This week in Canberra head along to a comedy festival (that’s also perfect for people passionate about wine), wander along the lakeside for a special light show or grab your dancing queens and book yourself into the Dancing Queen Dining Experience.
You can’t tell us there’s nothing to do…
Special events + festivals
Grapes of Mirth
Laughs, wine, and a damn good time—Grapes of Mirth is returning to Canberra after a four-year hiatus and it’s set to be huge.
Coming to the grounds of cool climate winery Contentious Character on Saturday 28 January, a heavyweight roster of some of Australia’s best stand-up comedians will take the stage to make you laugh, snort, and guffaw in a wildly unique outdoor comedy festival. Inviting attendees to pull up a picnic rug as local wines, beer and cider pour all day, head along to wine a little and laugh a lot.
Saturday 28 January, 2 pm – 8 pm | Contentious Character, 810 Norton Road, Wamboin | Book here.
Lights on the Lake
Did someone say Night Markets, food and drink vendors, and a laser light water show? Australia Day events in the capital will look different in 2023.
This year, for the first time in Canberra, a huge display of light and colour will be projected onto two large scale water screens, accompanied by choreographed high pressure water jets and laser lights set to music. Each 12-minute show will be played at intervals over the four nights so that it can be viewed by the whole community at Commonwealth Place on Lake Burley Griffin.
And if that’s not enough, there will also be midsummer night markets presented by the team behind both the Little Burley Markets and the Haig Park Markets.
Wednesday 25 January until Saturday 28 January | nca.gov.au
Subsdance Open Day
PSA: Fyshwick is getting its very own Burlesque venue (and it’s just one of two brand-new dance studios from Subsdance).
Opening in Phillip and Fyshwick on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January (with the official term starting Monday 30 January), the Moonlight and Sunlight Studio hubs will offer a range of classes for all abilities, ages, and interests. And for those who are interested in trying either Sunlight or Moonlight (and are worried they don’t have a coordinated bone in their body), both studios are holding open days where you can try their classes for free.
From 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday 28 January at Sunlight Studio and 10 am to 4 pm on Sunday 29 January at Moonlight Studio | 14-16 Dundas Court, Phillip, and 151-155 Gladstone Street Fyshwick | Book here.
Flazeda Open Day
Have you been waiting to get an insight into what classes at Flazeda look like? You can’t miss this. On Saturday 28 January, Flazeda is hosting free classes from 11 am until 5 pm so you can experience what makes each of thier classes unique and how they’ll maximise your learning experience, with welcoming facilities and vibrant social spaces. The free class schedule includes: Twerk/floorwork, Samba, Beginner Burlesque and more!
Why not make a day of it? There’ll be market stalls, drinks and food as well!
Saturday 28 January, 11 am – 5 pm | Unit 4/68 Emu Bank, Belconnen | flazedahub.com
Family Day: Australia Day at the Museum
On January 26 head along to the National Museum of Australia for a day of First Nations talks and activities, music performances and weaving demonstrations.
Start the day with Smoking Ceremony and Welcome to Country that will then be followed by a concert featuring Lucas Proudfoot, Wiradjuri Echoes and Dale Huddleston and the Riverbank Band.
In the afternoon, get hands-on with workshops and activities for children and families, including free entry to the Tim and Gina Fairfax Discovery Centre (FYI: bookings are essential for the Discovery Centre).
Thursday 26 January | National Museum of Australia, Lawson Crescent, Acton | nma.gov.au
Federation of Chinese Community of Canberra Inc Australia Day Concert
The Federation of Chinese Community of Canberra Inc is hosting an Australia Day Concert where they will reflect on Australia’s history, respect Australians’ contribution and celebrate the multicultural society and our bright future.
The concert will include First Nation people’s dance, traditional Chinese dance, singing, musical instruments and martial arts as well as Chinese food stalls and arts stalls.
Thursday 26 January | Gungahlin College, 23 Gozzard Street, Gungahlin | fccci.org.au
Culture Cruise boat and walking tours
Hop aboard the Culture Cruise for the ultimate multi-sensory adventure.
Explore the National Museum of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery from the water and gain a different perspective in witnessing local, national, and international artists amidst the natural and built beauty of the environment (Psst! You’ll be wined and dined as well).
Saturday 28 January | Various locations | Book here.
Capital Queers: Drag Queen Winery Tour
Are you ready for a fabulous day of wine, entertainment, and supporting a great cause? The Drag Queen Winery Tour is back with all proceeds going towards Capital Queers (who are representing Canberra at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2023 and Sydney World Pride).
Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience! Get your tickets now and let’s raise some money for Capital Queers to shine at World Pride.
Saturday 28 January | Various locations | Tickets here.
Capital Brewing Co. Hottest 100 Countdown Party
To coincide with the countdown of both the GABS Hottest 100 Craft Beers of 2022 and Triple J’s Hottest 100 tunes of 2022, Capital Brewing Co. is hosting the ultimate party.
