Amazing August What's On In Sydney

Rebecca Varidel
1st Aug 2023

Some things you may know about, and some things from the road less travelled, here's our picks for what's on in Sydney this August.

Elvis: A Musical Revolution a new bio-musical exploring the extraordinary life of award-winning cultural icon and rock ‘n’ roll superstar, Elvis Presley opens at the State Theatre Sydney to start the month! With an all-star Australian cast, dazzling choreography, and hit after hit, Elvis: A Musical Revolution celebrates the extraordinary life of award winning, cultural icon, Elvis Presley. From his childhood in Mississippi, to his triumphant ‘68 Comeback Special, and ascent to become ‘The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’, this brand-new high-energy production explores the pivotal moments in Elvis’s life and music career through the perspectives of those who knew him best.

Songs include Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog, That’s All Right, All Shook Up, Suspicious Minds, Heartbreak Hotel, Burning Love, Blue Suede Shoes, Good Rockin’ Tonight, Can’t Help Falling In Love, Earth Angel, Don’t Be Cruel, Are You Lonesome, Blue Moon of Kentucky, See See Rider, A Little Less Conversation and more.

Following an extensive nation-wide talent search with over 700 applicants, theatre and television star Rob Mallett has been selected to play the iconic role of Elvis.

Murder For Two from 4 August at Hayes Theatre, is an outrageous blend of music, mayhem, and murder. In this hilarious 90-minute show, 2 performers play 13 roles – not to mention the piano – in a witty parody of classic murder mysteries.

Winter Truffle Dinner at Sofia with guest Chef Justin North will showcase a decadent four-course truffle menu at popular Sofia restaurant above Bar Cleveland in Surry Hills on Thursday 3 August. North and Sofia Head Chef, Nathan Treleaven have come together to create a menu that will feature boutique ACT truffle producer, Pialligo Truffles, alongside a selection of paired wines from premium Australian and international producers.

The four-course menu includes: Caramelised onion, seared scallop, truffle and mascarpone puff pastry tart; Truffle, mushroom and duck confit risotto; Slow cooked short rib, truffle potato puree, roast purple carrots and Perigueux sauce, and to finish, Truffle Brillat Savarin.

The wine pairings have been selected by French sommelier, Stephane Pommier from SOMM Australia. Pommier has chosen a selection of European and Australian wines to showcase the menu and will take guests through each pairing on the night alongside North and Treleaven.

Radiance: the art of Elisabeth Cummings is a major show in the main NAS Gallery featuring more than 40 of the artist’s paintings from the past 30 years, opens 18 August. Elisabeth is without a doubt one of Australia’s most significant and respected living artists, who studied at the National Art School in the 1950s, then taught here for many years. She turned 89 earlier this month. Her incredible, glowing paintings speak for themselves, evidence of her single-minded drive over a long career to find her own distinctive visual language, coupled with her love of the Australian landscape, taste for adventure and great generosity of spirit that we are very proud to celebrate. When she won the NSW Travelling Art Scholarship in 1958 that first took her to Europe, the head of the Julian Ashton art school in Sydney wrote to the paper saying it was a waste of time giving the prize to a woman. How wrong she proved him.

Three free exhibitions at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre continue all month. 

Birds by Lisa Woolfe is an invitation to pause reality for a moment, engage with our animal senses and imagine the feeling of gentle flight and movement. Artists in Volatile Landscapes is the culmination of creative development undertaken by 30 artists across NSW throughout 2022. Working across artforms and mediums, the artists have responded to the question, ‘What does the future look like in your region?’ Paradoxes of Paradise is an exhibition curated by Creative Hybrids Lab, an international collective of artists who are also organ transplant recipients critically engaging with their lived experience of chronic illness and transplantation.

Objects testify a community-engaged program by Wiradjuri anti-disciplinary artist Joel Sherwood Spring explores the colonial legacies of Australia's built environment and its ongoing impact on First Nations communities. provokes an understanding of architecture as not just the built environment, but the digital and social technologies that propel the conditions of extraction from the mine to the materiality of social life. Sherwood Spring articulates ‘digging’ as the foremost colonial technique that makes all other colonial forms of exploitation possible, from farming and mining to settling and husbandry. Loaned objects from public and private collections, illustrate the technologies of extraction and the ideologies that propel extractive practices.

A program of closed and public conversations between First Nations community, scholars, artists, architects and designers seek to articulate the wider discourses of DIGGERMODE and consider the possibility of new forms of testimony. Participants include Nathan mudyi Sentance, Genevieve Murray, Shellie Smith, Jasmine Miikika Craciun and Lauren Booker.

Sydney’s Blak Markets are returning to its spiritual home on Bare Island at La Perouse in the historic fort overlooking Botany Bay. The island is where it all began and the one-day festival kicks off Sunday 6 August from 10am to 3pm. The lively markets are organised and run quarterly in La Perouse by First Hand Solutions Aboriginal Corporation, with a mission to close the gap for Aboriginal people. The Blak Markets is a social enterprise of First Hand Solutions that provides Indigenous artists, designers and small business owners a live marketplace to showcase their wares. This unique event allows local punters to connect directly with artists and make ethical purchases of authentic Aboriginal products.

