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Atmospheric Memory by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Photograph: Supplied/Olivier Groulx

Things to do in Sydney this week

Wondering what to do across Sydney? Our list will guide you in the right direction

Maya Skidmore
Written by
Maya Skidmore
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There's a lot on in Sydney right now – plus Daylight Savings is here! More daylight time for you to spend at rooftop bars, beer gardens, or doing easy day hikes in and around Sydney after work. 

If you're looking for things to do with kids, jump into our School Holidays in Sydney Guide – our top pick is Jurassic World: The Exhibition.

Volume Festival is on at the Art Gallery of NSW. Atmospheric Memory is on at the Powerhouse. 

And, this weekend, if you want to do some shopping, get over to the very special Ceramics Market at Carriageworks, get yourself to one of the best markets in Sydney, or go op shopping at these top spots.

Make this week count. 

Want more this week? How about you eat at one of the best restaurants in Sydney right now, and then get stuck into one of the most fabulous happy hours this city has to offer. 

The best things to do in Sydney

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Redfern

Think Jay Gatsby hosted the best roaring '20s parties? Not anymore. It’s time to crack open some Champagne, because this scintillating smash-hit show is back for a third encore run! The sparkling toast of the Sydney summer, Blanc de Blanc Encore has been wowing audiences since it opened in January in the totally refurbished cabaret venue the Grand Electric (on the Redfern side of Surry Hills). Clearly, Sydney can't get enough of this much-loved cabaret, circus and burlesque show. The Blanc experience serves up the top shelf of cabaret-burlesque-circus entertainment with a devilish smile and a knowing wink. This show is bubbling over with hilarious hosts, talented perfomers dressed up (and down) in dazzling couture-fashion-level costuming, interactive stunts and so-rude-it's-right jokes. It's quite an accomplishment to stage a variety production that can so seamlessly gear-change from clownish wielding of crotches to superb aerial artistry, and from phallic percussion to a soulful pop crooner – all while maintaining a fun, playfully risqué vibe.  The internationally sourced cast packs some of the most stunning talents from near and far, with numerous Cirque du Soleil alumni in the ranks. Want an idea of the calibre? The inimitable Jake DuPree (they/them) – burlesque performer, fitness instructor, lingerie model and the first non-binary person to perform at the famous Crazy Horse in Paris – recently came direct from LA to join the Blanc de Blanc Encore cast for a strictly limi

  • Things to do
  • Fairs and festivals
  • price 0 of 4
  • Pyrmont

One of the oldest traditions observed by fishing communities across the globe is the annual blessing of local fishing fleets. It's a time-honoured ritual that safeguards the fisherfolk doing the hard yards on the high-seas as they bring the ocean's bounty to our tables. Sydney Fish Market, the city's largest seafood hub, will once again be marking its annual Blessing of the Fleet with one heck of a party on Sunday, October 15 from 10am-3pm.  This year, Sydney Fish Market has expanded the Blessing into a family-friendly extravaganza taking over the entire commercial wharf that’s typically closed to the public. The well-wishing kicks off with the ceremonial parade of a statue of Madonna, the Santa Maria Di Porto Salvo – that's the Saint Mary of Safe Harbours for you non-Italian speakers – which follows a route around the market and down to the wharf. This is no solemn procession; the march is a vibrant and colourful affair, revealing a fascinating glimpse of Mediterranean culture on Australian soil. After that important business is concluded, it's time to party with an afternoon of family-friendly music and dance performances including from a marching band and Tribal Warrior's traditional Aboriginal dance group; spaghetti-eating and prawn-peeling competitions; engaging educational exhibits; and free kids’ face painting.  Of course, there will be the freshest seafood in abundance. Savour just-shucked oysters, or prawns and crab expertly cooked by the Market's award-winning retai

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  • Things to do
  • price 0 of 4
  • Sydney

Sydney’s favourite house is turning the big five-oh this October, and they’ve just announced the program for their month-long birthday extravaganza. From September 28 to October 31, there’ll be free community events, world premieres, contemporary performances, family-friendly shows and stunning public art at and around the Sydney Opera House. The festival will launch with immersive sculptures by Quandamooka artist Megan Cope, who’s using tens of thousands of kinyingarra (oyster in Jandai language) shells to create a thought-provoking public artwork that will “connect the Opera House with Land, Sky and Sea Country through a First Nations lens”. For one day only, a giant 66-metre-long bright yellow catwalk will be stretched across the full length of the Opera House Forecourt for What Is the City but the People? (Sun Oct 1, from 4pm) – setting the stage for a unique living portrait of Sydney’s diverse people, featuring everyone from stonemasons to cosplayers, to Big Issue vendors and celebrity chefs. Participants will strut their stuff against a backdrop of live music, large-scale projected text and photographs. Sounds like a great big party to us!   The Opera House will also open its doors to the public for its first open day in eight years, welcoming thousands of visitors behind-the-scenes for the Open House Weekend, which involves two big days of FREE events on October 21 and 22. Visitors will get unprecedented access to the Opera House’s seven performance spaces, including t