Complete with fun games, fresh feeds from local foodies Brodburger and Fricken Chicken, and free brews every time Capital Brewing Co. lands a spot in the GABS Top 100, head along to have a froth, cast a vote, and enjoy a day and night of festivities.
Saturday 28 January, 11:30 am – 7 pm | Building 3/1 Dairy Rd, Fyshwick | capitalbrewing.co
Disrupt, persist, invent
Australia, home of the ‘fair go’. But is it really the free and fair place you’d hope for? What can we change? From noisy protest to quiet persistence, Disrupt, persist, invent explores the many ways people have achieved social change in Australia.
Pop into the National Archives of Australia to discover powerful stories of people and their actions, from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Until Monday 12 June | National Archives of Australia | naa.gov.au
Feared and Revered: Feminine Power through the Ages
Celebrating the power and diversity of female spiritual beings in cultural traditions and beliefs across the globe, this exhibition explores how goddesses, demons, witches, spirits and saints have shaped our understanding of the world.
Featuring more than 160 objects from the British Museum’s exceptional collection, this is a timely exhibition that explores and questions feminine power, authority and identity.
Until Sunday 27 August | National Museum of Australia | nma.gov.au
Food + wine
Aussie Day BBQ Buffet
Craving a traditional BBQ? Head long to The Yard at Jamison or in the Laneway at Tuggeranong January 26 for the Canberra Southern Cross Clubs modern Australian buffet and live music.
Their chefs will be preparing a great range of salads, a classic barbeque style buffet, and a selection of your all-time favourite summer desserts (including mango cheesecake and Pavlova!)
Thursday 26 January, 1 pm | Cnr Catchpole &, Bowman St, Macquarie and Cnr Pitman &, Holwell St, Greenway | Book here.
The Dancing Queen Dining Experience
Ever been raging with jealousy whilst watching Donna and the gang sing and dance on stunning Greek islands? Well, rage no more. Grab your dancing queens, because a Mamma Mia-inspired Restaurant is landing in Canberra in January.
Friday 27 until 31 March | Saint Malo, 19 London Circuit, Canberra City | Book here.
Canoes, Cool Climates Wines & Canapes
What sounds better than paddling the waters on Lake Burley Griffin as you sip local wines in custom-built canoes? Add in delicious local canapés, and sampling cool-climate wines, and you have the most compelling way to experience this magical waterway in the nation’s capital.
Saturday 28 January | Yarralumla Bay, Alexandrina Drive, Yarralumla | Book here.
Summer High Tea
Did someone say spectacular high summer high tea? Turn over a new (tea) leaf, and book yourself into the Pialligo Estate Glasshouse to admire the sweeping summertime views of 55-acre surrounds over a glass of sparkling or a seasonal garden spritz.
Then feast on savoury sandwich options and indulge your sweet tooth with an array of delicate mini-masterpieces, slather a homemade scone with cream and dig in.
Sunday 29 January | 18 Kallaroo Road, Pialligo | thepialligoestate.com.au
The Wizard’s Den
Witches and wizards of Canberra, behold! Get ready to unleash your inner magical being as you brew potions, cast spells, and drink more mead than you can shake a wand at—at this pop-up bar, you’ll concoct devilish brews for good (or evil), all under the watchful eye of their wise potions master.
Until Tuesday 31 January | Zoo Bar, London Circuit, Canberra City | Tickets here.
Cressida Campbell: Grazing by the Garden
Inspired by Cressida Campbell’s love of gardens and shared food between friends, the National Gallery is hosting Grazing by the Garden. Design your own grazing experience and choose from a selection of delicious scones with ribbon sandwiches, local grazing boards or a rustic pizza flatbread prepared daily. Espresso coffee, specialty tea or wine and beer will also be available, perfect for a light lunch in the Gallery’s dining room with scenic views of the Sculpture Garden and Lake Burley Griffin.
Until Sunday 19 February | National Gallery of Australia | nga.gov.au
Moments in the Australian bush
This exhibition explores beautiful moments experienced in the unique and special local environments of Namadgi, the Snowy Mountains, the Brindabellas, Tidbinbilla, and the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Enjoy functional art with ceramics by Amy Beggs-French, designed using a simple, elegant forms with a colour palette inspired by the natural world. She has been working as a ceramicist for the past four years, teaching as well as making for markets, restaurants and cafes.
There will also be work from Penny Deacon—an artist who paints local wildlife and landscapes in watercolours and oils.
Wednesday 25 January until Sunday 26 February | Visitor Centre Gallery, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Clunies Ross Street, Acton | parksaustralia.gov.au
Pictures of You
Have you ever tried to explain it is to be YOU? To a friend, a partner, your family, a professional – even to yourself? Now imagine having a disability; of the prejudices that come with that, and the challenges of engaging people to look beyond the disability to the whole of your personality. This is the focus of the Pictures of You exhibition, which explores a unique approach to self-portrayals of people with lived experience of physical and mental health disabilities – collaborating as equals with a professional photographer to produce a portrait honestly reflecting the whole person.
