October's biggest events
A group of First Nations artists are telling the real story of PT Barnum's circuses and freak shows as part of a new cabaret. Created by the Opera House's head of First Nations programming Rhoda Roberts, the show follows several performers who ended up in Barnum's circuses and shows like them.
The annual Antenna Documentary Film Festival highlights the most creative, insightful documentaries that have been produced in the last year. For its 9th year, Sydneysiders can get stuck into the festival’s largest ever program, with 80 films screening over 11 days of investigative cinema.
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.
Now in its 23rd year, Sculpture by the Sea is one of Sydney's key annual arts events, drawing more than 500,000 to the 2km coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama to enjoy site-specific sculptures by top artists and emerging talents from Australia and abroad.
There are few filmmakers who have had the sort of impact you can attribute to John Waters. While he's not revealing too much about this new show, the promoters are promising the sorts of showbiz tales you want, with stories about Waters' fabulous stars.
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.
Sound the bagpipes and beat the drums: the world's favourite military showcase-meets-theatrical extravaganza is coming to Sydney. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo will bring together 1,200 performers (and hundreds of kilometres of tartan, we suspect) from around the world to play in Sydney Olympic Park.
Textile artist, ceramicists, metalsmiths, jewellery makers, woodworkers, leather crafters, furniture makers, Indigenous artists and designers: they’re all coming together for the ten-day Craft Week. Expect numerous markets and unusual art and craft workshops popping up around Sydney.
Hair is one of the musicals that forever changed the face of musical theatre. When it premiered in 1967 with its authentically rocking score, anti-war message and famously controversial nude scene, it became an immediate sensation. Fifty years later, it's returning to Australia with a new production.
Los Angeles’ tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington is returning to Sydney Opera House to perform his second album Heaven and Earth for the first time in Australia. Hear Washington explore current global politics with his funk and gospel choir-soundtracked hope for the future.
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.
Ol’ Barnsey has become a bit of an institution in our nation’s classic rock history. We wouldn’t expect Jimmy Barnes to give into retirement at an early age, and the 63 year old has kept up with expectations, ready to tour his new album around the country this spring.
Pinot Palooza is marking its eighth year as Australia’s largest annual pinot noir festival, and while that may sound crazy specific, it goes hard every year because people love pinot, especially 100 pinots in one place that are open and ready for tasting.
Anchuli Felicia King is an emerging playwright with a huge year ahead: she's got a play in Melbourne Theatre Company’s mainstage season, as well as one at STC. White Pearl is set in the offices of Clearday cosmetics, a Singapore company that’s come under fire for a racist ad.
While these popular food markets aren’t exclusively dedicated to chewy, stringy, soft and chared varieties of noodles, they are devoted to serving excellent local dishes. The Night Noodle Markets will once again be serving Asian dishes from across the spicy spectrum in a hawker-style market during Good Food Month.
Sampa Tempo, who goes by the stage name Sampa the Great, has taken the world stage by storm. The Australian music scene has fallen in love with not only her passionate songs but also her empowering messages. Hear it all at the Factory Theatre this month.
Does the eerie stillness of kabuki theatre give you the willies? Then we have a free film series that's bound to be your cup of green tea. Japanese Film Festival is joining forces with the Art Gallery of NSW to present a free season of classic Japanese horror movies.
If running isn't your favourite activity, you could trick yourself into having a good time with this five kilometre beer run. Competitors will stop in at five different brew houses for an infusion of liquid courage after every kilometre.
Whether or not you know Hans Zimmer's name, you can almost certainly hum more than one of his tunes. The film composer has more than 150 films to his name including The Lion King, Gladiator, Dunkirk, Inception and Interstellar, and he'll be performing alongside a full orchestra and band on his new Australian tour.
Boutique shopping lane William Street hosts a festival each year, blocking off traffic and filling up the lane with fashion markets, food stalls and music from just before lunch and into the evening. You can expect it to go heavy on the hyper local angle.
Liveworks festival showcases local and international artists pushing the frontiers of art and performance. There are two major themes this time around: 'feminist sound', all about women and non-binary artists smashing artistic boundaries, and 'culture disruptors', who are challenging the foundation of our cultural identities.
