19 September 2019

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

| Zoe Pleasants
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National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery has reopened and is asking the public to celebrate over the weekend with them. Photo: NPG.

Floriade opens this weekend, the National Portrait Gallery reopens after a brief hiatus, and the National Museum’s latest blockbuster exhibition—DreamWorks Animation—opened this week. While most of Floriade remains in Commonwealth Park the flower festival is branching out this year with satellite events—Floriade in the Suburbs. This Saturday it travels to Gungahlin Town Square and in coming weeks it will travel to Belconnen, Tuggeranong, Molonglo and Woden. The National Portrait Gallery is celebrating its reopening all weekend with music, drawing, giveaways, kids activities and two new exhibitions. And DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition at the National Museum of Australia features over 400 items from the archives of the DreamWorks studio. The exhibition also includes a number of interactive activities and an immersive theatre experience where the audience flies on the back of Toothless over the Viking township of Berk. The Canberra Moon Festival is on in the city this weekend and Lifeline is having another book fair at Exhibition Park.

All weekend


Where: Commonwealth Park
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9:30 am–5:30 pm
Floriade opens this weekend and is on until 13 October. This year’s theme is World in Bloom and the festival will feature over 1000 flowers, music, cultural performances, food and wine, horticultural workshops, markets, rides and other activities. Highlights this weekend include:

Check out the Floriade Program here.

Reopening Celebration

Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: Saturday & Sunday 10 am–5 pm
The Portrait Gallery is reopening this weekend! The Gallery has been closed since April while its building underwent some rectification work but now it is ready to open again and the Gallery is celebrating. There will be music, drawing, giveaways, face painting and two new exhibitions—Primed and The Look to enjoy. Primed brings together the Gallery’s collection of portraits of Australian prime ministers. The Gallery has portraits of only 17 of Australia’s 30 prime ministers. These portraits are a mixture of paintings, photographs and drawings. The Look features striking photographs of contemporary figures from the Gallery’s collection.

DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition

Where: National Museum of Australia
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9 am–5 pm
The museum’s latest exhibition—DreamWorks Animation—opened this week and will be at the museum until February next year. The exhibition features more than 400 objects from DreamWorks Animation’s archive including original artworks, storyboards and scale-models. Discover how characters like Po from Kung Fu Panda come to life—see their evolution from concept sketch to animated personality. Put yourself in an animator’s shoes and play with your favourite characters in a real-time interactive activity. See how stories like the time-travelling adventure of Mr Peabody & Sherman are developed from an idea into thousands of storyboards. Discover how directors, production designers and concept artists create the fantastical worlds of DreamWorks’s most-loved films including the jungle of Madagascar and the fictional prehistoric era “The Croodaceous”. The exhibition also includes an immersive theatre experience Dragon Flight—Dragon’s-eye View of Berk where you will see the Viking township of Berk transform from an idea into a fully realised world while riding on the back of Toothless. Tickets are $20 for adults, $16 for concession, $12 for kids, $50 for family, $14 for a museum friend and MKids are free. Book here.

Love is in the Air Tour

Where: Old Parliament House
When: Saturday and Sunday 2:15 pm
Starting this weekend, the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House is running daily 45-minute tours for the next month that investigate the great love stories that were set at Old Parliament House from the 1930s–80s. While some politicians are sustained by lifelong partners during their time at Parliament, others find romance in the hothouse of politics. Tickets are $8, for bookings either email bookings@moadoph.gov.au or phone 6270 8215.

Canberra Moon Festival

Where: Garema Place
When: Friday 4:30 pm–9:30 pm, Saturday 10 am–9:30 pm & Sunday 10 am–3:30 pm
The Canberra Moon Festival returns to the city this year. A moon festival is a traditional mid-autumn festival held in many countries across South-East Asia where families gather and celebrate the harvest with lanterns and moon cakes. At the Canberra Moon Festival, there will be food stalls selling many versions of moon cakes (as well as more substantial meals); cultural performances including Dragon and Lion dancing, Peking Opera, and K-pop, Bollywood and traditional Chinese dancing and other activities. Check out the program here. And there will be free moon cakes between 10–11 am on Saturday and 2–3 pm on Sunday and a glow in the dark disco on Saturday night.

Lifeline Bookfair

Where: Exhibition Park
When: Friday 9 am–6 pm, Saturday 9 am–5 pm and Sunday 10 am–4 pm
It is Lifeline’s Spring Bookfair this weekend and it will have a huge range of books, movies, music CDs, games and comics for you to peruse and buy. Entry is by gold coin donation and all proceeds go directly to support Canberra’s crisis support and suicide prevention phone service.


The Matrix 20th Anniversary

Where: National Film and Sound Archive
When: 6 pm
The NFSA is screening some spectacular science-fiction films in September and November as it celebrates notable anniversaries, modern classics and restored prints. This Saturday it is celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Matrix which was released in 1999. With its combination of cutting-edge technology and the philosophical narrative, The Matrix has proved to be a highly influential film and many Australians help to craft this film—it was mostly shot in Sydney. The film’s Executive Producer Andrew Mason will be at the event and will have a conversation with Film Curator Nathan Smith following the screening. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for concession, book here.

Floriade in the Suburbs

Where: Gungahlin Town Square
When: 12–3 pm
Floriade is travelling to Gungahlin this Saturday. Bring a picnic blanket and enjoy an afternoon of food, drinks, live music and family entertainment. There will be face painting, a bouncy castle, kid’s art and craft activities, Bollywood dancing, Bellydancing and live music provided by Mickey Sulit and Maddy D’Ambrosia. Food and drink will be provided by the Pop Inn, the Pizza Trailer and Pure Gelato. And you will get the opportunity to meet Floriade’s giant pink gnome, Floyd!


Swan Lake

Where: Canberra Theatre
When: 2pm & 7:30 pm
The Imperial Russian Ballet Company is in Canberra this weekend performing the beloved ballet Swan Lake. Formed in 1994, the Company is currently headed up by the Bolshoi Theatre soloist Gediminas Taranda. It comprises 40 dancers from the major ballet schools of Russia. Tickets are $95 for adults, $85 for concession and $65 for kids, book here.

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