple of contemporary Chinese art has showcased an enviable collection of bold, playful and provocative work. The gallery will celebrate some of its finest moments at the end of its first decade in retrospective exhibition, Then.

The Art of Banksy supplied 2019
Artwork: Banksy

The Art of Banksy

A Banksy retrospective, featuring more than 80 of his best-known works, and exhibited in a gallery space. Does it sound like something that the British artist would ever approve? No, it doesn't – and it's not. The Art of Banksy is an entirely unauthorised exhibition, curated by the famously anonymous artist’s former manager, Steve Lazarides. 

Much Ado About Nothing Bell Shakespeare 2019
Photograph: Pierre Toussaint
Theatre, Drama

Much Ado About Nothing

icon-location-pin Sydney Opera House, Sydney

In case you missed reading it at school, Much Ado is pretty much the original romantic comedy, and features one of Shakespeare’s most-loved couples, Beatrice and Benedick, who banter and swap barbs until their friends decide to bring them together.

MCA Sculpture Terrace outdoors music
Photograph: Sam Whiteside
Music, Rock and indie

Sounds on the Terrace

icon-location-pin MCA Café and Sculpture Terrace, The Rocks

Sounds on the Terrace offers that cool Sydney sundown experience without the big spend, serving up a sparkling roster of local tunes on the rooftop of the MCA for free. The October installment will star North Shore group Bin Juice and soul, R’n’B and hip-hop four-piece Kyoshi. 

Cheese at at stall at the Flour Mill Markets Summer Hill.
Photograph: Supplied
Shopping, Markets

Flour Mill Markets

icon-location-pin Flour Mill Summer Hill, Summer Hill

There’s a new sustainable, environmentally-focused market joining the mix of Sydney’s regular shopping events. The Flour Mill Markets, which come from the fresh minds behind the Erskineville Farmers’ Market, will be dedicated to fresh produce, dairy-based goods, colourful blooms, locally crafted pottery and other fun trinkets. 

Bring fresh blooms home

Person picking flowers at Grandiflora Florists
Photograph: Anna Kucera
Shopping, Florists

The best boutique florists in Sydney

We’ve picked out our favourite florists, who put together bunches of bloomin’ marvellous buds, from dramatic and sculptural arrangements to subtle and natural bouquets.