Nine things to do around Canberra this weekend (13–15 December)

Zoe Pleasants 12 December 2019 1
Carols by Candlelight

Stage 88 at Commonwealth Park hosts Canberra’s 75th Carols by Candlelight this Saturday. Photo: Supplied.

The big event this weekend is the opening of the National Gallery’s summer blockbuster exhibition Matisse & Picasso. The exhibition runs until April next year and features more than 60 works from the two great masters. There are plenty of Christmas-themed activities this weekend: Carols by Candelight at Stage 88 on Saturday night, Carols in Town Park in Tuggeranong on Sunday night and the Old Bus Depot Markets are open both Saturday and Sunday this weekend to help you finish your Christmas shopping. There is also a bit of high-energy theatre on with Cirque Stratosphere showing at the Canberra Theatre for then next week and a Flamenco show on at The Street Theatre on Saturday night.

All weekend

Matisse & Picasso

Where: National Gallery of Australia
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am–5:00 pm
The National Gallery’s summer blockbuster exhibition – Matisse & Picassoopens this Friday and will be showing until 13 April next year. The exhibition tells the story of the artistic relationship between two of Europe’s greatest 20th-century artists: Henri Matisse (1869–1954) and Pablo Picasso (1881–1973). For more than half a century they followed each other’s creative developments and achievements. The sustained rivalry between them not only fueled their individual successes but it also shaped the course of 20th-century Western European art. At the outset, Matisse and Picasso’s styles were poles apart. Spanish-born Picasso explored novel territory that would lead him to Cubism while Matisse, the older French master, was a leader of the Fauves (or ‘wild beasts’) art movement. They watched each other’s work closely, sometimes ‘answering’ each other immediately with their paintings or responding later to an artistic theme with a flurry of activity. Each felt the need to acknowledge and absorb the other’s work. After Matisse’s death in 1954, Picasso’s art changed again as he mourned the loss of a figure who had held such sway over his career. This exhibition brings more than 60 paintings and sculptures from Australian and international collections and includes paintings that will be on display in Australia for the first time. Tickets from $28 for adults, $25 for concession and $10 for children (aged 5–16), book here.

Cirque Stratosphere

Where: Canberra Theatre
When: Friday 7:00 pm, Sunday 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm
Running until 21 December, Cirque Stratosphere is a spectacular circus show from the producers of last summer’s show The Illusionists: Direct from Broadway. Cirque Stratosphere is a futuristic space-age show which features gravity-defying acts from a troupe of amazing acrobats and gymnasts that will disprove that the sky is the limit! Tickets from $79 for adults and $45 for children, with special prices for families for the Sunday evening performance. Book here.

Sunset Cinema

Where: Australian National Botanic Gardens
When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 pm
The Sunset Cinema continues at the Botanic Gardens. This weekend, see Ready or Not on Friday, The Lion King (2019) on Saturday, and Blinded by the Light on Sunday. There will be snacks and more substantial food on-site to purchase or bring your own picnic. There will also be bean lounges, beanbags and lawn chairs available to rent or bring your own picnic rug, pillows, beanbags or camping chairs. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for concession and $13 for kids aged 3–12 years.

Old Bus Depot Markets

Where: 21 Wentworth Ave, Kingston
When: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am–4:00 pm
In the lead up to Christmas, the Old Bus Depot Markets will be open on Saturday and Sunday. This weekend is the Markets’ Christmas Kids Weekend with a jumping castle, a hilarious elf, delicious Christmas treats and plenty of locally made products to help you finish your Christmas shopping.

Eye to eye

Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am–5 pm
Eye to eye is a summer remix of the Portrait Gallery’s collection arranged by degree of eye contact – from eyes turned away or closed through to eyes looking right-back-at-you – and will be on display until 16 February. The Gallery’s collection features portraits of Natalie Imbruglia, Kev Carmody, Miranda Otto, David Williamson, a marble bust of Peter Garrett and many more. The look in a person’s eyes can be interpreted in different ways. A distant stare could be interpreted as baleful or a fatalistic cheer, a face in three-quarter profile could be pondering past triumphs or regrets. Does a full stare with smouldering countenance shock or seduce, or a bit of both? This collection rearrangement invites you to slow down and see eye-to-eye with another person to consider their lived experience.


Muriel’s Wedding

Where: National Film and Sound Archive
When: 2:00 pm
Two of Australia’s most iconic films were released in 1994 and are now 25 years old: Muriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The NFSA is celebrating by screening both films. Last week it screened Priscilla and this Saturday it is screening Muriel. At the screening, NFSA curator Jenny Gall will present iconic costumes from the movie held in the NFSA’s collection. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for concession, book here.

Carols by Candelight

Where: Stage 88, Commonwealth Park
When: 7:00–9:30 pm
It is Canberra’s 75th Carols by Candlelight concert this Saturday. Join the Woden Valley Youth Choir, Canberra City Band and other local performers for an evening of singing, community and Christmas. The event will be raising funds for the Anglicare Youth Engagement Program for Indigenous young people in the Canberra Region, a program which provides scholarships to help Indigenous young people complete secondary school and go on to either vocational training or tertiary studies.

Bandaluzia Flamenco

Where: The Street Theatre
When: 7:30 pm
Modern flamenco ensemble Bandaluzia led by ARIA-nominated Flamenco guitarist Damian Wright will be performing at The Street Theatre this Saturday night, presenting their spectacular new show. Bandaluzia is known for its powerful performances, unique sound and explosive displays of musicianship and virtuosity. This show will combine contemporary flamenco dance and music with the essential characteristics of the flamenco tradition and will be performed by some of Australia’s most revered flamenco artists. Tickets are $32 for adults, $29 for concession, book here.


Carols in Town Park

Where: Tuggeranong Town Park
When: From 4:00 pm
The Salvation Army is hosting carols in Tuggeranong Town Park this Sunday. As well carols, there will be amusement rides, a petting zoo, jumping castles, face-painting and a visit from Santa. Leading the carols will be local performers Amber Nichols, Lucy Sugerman and Tory Nikias. The event starts at 4:00 pm and the carol singing will start at 6:00 pm.

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One Response to Nine things to do around Canberra this weekend (13–15 December)
Michelle Henry Michelle Henry 8:55 pm 12 Dec 19

or try a day trip out to Braidwood and do some Christmas shopping at businesses really suffering from the Kings Highway closure :(

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