Sydney July 2023 Highlights

Rebecca Varidel
1st Jul 2023

National NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia in the first week of July each year (Sunday to Sunday), to celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The 2023 National NAIDOC Week theme is For Our Elders. Across every generation, our Elders have played, and continue to play, an important role and hold a prominent place in communities and families.

Marilyn Monroe: The Woman Behind the Icon opens 1 July at Sydney Town Hall. The gallery will be the first Marilyn Monroe exhibition in Australia and will feature the largest collection of its kind - over 200 single pieces of personal artifacts. It will also be the only public opening of this form and variety depicting her life, career, and cultural significance.

Through iconic stories, moments and memorabilia Marilyn: The Woman Behind The Icon celebrates the personal life of Marilyn Monroe from a difficult childhood to an international career defined by fame, fortune, and an untimely death. The exhibition is designed to peel back the layers of mystery behind the iconic phenomenon, offering rare insights in her private world and the opportunity to discover the independent and hard-working woman behind it all. Visitors will have the opportunity to see Marilyn’s handwritten notes, personal letters, and treasured possessions, including well-known movie props, memorabilia and clothing.

Ephemera Trio's Meteor Orbit performs at Riverside Theatres Parramatta on Sunday 23 July at 4pm. Coinciding with the Perseid Meteor Shower, an event that occurs once a year in July, Meteor Orbit is a musical exploration of celestial landscapes, merging the sound worlds of jazz and contemporary classical, set to real space sounds and projections, to create a truly unique experience.

The ensemble is led by Keyna Wilkins (compositions/piano/flute) with Elsen Price (double bass/loop pedal) and Will Gilbert (trumpet) and includes freely improvised pieces. NASA recordings of electromagnetic waves from planets and stars is the backdrop soundtrack and has been compiled by astronomer Professor Paul Francis, who will be hosting a post-show Q&A, with projections of space probe footage.

Miss Peony 牡丹小姐 is a comedy of beauty pageants, unrealistic expectatoins and the business of family, at Belvoir St Theatre (Upstairs) from 1 July. Lily’s grandmother was a beauty queen back in Hong Kong. She doesn’t care that times have changed, that Lily lives in a new country and a new century. She sees a granddaughter caught between worlds. So Poh Poh pushes Lily into entering the highly competitive Miss Peony, and no matter how hard Lily tries to wriggle out of it, her grandma won’t take no for an answer. And to make matters worse, she’s a ghost.

Fireball Whisky x Bar Luca are linking up for a month of mayhem with their limited-edition Blame Fireball menu! Fireball Whisky is renowned for its mind-blowing food collaborations, and this time they've taken it to the next level with Sydney's OG burger lords, Bar Luca. Double-doused with fiery flavours and Fireball's famous cinnamon-whisky punch, the Blame Fireball menu is set to get mouths watering!

Bastille Festival Thursday 13 July to Sunday 16 July 2023 is an unforgettable celebration of all things French, from mouthwatering food to wine tastings, masterclasses, and cool activities. This year's festival promises an exhilarating experience for all.

A new addition to the festival footprint the trendy Quay Quarter Lanes, situated between Loftus and Young Street, will be transformed into an artist lane. Meet the artists, discover artisan creations, from pottery to knitting and caricaturists, and be transported to the streets of Paris. Bouillon L'Entrecote is bringing an exciting pop-up Bistro terrace inspired by Parisian Steak Frites with its Parisian salad and the famous all-you-can-eat fries. With French waiters and authentic French food, do what Parisians enjoy doing the most: eating and people watching! At night, Loftus Lane will be transformed into a free silent disco party, where every night you can walk in, grab a headset, and dance, chill, and have fun the French way in partnership with Silent Sounds.

East Circular Quay Village delivers in style a pop-up Champagne bar with oysters, prawns, lobster & the French Jazz club.