Until Sunday 5 February | Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen | belcoarts.com.au
Solastalgia: Art for the Planet
Enabling artists and viewers to reflect on their experiences of climate change and pay homage to the natural world, this is a joint exhibition by three artists whose love of the Australian environment inspires their work.
It inspires reflection on the special places and forms that shape our memories of and connections to the Australian environment.
Until Sunday 12 February | m16Artspace, 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith | m16artspace.com.au
Viewfinder: Photography from the 1970s to Now
Featuring 125 images from the last 50 years, all uniquely captured by celebrated documentary photographers, Viewfinder is an exhibition that provides a fascinating glimpse into the changing face of Australia.
Walk through the exhibition and you’ll see the faces and stories of migrants, shearers, dancers, miners, gardeners, surfers, and bronzed bodies at the beach—but it also reveals how much photography has evolved over the years, from black and white captures to the vibrant high-definition images of today.
This is a reflective exhibition that can be enjoyed by all ages. Read more here.
Until Sunday 30 April | National Library of Australia | nla.gov.au
A ballot box designed to be carried 500km on the back of a camel. A ball gown hand-sewn to celebrate the peaceful achievement of Federation. A boomerang-shaped petition calling for constitutional recognition in 2013. These objects speak to what makes Australia’s democracy so, well… Australian.
Blueprint at the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) is a new exhibition that shares the blueprint upon which our distinctive democracy has been built. Head along today!
Running until late 2023 | 18 King George Terrace, Parkes | moadoph.gov.au
Belonging: Stories from Far North Queensland
The first in a three-part series, this exhibition captures generations of cultural knowledge shaped by the diverse First Nations peoples who live there and their connection to Country. Enjoy the established and emerging artists from across Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait as they explore art using new materials and techniques as they share what it means to belong.
Until Sunday 12 February | National Museum of Australia | nma.gov.au
From her molasses-rich colour palette to her ability to re-imagine kitchen scraps with the deceptive ease of a film dissolve, it’s easy to get lost within Cressida Campbell’s world.
Her latest exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia is intimately soaked in her identity, the beautiful details of painted wood blocks and a ‘hard to pinpoint’ temporal energy that will disarm and transport audiences along the way. Featuring more than 140 works of art from the renowned artist, including new acquisitions and key works from private and public collections it will offer new insights into her life and work, featuring research and writing from a range of curators, artists, poets and other voices.
Until Saturday 19 February | The National Gallery of Australia | nga.gov.au
ACelebrating the female torchbearers who have played a pivotal role in shaping Australian society, who rallied against limitations, forging new paths, and changing policy, laws, and opinions, Changemakers will focus on 54 Australian women and shine a light on how the politicians, artists, activists, and sportswomen have shifted the national conversation and changed the future.
From Ash Barty and Chanel Contos to Rosie Batty, Barbara Cummings, and Louisa Lawsone, Changemakers will give a voice to the women via a series of images, objects, and videos while leading visitors through themes of equality, financial independence, birth and care roles, the challenges of gender and race, and more.
Now showing | 18 King George Terrace, Parkes | moadoph.gov.au
Gershwin and more: Simon Tedeschi and George Washingmachine in concert
Head along to enjoy extraordinary concert pianist, Simon Tedeschi. With a long-harboured love of jazz, and three celebrated albums of Gershwin’s music to his name, Tedeschi will be teaming up with jazz vocalist and violinist, Georgie Washingmachine, to perform Gershwin favourites and classic jazz standards by Cole Porter, Oscar Peterson, Fats Waller and more. Light refreshments are also included in the ticket price!
Friday 27 January, 6 pm-8 pm | Wesley Uniting Church 22 National Circuit, Forrest | Book here.
He has been described as ‘the finest guitar player of this generation’ ‘a leading light in acoustic music’ and ‘a performer that must be seen to be believed’. Now, Daniel Champagne is coming to Canberra. And with a reputation for dropping jaws, making crowds buzz, and breaking guitars wherever he goes, you can expect one amazing show.
Friday 27 January | The Street Theatre, 15 Childers St, Canberra City | Book here.
Commbank Women’s T20I Series: Australia vs Pakistan
Watch as Australia takes on Pakistan at Manuka Oval in the final match of the international summer! The competition is set to sizzle in the countdown to the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. See you there?
Sunday 29 January | Manuka Oval, Manuka Cir, Griffith | cricket.com.au
Workshops, webinars + more
The Tipsy Sketching Club
Love to draw (or just love wine)? Tipsy Sketching Club for an evening of sipping, snacking and sketching with a little fun and frivolity thrown into the mix.
The life drawing session runs for approximately two-hours with a range of timed poses from 2-30 minutes, and breaks for drinks, food, sharing and laughing. Drawing materials can be supplied. Set in one of Canberra’s favourite neighbourhood bars, all mediums and artistic abilities welcome.
Tuesday 24 January | Wakefield’s Bar & Wine, 1 Wakefield Gardens, Ainslie | Book here.