Arts / What’s on and where in Canberra this weekend?

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‘DRUMtacular’, 2016.
GARY France and the Groove Warehouse presents pop, rock, Caribbean, world and jazz grooves in “Celebration DRUMtacular”, its third annual holiday concert. At The Street Theatre, 6.30pm, Saturday, December 16. Bookings to or 6247 1223. Suitable for the whole family.


“PLAYUP” is the exhibition space in Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House for children and families based around the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child. The new and third PlayUP includes lots of hands-on activities such as listening pods, a fuzzy felt wall, a voting interactive and a role play “Kindness” café.

THE Paperbark Treehouse, made from recycled timber and designed and built by Cave Urban, has been launched by the Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens and is now open to the public.

LANYON  Homestead will throw open its doors for its Christmas Carols and Picnic, presented in association with Sing Australia Choir and the Tuggeranong Valley Band. Lanyon Homestead, Tharwa Drive, Tharwa, from 5pm–9pm (Carols commence at 7pm), this Saturday, December 16 Cost is $10 per car, bookings are not required but come early and bring a picnic.


AUTHOR Angela Moyle has just self-published her third Canberra-themed book for children. Her first book in 2013 was about a wombat digging into Parliament House, her second about a tourist-loving echidna. The new one tells of a kangaroo who helps out on Anzac Day. She hopes to get local kids to her book launch at the Belconnen Arts Centre, from 2pm-3pm, Sunday, December 16. All welcome.

LOCAL author Maura Pierlot will be reading her new picture book, “The Trouble in Tune Town”, at the Canberra City Walk Markets (Petrie Plaza) at 12pm on Saturday, December 16. If people wish to purchase the book, Pierlot is happy to sign it and to also send the e-book at no additional cost.


Workshops and classes:

THE Alliance Française de Canberra at 66 McCaughey Street, Turner offers language and culture courses all through the year. Information about courses to

MUSIC for Canberra has opened enrolments for Term 1, 2018. To trial a new class or audition for the James McCusker Orchestra and Canberra Youth Orchestra visit

CIT Adult Short courses are held every first weekend of the month all year round at Canberra Glassworks. Costs apply. To find out more email

GARY France’s Groove Warehouse in Hume is expanding its percussion business and now offers daytime adult classes and keyboard lessons at 5/1 Sawmill Circuit, Hume. Information and enrolments to

CLASSES are filling up for the popular Young Music Society’s Summer Music School coming up in January. “An exciting summer music adventure” is how livewire director of the YMS, composer Stephen Leek, describes it. There are separate programs for juniors, primary school ages and seniors, with the choral stream and advanced program for specialists. At Canberra Girls Grammar School, January 8–19. Registrations to

Subscriptions for 2018:

John Bell and Simon Tedeschi in the 24th Canberra International Music Festival. photo by L Spirovski.
TICKETS are now on sale for the 24th Canberra International Music Festival, running from April 27 to May 6. There’ll be 23 ticketed concerts, intimate conversations with festival artists, musical talks and free events. Bookings and full program at

FOUR Winds 2018 Easter Festival, Barragga Bay, March 28 to April 1. Bookings to or 6493 3414.

SUBSCRIPTION bookings for The Canberra Theatre Centre’s “Collected Works 2018” are now open at

THE annual subscription theatre program for The Q, Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, is now open. Bookings at

CANBERRA Repertory has now launched its 86th season, billed as “a season with something for everyone”. Bookings to


Arts Business:

Art Not Apart 2017. Photo by Martin Ollman.
THE “Art, Not Apart” festival will return on March 17 with performances, exhibitions, installations, film, projection an parties held around NewActon, The Shine Dome, the National Film and Sound Archive and the Alinga Street Footbridge. The 2018 theme is “Climax” submissions to close at midnight on January 10.

“SHORT+Sweet Theatre 2018” is in planning now and playwrights have until January 15 to submit scripts for 10-minute plays to festival director, Trevar Alan Chilver at

THE Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council will be trialling a new concept in The Q Exhibition Space in early 2018. “Quirk” will, as well as functioning as an exhibition space, be a shopfront to support and promote regional creatives, with a selection of souvenirs and gourmet goodies. Council’s cultural staff are currently compiling a list of local producers, artists and craftspeople who may be interested in becoming suppliers. Inquiries to with “Quirk” in the heading.

