The big event this weekend is the opening of the National Gallery’s summer blockbuster exhibition Love and Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate. The exhibition runs until April next year and features 80 artworks, 40 from the Tate. With ten days until Christmas, there is no escaping it this weekend! Civic will become Merry & Bright with a dance party on Friday night, a giant Christmas Playdate in Glebe Park on Sunday, and Christmas festivities all weekend in Garema Place. There will also be Christmas carols playing at the Carillion on Sunday, 6 pm or join in a Christmas sing-a-long with Tobias Cole at the staircase in the Nishi building from 5:15 pm.
Where: National Gallery of Australia
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9 am–5 pm
The National Gallery’s summer blockbuster exhibition—Love and Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate—opens this Friday and will be showing until 28 April next year. The Pre-Raphaelite art movement was started in the mid-1800s by a group of painters who were inspired by the art of the early Renaissance, before (in their view) the corrupting mechanistic influence of Raphael, Michelangelo and da Vinci. The founding members of this movement—John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Rossetti—formed a secret society in 1848 which they called the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and signed their paintings with their signatures and the initials PRB. Pre-Raphaelite art is characterised by naturalism, lots of detail, and subjects that are poignant, melancholic or morbid. And the paintings are bright and colourful. Love and Desire features 40 paintings from the Tate and 40 paintings loaned from other British and Australian collections. The exhibition includes John Everett Millais’ Ophelia and William Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22.50 for concession and free for kids under 17 accompanying an adult. There are also season tickets, premium tickets and discounts for NGA members. Book here.
Where: Petrie Plaza and Garema Place
When: Friday 4–8 pm, Saturday 12–8 pm & Sunday 12–5 pm
From this Friday until Christmas Eve, Merry & Bright will turn Civic into a Christmas wonderland. Civic will be decorated with street art, decorations and lights. There will be a Christmas tree forest, music, entertainment, an outdoor Cinema in Glebe Park, a trackless train, and of course, Santa. For updates on what’s happening, check out the Merry & Bright Facebook page and check out the program of movie screenings here.
Where: Canberra Theatre
When: Friday 7:30 pm, Saturday 5 pm & 7:30 pm
Comedian Judith Lucy is asking Australia to help her decide whether she should give up dating for good! At 50, she is single again and wondering whether it is time to shut up shop. During this show, Judith will recount her full dating history, explore stereotypes and her own desires. Expect full disclosure! Tickets are $45.90 for Friday night and $54.90 on Saturday, book here.
Where: Garema Place
When: 4–10 pm
On Friday night there will be a family-friendly dance party in Garema Place. A DJ truck in the shape of a giant cassette deck will take centre stage, and the DJ will pump out a mix of pop tunes and classic Christmas songs.
Where: Glebe Park
When: 10 am–4 pm
Help the kids get their sillies out at a huge Christmas Playdate in Glebe park this Sunday. There will be Christmas card making, cookie decorating, nature play, kids yoga, music and dance with Lucy Sparkles, a rock climbing wall, a magician and other roving entertainment, a table tennis tournament and the biggest game of backyard cricket hosted by ACT Cricket. All activities are free, there will be food vendors on site and a parent’s break-out zone.
Where: Carillion, Aspen Island
When: 4:15–7:30 pm
Christmas carols will be ringing out from the Carillion this Sunday at a free concert. There will be guided tours of the tower from 4:15–5:45 pm and the concert, featuring Canberra’s carillonists and the Canberra Harmony Chorus will start at 6 pm. There will be free face painting, balloon animals, popcorn and fairy floss, and you will be able to purchase sausage sandwiches, ice cream and coffee. Check out the carillonist concert program here, the choir will perform in between.
Where: Nishi Building, NewActon
When: 5:15–6 pm
Join acclaimed vocalist Tobias Cole and his youth choir Vocal Fry to sing Christmas songs in the Nishi Grand Stair this Sunday evening. Songbooks will be provided!
Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: 3:30 pm
In celebration of spirituality, the I Progetti Chamber Choir will be performing Advent-themed songs at the Portrait Gallery this Sunday. The concert will include performances of Howard Blake’s Walking in the Air from the film The Snowman, Philip Stopford’s Lully, Lulla, Lullay, Jean Sibelius’s Hymni Op. 26, and Claudio Monteverdi’s Messa da cappella a quattro voce, 1641.