  • Shopping
  • Markets
  • price 0 of 4
  • Eveleigh

In big news for all Sydney market lovers, the Big Design Market is coming back to Sydney for 2023, and we’re told it’s going to be better than ever.  This iconic, three-day market is basically a refined Easter Show for design heads and ethical gift lovers (there are no show ponies, but there are artisan showbags). There will be more than 200 stallholders, epic eats, immersive experiences and art all popping off in the one place. One thing we know for sure? We don’t want to miss this. In 2023, Sydney’s Big Design Market will be going down at Carriageworks for the first time – the cavernous outdoor venue in Sydney’s inner city is set to come alive with a gigantic visual feast by artist Elaine Li, who will have handpainted a five-metre tall wooden girl, alongside a 100-metre large scale drawing, plus heaps of gigantic colourful paintings that will be suspended from the ceiling.  Kicking off on Friday, October 13 and running until Sunday, October 15, this year's market will be offering up (amongst many other wonders) handmade ceramics, homewares, clothes, jewellery and limited-edition art prints.  There's also going to be a mouth-watering array of locally made food and drink on offer, including the likes of Broomfield Pies (who use Pepe Saya butter in their pastry), dreamy Portuguese tarts by Natas and Co, Vietnamese soul food by Bar Pho, Melbourne's Billy Van Creamery natural ice-cream, and epic coffee from Melb's St Ali.  This event will be running from 11am to 8pm on Friday, O

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Sydney

From the moment it was announced that Opera Australia was bringing Cameron Mackintosh’s 2014 West End revival of Miss Saigon to Australia, there has been considerable discourse in the theatre community. The criticism was to be expected – the controversy has its own Wikipedia page – and the musical has a complicated legacy.  Set towards the end of the Vietnam war, the story follows Kim (Abigail Adriano), a recently orphaned teenager taken in by a hustling brothel-owner known only as The Engineer (Seann Miley Moore). On her first night as a sex worker her services are offered to soft-spoken American GI Chris (Nigel Huckle) as an “almost virgin”. Unexpectedly, they fall in love – but a misunderstanding leads Chris to break his promise of taking Kim to America when US forces are pulled out of the country. Kim is left in Vietnam to await Chris’s return and care for their son, whom Chris is unaware even exists. Ultimately, she gives up her child, believing that only America can give him a life worth living. This production is a visual delight offering strong performances that are sure to make these actors stars... If the story sounds familiar, it’s because it’s based on Puccini’s equally controversial 1904 opera, Madama Butterfly (which Opera Australia also recently staged on Sydney Harbour to critical acclaim). Created by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, who are predominantly known for Les Misérables, Miss Saigon debuted on the West End in 1989. With its tragic, doomed l

  • Things to do
  • price 0 of 4

You’ve probably heard of the rainbow wonders of Canberra’s Floriade, but if not, we’re here to enlighten you. This mega flower festival began in 1988 as a one-off floral tribute to mark Australia’s Bicentenary and Canberra’s 75th anniversary, but it turned out that the event was so successful that it has returned to Canberra’s leafy shores pretty much every year since.  Floriade sees over one million spring blooms planted by an expert team of landscape gardeners, contractors and volunteers. The flowers span 12,400m2 of inner-city parkland in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, and the general technicolour effect is like that scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy lands in Munchkinland – bright, overwhelming and like the saturation levels have been maxed out. Except here, it’s in real life – and in Canberra.  In 2023, Floriade will run from September 16 to October 15, and like every year, this spectacular show is about more than just flowers – it’s also a festival, and a pretty epic one at that. This year, punters can expect to wander through huge fields of rainbow blooms, meet Logie winner and Backyard Blitz host Jamie Durie IRL, and dance into the night at the very mysterious NightFest, where live music, bright light shows and an adult’s only Spiegeltent will all be popping up once the sun goes down.  Kids will also get the chance to find a hidden gnome in the flower fields, watch live productions of Peter Pan amongst the blossoms, and just generally have a lovely floral time.  En

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  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Chatswood