ALSO, The Q would like to invite artists and creators to help celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre in February through to March by submitting a work with the theme of “ten”, “celebration”, “party”, “anniversary” and “birthday” to with “Ten” in the heading.

THE Young Music Society is holding a “MUSIC Amnesty”. Any items readers can identify that belong to the YMS would be gratefully welcomed back by their rightful owners – no questions asked. Phone 6251 8017 for pick up, or just drop items into the YMS office, or the Belconnen Arts Centre front desk.

Bookings for Canberra NatureArt Lab in 2018 are now open.
JULIA Landford’s new Canberra NatureArt Lab at M16 Artspace, in Griffith is proving very popular. Bookings for 2018 are now open through the website

PRIZE-winning botanical artist, Sharon Field, has set up a blog which considers ideas of “beauty” and “creativity” in botanical art and summarises what is coming up for her on the art scene. Visit or follow her on Instagram at @sharon_field_artist

AINSLIE and Gorman Arts Centres offers supported office accommodation for artists, creatives, as well as arts organisations and music-based organisations and individuals. Inquiries to


AUSTRALIAN and New Zealand art music composers have the chance to share in about $100,000 worth of funding to create a new commissioned work thanks to the APRA AMCOS Art Music Fund, now in its third year of existence. Applications are now open here and will close in February 2018.

ENTRIES have now opened for the 2018 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award. Canberra artist Andy Snelgar is exhibited this year and a Canberran, Jenni Kemarre Martiniello, is a former winner. The Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (MAGNT), with the support of Telstra, delivers this unique annual event that showcases the best in Indigenous art from across the country. Entries are open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists over the age of 18 until March 16 at

THE Collie Art Prize, the $50,000 biggest single acquisitive art prize in regional WA and perhaps across Australia, focusses on the theme of identity, and is now open to all Australians until January 12,

THE Matt Withers Australian Music Composition Competition is on again, with the first prize doubling to $2000 and total cash prizes of over $3000, also there’s recording and performance opportunities too. Entries close COB, April 20, 2018 to


David Gulpilil in ‘The Tracker’
DIRECTOR Rolf De Heer will introduce this screening of his 2002 film “The Tracker” and will participate in a Q&A session after the screening. The colonial-era drama stars award-winning actor David Gulpilil. At Arc cinema, National Film and Sound Archive, Acton, 6pm, Friday, December 15. Bookings to

IMB Bank Sunset Cinema is back again on the Northern Eucalypt Lawn, Australian National Botanic Gardens, now running until December 23. Bookings to

THE National Film and Sound Archive of Australia has “Strictly Ballroom: Behind the Curtain”, a new online exhibition to celebrate 25 years since the release of Baz Luhrmann’s debut film in August 1992. Visit

Concerts and Gigs:

ADHOC Baroque will be joined by strings and wind instruments as well as a ladies-only chorus for the “Venetian Christmas Extravaganza”, with the highlight, a reconstructed original version of Vivaldi’s Gloria and “Nulla in Mundo Pax Sincera”. At St Paul’s, Manuka, 3pm, Sunday, December 17. Bookings to

THE Llewellyn Choir is finishing up the year with “a Christmas treat”, the oratorio “L’Enfance du Christ” by Berlioz, a dramatic telling of the story of Herod’s persecution of a newborn “king” and the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt, sung in English. Soloists will be Rebecca Collins, Michael Martin, Rohan Thatcher, Andrew Fysh and Michael Wilson. At Wesley Uniting Church, 6pm, Saturday, December 16. Bookings to

Free tickets are now available for the NSW Government’s two Seniors Christmas Concerts. The Christmas concerts travel to different NSW locations each year, this year to The Q, Queanbeyan, where it will run a 10.30am and 2pm concert on Thursday, December 21. Up to four tickets are available per person for seniors, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people and people with a lifelong disability, with their carer or companion. Bookings at The Q box office on 6285 6290. No online bookings.

THE Luminescence Chamber Singers and Children’s Choir is presenting “Stille Nacht”, in which music from composers like Byrd and Britten will be juxtaposed with contemporary carols by Australian composers such as Ben Van Tienen, Brett Dean and the world premiere of a new work by Meta Cohen. All Saints Anglican Church, Ainslie, 7.30pm, Friday, December 15. Bookings to


QL2 Dance presents “On Course”, an evening of new short contemporary dance works by students from universities around Australia, at Gorman Arts Centre in Canberra. QL2 Theatre, Gorman Arts Centre, 55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon, 6pm, December 16 and 17. Bookings to or at the door, 30 minutes before each show until sold out.