Now that Chelsea Handler has wrapped up her Netflix talk show, the vodka-loving comedian is heading back on the road with a new stand-up set. It shares the same name as her recent best-selling book, which covers a year of self-discovery in her life.
This trio is the brainchild of three of Sydney’s most prominent singer-songwriters: Sarah Blasko, Holly Throsby and Sally Seltmann. After years of solo tours, they're back with their new album Wild Seeds, which they co-wrote and stripped back vocally to make room for bigger lyrics and harmonious melody.
This writers’ festival offers more than words on a page, with novelists, poets and literary masters performing their stories live on stage. The five-day event hosts poetry slams, discussions, panel talks and workshops led by wordsmiths from across Australia as well as international creatives.
The University of Sydney is rolling out the red carpet for the eighth edition of the Chippo Film Festival. This grassroots movie movement gives local videographers the chance to get their short films played on the big screen, and gives audiences a free first look at indie motion pictures.
With her signature simple strings and an intimate stage presence, Angie McMahon burst onto the East-Coast scene in 2017 with ‘Slow Mover’, which has recently gone gold. Catch McMahon in Sydney on her aptly named I Made an Album debut solo tour.
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.
You might know Anne Edmonds from her regular appearances on Have You Been Paying Attention? or as the hysterical Helen Bidou on ABC's Get Krackin. But since 2010, she's been a stalwart of the Australian stand-up scene, and it's on stage that you can really appreciate just how good she is.
Renounce your fast-fashion sins and stay retro with some fabulous finds from this haven for pre-loved fashion and other eclectic goodies. There’s a mix of vintage and modern clothing – it leans towards traditionally feminine attire – and accessories, as well as handmade jewellery and funky trinkets.
Even if you’ve never heard of Postmodern Jukebox, you’re sure to have a delightful time at their theatrical live show. The American group is made up of a rotating cast of singers and big band musicians who cover an enormous playlist of pop hits from the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Gotye.
More than 50 renowned local and international architects and professionals from other intersecting industries will come together for the second iteration of this architecture festival. The ten-day program will explore contemporary issues and initiatives surrounding architecture and its interplay with social, cultural and technological development.
Indie-pop princess Hatchie has recently released her debut album Keepsake following a swoon of an EP 'Sugar & Spice'. Now the Brisbanite is heading home to make us all melty once again with an intimate show at Oxford Art Factory.
The pickling and fermenting food waste warriors at Cornersmith are running a class that’s dedicated to making the most of your expired pantry and fridge items. Their Waste Hacks class is a mixture of demonstrations and hands-on activities that’ll teach you how to reduce wastage in the kitchen.
With stunning waterfront views, Waverton’s Coal Loader is a superb spot for a relaxed, sun soaked afternoon of entertainment. On October 12, the venue’s green rooftop space will again host Spring Sounds on the Platform: a free, family-friendly music and picnic sesh.
If you like to bust a move on the thumping, neon dancefloor but could would like to emerge, like a butterfly, from the sweaty underground den of nightclubs, Listen Out is for you. It’s a music festival with massive dance, R’n’B and hip-hop acts that’s happening in the fresh air of Centennial Parklands.
So, you’ve ordered your elaborate lederhosen or dirndl online, but you can’t decide where to show off your Bavarian threads this year? Consider Oktoberfest in the Gardens. The huge beer-fuelled party will once again transform the Domain into a giant beer garden inspired by Germany's own Oktoberfest.
The City Recital Hall is turning 20, and to celebrate they’re inviting Aussie music makers to get the party started. The concert is being curated by Aria Award-winning singer Megan Washington, who has has invited amazing artists like Indigenous-led electro-soul duo Electric Fields to collaborate at the concert.
Ever since ‘Mr Polite’ was released in 2011, the Jungle Giants have had us hooked. Now that their third album Quiet Ferocity has earned a place in Australian hearts and airwaves, they’re becoming increasingly well known for their danceable tracks. They’ll be getting audiences moving at Luna Park’s Big Top.