Rally for Native Forests will be held on Saturday 12 August in Sydney by the Bob Brown Foundation as part of a national rallying cry for ending native forest logging and protecting what remains of Australia's native forests. Native forest logging in Australia is destructive. It is killing our endangered species like the koala, Greater Glider and Swift Parrot. It is destroying some of Earth's most vital carbon storehouses, reducing our ability to fight the climate crisis. It is degrading ecosystems, and wrecking soil and water. It is costing taxpayers millions to prop up loss-making industries in NSW and Tasmania.

Rachel's Farm from Madman Films is in cinemas from 3 August. Film director and actress Rachel Ward is not the first person you’d expect to join a farming revolution. In this triumphant film, Rachel voyages from wilful ignorance about the ecological impacts of conventional agriculture on her own rural property, to embracing a movement to restore the health of Australia’s farmland, food, and climate.

The Dog Lovers Festival AND the Cat Lovers Festival are landing in Sydney this August 25 + 26 at Sydney Showgrounds, and for the first time ever, the Cat and Dog Lovers Festivals will be running side by side all weekend long, making it even easier for pet lovers to indulge in some furry fun. Sydneysiders will be treated to an un-fur-gettable weekend with over 800 dogs and 200 cats side by side, making it fur-ever easier to be inspired, educated and entertained at two of the largest pet-dedicated events in the world. I thought your readers would be delighted by the news!

Deepak Chopra #1 New York Times best-selling author and spiritual teacher, will be in Sydney for one night only Friday 11 August at Darling Harbour Theatre. A world renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, Deepak is delighted to connect with Australian audiences in Melbourne and Sydney during his 2023 Awakened Life tour. The enlightened workshops will guide you to awaken new levels of awareness, cultivate vision and help recover who you really are.

Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story is the definitive account of Michael Gudinski’s rock‘n’roll life and a rare look behind the curtain of Australia’s seminal music company, the Mushroom Group and ends this month with its release at cinemas on 31 August. Famed for his eccentricities and boldness, the film dives into the psyche and unorthodox tactics of Michael as he became the frontman of a cultural movement and built a music empire whose artists created the soundtrack for a nation. Helmed by one of Australia’s most acclaimed documentary and music video directors, Paul Goldman unearths the stories from some of the world’s most influential artists and a wealth of never-before-seen archive footage spanning fifty years.

Through personal accounts from Gudinski himself and his family and many artists including Jimmy Barnes, Vika & Linda Bull, Garbage, Dave Grohl, Paul Kelly, Kylie Minogue, Mark Seymour, Ed Sheeran, Bruce Springsteen, and Sting the film showcases what made Gudinski unique and his significant impact on the Australian music scene, which reverberated across the globe.

Sydney Symphony Orchestra span the month with performances that we want to experience.

2 - 4 August Simone Young conducts Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony with Mary Finsterer's Stabat Mater. Finsterer was the composer of Antarctica opera we loved in January at Sydn

11 August Diana Doherty performs Ross Edwards' Oboe Concerto for his 80th birthday. Ross Edwards is one of our nation’s most prominent composers. His writing has drawn inspiration from Australia’s natural life and landscape to present a unique vision of place. In this special event celebrating Ross Edwards’ 80th birthday, Chief Conductor Simone Young presents a performance in light, sound and movement at the superb Concert Hall.

At month's end 31 August Jazz at Lincoln Centre playing Marsalis' All Rise - an extraordinary tour de force which combines New Orleans jazz, gospel, spirituals, African chant, symphonic modernism, ragtime, blues, folk song and Latin dances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. And more in between.

Still at the Sydney Opera House, Ensemble Offspring offer up Still Life with Avalanche in the Utzon Room playing Steve Reich's New York Counterpoint and new work by Paul Dean 26 - 28 August.

Bawdy and bloody, exuberant and irreverent, audience favourite Catherine at Avignon by contemporary Sydney playwright Paul Gilchrist returns to the stage at Meraki Arts Bar Main Stage, Friday 11 August.

Moist which is scheduled to premiere at the Sydney Fringe from 31 August takes us into a new month and audiences deep into a disco-fueled dystopia with its all-dribbling, all-squelching, high-octane spectacle. This theatrical masterpiece is a captivating blend of epic circus feats and non-stop clowning, courtesy of four absolute himbo thirst-traps that keep the audience on the edge of their seats, soaked in laughter and awe. The show has been recognized for its excellence, winning the Adelaide Fringe's 2023 weekly award for best circus and the 2022 weekly award for theatre and physical theatre.

The show will run at the iconic Spiegeltent Festival Garden, which is sure to provide an enchanting backdrop to the performances.

We Belong 5 August is colourful musical journey like no other. This one-night-only spectacular at NIDA’s Parade Theatre will bring to life 20 of the most beloved stage and film musicals of all time – from West Side Story to works by Tim Minchin. We Belong sees the full choir of eighty community members come together to present a heartfelt love letter to music.

William Barton to receive the honour of Distinguished Services to Australian Music. Presented by APRA AMCOS and the Australian Music Centre, the esteemed Richard Gill Award for Distinguished Services to Australian Music will be awarded to Kalkadunga composer and musician, William Barton, at the 2023 Art Music Awards on Tuesday 15 August at Carriageworks, Eveleigh/Gadigal land With hosts Monica Trapaga, Nardi Simpson, and Sonya Holowell, with music curation by Barney McAll.