‘Nutcracker’ film
EVENT & Village Cinemas will screen “The Nutcracker”, as part of the “Royal Opera House 2017/18 Live Cinema Season”. Filmed live at Royal Opera House in London, Peter Wright’s production, danced to Tchaikovsky’s memorable score, will be at the Capitol Theatre in Manuka on December 16, 17 and 20. Bookings to


“MAMMA Mia!”, the musical, inspired by ABBA’s classic songs, has seen over 60 million people all around the world pack in for the show. Tickets are now on sale for a new Aussie production that will premiere at the Canberra Theatre, to December 19. Bookings to or 6275 2700.

THE cabaret spectacular “Infamous, The Spiegeltent Big Top” is at the big top in Majura Road, until December 17. Bookings to

HONEST Puck theatre’s James Scott directs “It’s a Wonderful Life”, as a live radio play. Sensitive resident of small-town America, George Bailey, considers ending his life on Christmas Eve. But an angel intervenes. CADA Studios, 1/9 Lithgow Street, Fyshwick, 7.30pm, December 14-16, 5pm, December 17, 7.30pm, December 21-23, and 2pm, December 23. Bookings to

JOLLY jesters and lusty wenches and mad minstrels are coming to town again for Dirty Dick’s Theatre Restaurant. At Harmonie German Club, Jerrabomberra Avenue, Narrabundah, December 15 and 16. Bookings to 6295 9853 or

DEBORA di Centa will be staging her personal project, “ISEMS Projects”, a self-portrait of the dance artist through her solos and choreographic works. She will be joined by dancers from Dance Development Centre, members of the GOLD Company, CI.LAB Group and Matthew Lustri. At Belconnen Arts Centre, 5pm, this Sunday, December 17. Bookings to


College Express artworks.
YOUNG artists in Years 11 and 12 from colleges in the north Canberra region explore the world around them through photography, painting, drawing, ceramics, textiles and new media in “College Express 9”, sponsored by Ray White Belconnen, at Belconnen Arts Centre, until January 28. 

NANCY Sever Gallery has now moved from Kingston to the former Currong Theatre in Gorman Arts Centre and has reopened with “Michael Taylor: New Paintings”, at Gorman Arts Centre, corner of Batman and Currong Streets, Braddon, until December 17.

IN the exhibition “Unfinished Business”, artist Belinda Mason reveals the stories of 30 people with disability from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through 3D photography. The show was originally launched in Geneva by the director-general of the United Nations and was a part of Australia’s official contribution to the United Nations 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Persons in New York. At Tuggeranong Arts Centre, until January 20.

QUEANBEYAN Art Society has secured a deal allowing one of its artists to have art “splashed” on a Canberra Milk bottle from December. The “Splash of Milk Art Award” exhibition continues until Christmas at the society’s gallery under the Queanbeyan Bridge.

WODEN artist Angela Parragi is the winner of the $2000 Cliftons Art Prize for the ACT, for her oil painting of legendary Canberra composer and scholar Larry Sitsky. “Larry Sitsky, composing” is on display now with other artworks, at Cliftons, Level 2, 10 Moore Street, Canberra until December 15. All welcome.

‘Posy’ vases by Nicole Ayliffe at Beaver Galleries.
BEAVER Galleries have invited Annette Blair, Joungmee Do, Sara Freeman, Shannon Garson, Holly Grace, Rona Green, Daehoon Kang, Ben Landau & Lucile Sciallano, Hayley Lander, Dai Li, Nikki Main, Meg Morton, Ruth Oliphant, Jenny Orchard, Isobel Rayson, Nick Stranks, Wendy Teakel, Sarah Tomasetti, Graeme Townsend, Wayne Viney and Max Lawrence White to contribute small works to its pre-Christmas exhibition. The gallery shop is also offering high quality porcelain, textiles, jewellery and art suitable for Christmas gifts. 81 Denison Street, Deakin, Tuesday to Friday, 10am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm until December 24. Closed from December 25 to January 16.