The Raclette Igloo experience is finally coming to Sydney, and not just anywhere, as the French dining experience will be happening on level 4 of the Overseas Passenger Terminal with astonishing views of the Opera House. On the menu of this experience, there will be an igloo for up to 8 people, and an intimate private dining experience where you can eat your cheese the French way, with 1.8kg of Raclette cheese, mulled wine on arrival, delicious cured meats, pickles, and a French waiter to look after you and your friends. For dessert, a thick hot chocolate with roasted marshmallows will be served. Booking is essential, and it is priced at $99 per person.

Le Mulled Wine Cinema at Cadmans Cottage The Rocks will be showing French-inspired movies. Mulled wine, a blanket, and this year, Raclette will be on offer at the cinema - overall, it's the best combination to stay warm this winter.

With over 100 performances in just 4 days the festival promises to be vibrant! To celebrate the French joie de vivre, bands, dancers, and performers will join the celebration. On Thursday night, a free French cabaret show from Les Femmes Diamant on the main stage at First Fleet Steps will open the festival. Then, expect dance classes, DJ parties, and much more to keep you on your feet.

Flamenco dance artist Pepa Molina's Perceptions at Riverside Theatres Parramatta from 20 July explores the intricacies, superstitions, and clichés of Flamenco’s past and present. The western Sydney flamenco dancer is bringing out two artists from Spain for the show - Super famous award-winning Flamenco dancer Jesús Fernández (Cádiz) who is bare chested in pic below and top Flamenco singer David Vazquez (Madrid). This is Molina’s second Dance Bites production, following Bush Bailando premiered by FORM Dance Projects in 2016 to rave reviews and earned Molina the 2016 Dance Australia Critics’ Choice for Most Interesting Artist.

“A contemporary revolution is taking place in the art form of Flamenco” says Molina. As a choreographer I have a need to experiment and create cross-cultural work, to challenge the established & question the rigidity that lies in the traditional Flamenco form, which I both love, treasure & respect.”

Rebecca Zlotowski’s new romantic drama Other People's Children is in NSW cinemas from Thursday 6 July. An official selecion for the Venice, Toronto and Sundance Film Festivals, the film follows a 40-year-old Parisian high school teacher (the radiant Virginie Efira) whose outlook on life is upended when she starts a passionate relationship with a single father-of-one (The Innocent's Roschdy Zem). Though stories of parenthood and conception are familiar in everyday life, they have rarely been so thoughtfully depicted on screen. Revolving around questions of belonging, connection and emotional risk, Other People's Children explores not only one woman’s search for fulfillment, it also gets to the heart of what constitutes a rewarding and meaningful life.

An exclusive showing of the powerful documentary Eyes of the Orangutan from award-winning environmental photojournalist Aaron Gekoski will be followed by a Q&A with key local and international figures from the eminent animal welfare organisation, Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation, at Dendy Cinema Newtown for one night only 5 July. All proceeds will go to Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation.

The Tap Pack conjures up a modern twist to the crooners and artists from the ‘50s through to the noughties! Featuring songs from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr to Ed Sheeran, Michael Bublé and Beyoncé the show mixes slick humour, high-energy entertainment and world-class tap dance. It’s a show of pure entertainment inspired by the legendary kings of swing, the Rat Pack, and freshly created for the audience today. Hear cool classics with a fresh new twist, including all your favourites such as The Lady Is a Tramp, Come Fly with Me, One For My Baby, Me And My Shadow and much more From 19 July in The Studio, Sydney Opera House.

The Spooky Men are coming your way. And their latest, biggest adventure is a current 11-city national tour which hits Sydney 22 July at the Seymour Centre. As thunderous as a herd of wildebeest, as sly as a wagonload of Spike Milligans and as sonorous as a cloister of monks, the Spooky Men’s Chorale are the gift that keeps on giving.