Embark on a cinematic odyssey with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra in their electrifying performance of revolutionary German composer, Richard Wagner’s most formidable heroes and villains. From the valiant melodies of ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ to the haunting allure of ‘The Flying Dutchman’, this is your chance to experience Wagner and his world live in concert at the Concourse from October 14-15.  Associate conductor Dr Sarah Penicka-Smith will lead Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and Willoughby Symphony Choir as they perform selections from Wagner’s captivating operas including his monumental Ring cycle, Tannhäuser and ‘Ride of the Valkyries’. The thunderous rhythms and soaring melodies will reverberate through the Concert Hall, conjuring visions of helicopters sweeping over the battlefield like in the modern war film Apocalypse Now. Guests will also be among the first to witness award-winning Chilean-born composer Daniel Rojas team up with acclaimed Korean pianist Yerim Lee to premiere a passionate four-hand piano piece, ‘Romanza y Danza de los Muertos’.  You can experience the synergy of sound at Villains and Valkyries across two performances on October 14 and 15, with tickets ranging from $15.30 to $57. Drop by an hour before the show for pre-concert talks by 2MBS Fine Music Sydney who will regale you with amusing and interesting tales related to Wagner’s music. Get your tickets to the captivating orchestral performance of Villains and Valkyries here.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Drama
  • Millers Point

Would an Earnest by any other name still be as eligible? Apparently not, according to the myopic affections of Gwendolen Fairfax (Megan Wilding) and Cecily Cardew (Melissa Kahraman), the two fickle bachelorettes with a rather specific kink for names at the heart of Oscar Wilde’s ‘trivial comedy for serious people’. And they aren’t the only puddle-deep paramours in this genteel world of afternoon tea and alter egos. Algernon Moncrieff (Charles Wu) and John Worthing (Brandon McClelland) are equally shallow in their wants, creating phony personas that allow them to save face in polite society while living it up on the side. The imperiously pompous Lady Bracknell (Helen Thomson) sums it up most succinctly: “We live, I regret to say, in an age of surfaces.” Who needs scruples, genuine or otherwise, when you look the part (and have the right name)? In James Gillray’s satirical cartoons of the early 1800s, the upper classes he so vividly lampooned literally embodied their elite excesses – gorged bellies, gaudy fashions and features warped into avian extremes. Later that same century, Wilde would unleash his own withering commentary on the gentry through the written word, but director Sarah Giles seems to have taken a leaf from Gillary’s book to amplify the wit and wisdom of Wilde’s final and most popular comedy.  This is slapstick with all the wit and subtly of Wilde’s razor-edged one liners, neither word nor action sparring for attention, but rather working together in harmony. In

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Theatre
  • Musicals
  • Haymarket

Beauty and the Beast the Musical revives Disney’s 1991 animation in a theatrical masterpiece that captures a tale as old as time, through the panorama of a multi-sensory spectacle in this two-and-a-half hour production. Before you see anything, it’s what you hear that captivates your attention. The orchestration by Danny Troob and sound design of John Shivers completely shifts the atmosphere in each scene, accentuating that gravitas of emotional range of the characters and their circumstances. The presence and influence of the music and orchestration is truly felt in the few moments of its absence. In an artform where too much music can easily become overkill, the sound design shifts seamlessly between diegetic and non-diegetic to support transitions between dialogue and musical scores.  Shubshri Kandiah, who plays Belle (and who also played princesses in Disney’s Aladdin, Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Belvoir St Theatre’s Into The Woods), has become Australia’s go-to princess, and deservedly so. Kandiah’s performance carries the youthfulness and animation of a Disney cartoon while exuding the elegance of a woman born to be royalty. While Belle’s disdain for Gaston (Jackson Head) falters in the pair’s duet, ‘Me’, this oversight is beyond compensated for in her timbre and melody throughout the rest of the performance.  Head plays the repugnant role of Gaston delightfully. His performance elicits a tug-of-war of admiration for his execution but also an unease at the

  • Art
  • Digital and interactive
  • Ultimo

What if every word ever spoken was recorded by the atmosphere? How woud that make you feel? How could the course of history change? This isn't just any other "immersive exhibition" or "sensory experience" – this is where art meets science. Created by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and curated by José Luis de Vicente, Atmospheric Memory is inspired by the writing of 19th century computer pioneer and philosopher Charles Babbage, who believed that the air surrounding us is a ‘vast library’ containing every sound, motion and word ever spoken. Works in this exhibition, which comes direct from the UK's Manchester International Festival, include a speech-recognition fountain where spoken words become clouds of text floating in mid-air (imagine a misty waterfall that you can have a chat with); a responsive room filled with over 3,000 different sound channels, including field recordings of 200 species of insects and 300 types of birds; a voice-controlled robotic light beacon, and the world's first 3D-printed speech bubble.   View this post on Instagram A post shared by Time Out Sydney (@timeoutsydney) Atmospheric Memory draws in many layers of meaning, exploring our relationship with the atmosphere on physical, and philosophical levels, whilst seamlessly inserting commentary on surveillance capitalism, climate change and other social issues. You can go as deep as you like with it, or you can just flit about enjoy the cool interactive displays. Either w

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