“THE Selfie Factory” by Ralph Kenke and Elmar Trefz,  winner of the 2017 Digital Portraiture Award at the National Portrait Gallery, will be available for public interaction using the hashtag #selfiefactory along with all the front-runners, until February 18. Interaction times are between 10am-11am, 1.30pm-2pm and 3.30pm-4pm daily. All of the finalists’ works can be viewed at

WATSON Art Centre’s gallery shop features the Canberra Potters’ Christmas Fair, with crafted products, from contemporary jewellery through to glass, ceramics, wood and textiles – all created by Australian artists. They also have a print room full of affordable works on paper and the annual “Small Works” exhibition offers more options. They will gift wrap and are open Aspinall Street, Watson, from 10am-4pm, Thursday to Sunday until 5pm on Christmas Eve.

THE National Museum of Australia is showing artworks inspired by plants of north-east Arnhem Land by Yol?u elder Mulku? Wirrpanda and landscape painter John Wolseley, in the exhibition “Midawarr Harvest”, until February 18. Free entry, but donations welcome.

AS part of the program for the “Suomi Finland” 100 centenary of independence, the Finnish Embassy is exhibiting paintings created by Australian contemporary artist Steve Salo, photographer Päivi Arvonen and arts worker Daniel Soma. At 12 Darwin Avenue, Yarralumla, Monday to Thursday, 9.30am–12.30pm, Fridays, 1pm–5pm, Saturdays 9.30am–12.30pm, and Sundays 1pm–2.30pm, November 28 to January 31. All welcome. All details of the ‘Finland 100’ program are viewable at

Photograph by Michael Masters.
PHOTOGRAPHERS Susan Henderson, Michael Masters, Mark Mohell and Belinda Pratten are all exhibiting work now at The Photography Room, in the Old Bus Depot, 21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston Foreshore, Sundays 10am-4pm and by appointment. Details at

THE Australian War Memorial has as a permanent exhibition “The Holocaust: witnesses and survivors”, which includes over 85 collection items.

SECOND World War veterans —6500 of them—are showcased in a unique photography installation at the Australian War Memorial, “Reflections – honouring our WWII veterans”. The images will be archived and made accessible to the public as part of the Memorial’s online collection.

A LARGE painting by artists from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in South Australia has gone on permanent display in the Australian War Memorial. “Kulatangku angakanyini manta munu Tjukurpa” [Country and Culture will be protected by spears] is in in the orientation gallery, directly opposite the Gallipoli landing boat that took men of the 13th Battalion ashore on April 25, 1915.

CANBERRA Spinners and Weavers have their 50th anniversary show, “Crossing Threads”, curated by Meredith Hinchliffe, at Canberra Museum and Gallery, Corner of London Circuit and Civic Square, to March 18, 2018.

Work by Steven Mark Holland.
THE M16 Artspace 2017 Drawing Prize is at 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith, to December 18. Also on show is “Portrait and Life: the 2017 Canberra Art Workshop Members’ Exhibition” and in Chutespace, Steven Mark Holland ink on Arches paper work, “Heart”.

“RING Master”, an exhibition exploring the notion and designs of the humble (and not so humble) ring, features rings by Helen Britton, Julia deVille, Johannes Kuhnen, Helen Aitken-Kuhnen, Carlier Makigawa, Godwin Baum, Julie Blyfield, Melissa Cameron, Cinnamon Lee, Chris Robertson, Sean O’Connell, Jane Bowden, Bin Dixon-Ward, Philip Noakes, Vincent Pontillo-Verrastro, Mikki Trail, Sam Mertens and Mio Kuhnen (and more). At Bilk Gallery, Palmerston Lane Manuka, to December 24, “White Christmas”, its annual festive season exhibition.

“FINDERS Keepers: Collectors and their Stories MoAD at Old Parliament House runs from 9am-5pm, daily, until the middle of 2018. Entry is free after museum admission.

WHEN Sydney artist Jaimee Paul lost her father earlier this year she chose to channel her heartache into something positive. She has created a body of watercolour paintings and drawings for a solo exhibition, “All that you’ve become,” open at Suki & Hugh Gallery, 38A Gibraltar Street, Bungendore until December 17.

THE multi-media exhibition “In/decision”, by Clare Solomon, addresses the paradox that society is obsessed with choice but is also paralysed by it. Solomon’s amusing and interactive artworks playfully use familiar games and objects such as a lucky dip, dice and a Lazy-Susan, arranged with beautifully hand-crafted items. It’s her first solo exhibition and is part of the ANU’s Emerging Artist Support Scheme. At ANCA Gallery, 1 Rosevear Place, Dickson until December 17.