It’s a Wonderful Life the much-loved Hollywood classic (#1 on the American Film Institute’s list of most inspirational films) tells a story that is as fresh and entertaining as it was in 1946 and with its themes of financial insecurity, high unemployment and the lack of affordable housing, it also speaks to our world today. Cleverly presented by director Nicholas Papademetriou, and the Joining The Dots team from Babette’s Feast - George Bailey has given up his dreams for the good of his home town. Struggling to deal with life’s knockbacks, an event happens on Christmas Eve that topples his world into darkness. When an unexpected visitor appears, George goes on a journey that will change his life forever.

Indie theatre outfit Virginia Plain Theatre will present a long overdue revival of Philip Ridley’s chocolate-coated post-apocalyptic fairy tale, The Pitchfork Disney at Meraki Arts Bar from 20 July to 5 August. The Pitchfork Disney is directed by Victor Kalka (Chef, Radiant Vermin) and stars indie theatre mainstays Jane Angharad and James Smithers (Albion, Gundog) as orphaned twins Presley and Haley.

For a decade, Presley and Haley have lived alone in their dead parents' apartment subsisting solely on chocolate and sleeping pills. They weave stories about the world outside: a wasteland plagued by packs of wild dogs and stalked by a masked killer. One night the arrival of a mysterious stranger turns their lives upside down: the boundaries between reality and fantasy begin to blur, compelling the siblings to confront their deepest fears and uncover the truth of what happened to their parents.

The People’s House: Sydney Opera House at 50 exhibition at The Museum of Sydney celebrates five decades of extraordinary performances and unforgettable moments at the Opera House.

Sydney’s newest luxury cocktail bar, Bartega has some exciting events coming up with an epic lineup of events that will suit everyone’s taste from cocktail-making classes to high teas!

High Tea on Sunday 9 July 9th enjoy a chill and classy afternoon with your crew. Indulge in gourmet sandwiches, sweet treats, scones with cream and jam, and your choice of tea (or pair it with bubbly or a cocktail!) Repeating every second Sunday of the month, it is the perfect place to brunch and unwind.

Cocktail-Making Class on Sunday 16 July 16th shake, stir, and become a master mixologist at Bartega's cocktail-making class. Master Distiller and Founder of Kalki Moon Distillery, Rick Prosser will be hosting, talking all things cocktails as well as the process of crafting distilled spirits like gin and rum! Cheers to that!

Paint and Sip Class on Sunday 23 July join Bartega to unleash your inner Van Gogh! Imagine painting like a pro while sipping on deliciously crafted cocktails. It's the perfect mix of art and relaxation.

Learn about the Gayan Gurrayura Murrawung, the great Emu in the sky a First Nations lore story that is based on the knowledges of the local people of Warrane (Sydney), shared by Dharawal woman Shannon Foster. Kids will explore objects, learn a stringing technique and take home their own bracelet.

NAIDOC Week Rouse Hill Estate Sunday 9 July 11am–2pm free entry with activities and cultural experiences provided by our cultural partner Muru Mittigar. Take part in art activities, watch wood carving demonstrations and listen to the stories of Elders in our yarning circle.

Yuldea from Bangarra Dance Theatre made its world premiere at the Sydney Opera House. Frances Rings' first work as Artistic Director is on until 15 July.

A Country-Style Day Out in Stroud - Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley the country music duo will grace audiences in Stroud to close out the town’s annual Brick and Rolling Pin Throwing Competition. Come down with the family for a country-style day out and enjoy all the charming small-town festivities. The vibrant street parade will start off at 10 am followed by the famous Brick and Rolling Pin Competition at 11am. There will be countless family activities, markets and food stalls available throughout the day. After a day filled with family fun, you can sit back and enjoy a lively and heartfelt performance by Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley from 5.30pm. Bringing together communities in and around Stroud, this will be an opportunity for the young and old to dance, sing along and enjoy spectacular country music. Brick-throwing and concert bundle tickets are available online only and include a ‘Complimentary Camping Pass’ for Saturday for those who want to turn the day into a family weekend - the event committee will even be serving a BBQ breakfast on Sunday morning.

Perceptions photo by Beatrix Molnar