EXHIBITIONS by four women artists are presented together as “Women in Design” and are on display at Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, until Saturday, December 16.

Alison Jackson, Cheeseknifet set. Photo by Nerio Communications
CRAFT ACT: Craft + Design Centre, basking in the success of its venture ‘”Design Canberra”, is winding up the year by offering locally-designed Christmas gifts in its shopfront in the North Building, Civic Square. Local artists such as Alison Jackson, F!NK, Girl Nomad Ceramics and Fi Glover have work for sale in this carefully curated selection.

“STUDIO 17? is Strathnairn Arts’ second biennial exhibition showcasing works by current studio holders, GW Bot, Catherine Drinan, Shaun Hayes, Jo Hollier, Cary James, Joan James, Blaide Lallemand, Trenna Langdon, Ilona Lasmanis, Peter Latona, Vivien Lightfoot, Leo Loomans, Michael Sainsbury, Heidi Strachan, Nancy Tingey, Kensuke Todo, Tracey Murphy and Berendina De Ruiter. The show is curated by Peter Haynes. At Strathnairn Woolshed, 90 Stockdill Drive, Holt, until December 17.

BELCONNEN Community Gallery’s “Piece of Mind” series presents “Bits n Pieces”, a mixed media exhibition in celebration of International Day for People with a Disability. Some art groups have been working on personal visual stories, some have been drawing and painting, others have been making cardboard cars and trucks. At Gallery@bcs, Swanson Court, Belconnen until December 15.

“SONGLINES: Tracking the Seven Sisters”, the story in arts of the women of Central Australia, at the National Museum of Australia, to February 25, 2018.

GROUND-BREAKING Australian audio-video artist Angelica Mesiti has launched an exhibition of five major works, including the National Gallery of Australia’s most recent acquisition, “The Calling”, at the NGA until March 2018.

THE ANU Drill Hall Gallery’s show, “Liz Coats – Active Seeing”, coincides with celebrations for the ANU School of Art’s 40-year anniversary. As a former doctoral student (2009-2012) and vice-chancellor’s “College Artist Fellow” (2015) this major survey of Liz’s artwork will feed into these celebrations. The exhibition runs at the DHG, Kingsley Street, Acton, until December 17.

“EIRENE Mort: A Livelihood” marks the 40th anniversary of Eirene Mort’s death at the age of 98. Mort was a prolific artist, collaborator, teacher, writer, family historian and a ‘new woman’ pursuing a profession in the arts at the beginning of the 20th Century. Curated by Dale Middleby, this social history exhibition features an extraordinary array of artworks and artefacts created by her. Canberra Museum and Gallery, until February 25, 2018.

Behind the Lines, ‘Three Ring Circus’.
“BEHIND the Lines”, with the theme this year “Three Ring Circus”, is showing the best political cartoons of 2017 and Political Cartoonist of the Year – is at the Museum of Australian Democracy in Old Parliament House, until further notice.

THE NGA’s summer exhibition “Hyper Real” consists of 50 works in sculpture and video art by 32 artists, varying from the huge “Pregnant woman” by Ron Mueck to Patricia Piccininni’s fragile hybrid babies. National Gallery of Australia, to February 18, 2018. Bookings to or 132 849.

THE NPG’s big summer exhibition, “Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits”, is for people who love film and portraits, at the National Portrait Gallery until March 4, 2018. Bookings to

MEREDITH Hinchliffe has curated an online exhibition of work by tapestry exponent Belinda Ramson, who died in 2014. This exhibition was mounted at the American Tapestry Alliance, visit

MEGALO Print Studio + Gallery has its final exhibition for the year running until December 16, before closing over the festive break until January 23. 21 Wentworth Ave, Kingston, Tuesday – Saturday 9.30am-5pm.

“A CHANGE Is Gonna Come” is an exhibition focusing on the 1967 Aboriginal Referendum and the 1992 MABO land rights decision by the High Court. At the National Museum of Australia, until January 30, 2018.

THE exhibition “Boundless Volumes,” new artworks made from excess leather bound volumes of parliamentary proceedings by Michael Eather, Simryn Gill, Katherine Hattam, Pam Langdon, Archie Moore, Elvis Richardson, Kylie Stillman, Imants Tillers and Hossein Valamanesh. Presiding Officers’ Exhibition Area (level 1) at Parliament House. Free to the public and open until February 11.

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Helen Musa
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