15 February 2024

Things to do in Canberra this week (16 - 22 February)

| Claire Sams
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A group of performers in costume

The Monkey King Cabaret aims to smash stereotypes of Asian culture. Photo: The Monkey King Cabaret/Facebook.

Who needs to travel to discover distant cultures? This weekend, they’re coming to us! Yes, it’s the return of the National Multicultural Festival, but that’s just the start of what’s happening in the capital this week.

Multiple days

life drawing

This series of life drawing classes is open to everyone – and every body. Photo: Tuggeranong Arts Centre.

Every Body: Life Drawing

When: 16 February, 6 pm to 8 pm; third Friday of the month until June
Where: Tuggeranong Arts Centre, 137 Reed Street, Greenway
Cost: Tickets cost $25 (for a single class) or $110 (plus booking fee) for a bundle of five classes and are available via Tuggeranong Arts Centre’s website.

This series of Friday evening drawing classes is coming back for its third year, and the focus remains on unwinding after a working week. The classes are pitched at everyone, regardless of their level of drawing experience, and the format is driven by what each group wants. Classes are facilitated by a local artist and for those aged 18-years and over. Basic materials such as charcoal, paper and pencils will be provided, but attendees are encouraged to bring any art supplies they want to work with.

'Beneath the Dragon Moon' horizontal poster

Monkey King Cabaret’s Beneath the Tiger Moon shows were sold out in 2022. Photo: Supplied.

Monkey King: Beneath the Dragon Moon

When: 16 February to 17 February, from 8 pm
Where: The Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre Centre, Civic Square, London Circuit, Civic
Cost: Tickets cost between $30 and $38 (plus transaction fee) and are available via the Theatre Centre’s website.

The Monkey King themselves, Charlie Chapstick/Daddy Charles, is here to bring another expectation-subverting variety show after the sold-out show Beneath the Tiger Moon in 2022. Beneath the Dragon Moon is a celebration of the Lunar New Year and the beauty and complexity of Asian-identifying artists in Canberra and further afield. Both shows are Auslan Interpreted. This performance contains coarse language, nudity and strobe lighting effects.

Performers on a stage and people gathered to watch

This year’s celebration of Canberra’s diverse cultures is expected to once again draw large crowds. Photos: Thomas Lucraft.

National Multicultural Festival

When: 16 February to 18 February, various times
Where: Various locations in Canberra; see program
Cost: Free entry.

Once again, Canberrans and visitors are invited to celebrate the city’s diversity. In 2024, future soul R&B artist Ngaiire, funk hip-hop creative Citizen Kay, and world percussion ensemble Taikoz have come on board as headliners, while festivalgoers will be able to take part in and learn about food, art, song and dance from more than 170 multicultural communities. To bring attendees to and from the Festival, there will be free public transport from 4:30 pm on Friday (16 February) until the end of services on Sunday (18 February).

modern art installation

Structure for reflected light is a work by Francis Kenna, an interdisciplinary artist based in Canberra. Photo: Supplied.

atmo-spheres exhibition

When: 16 February to 28 March, 10 am to 4 pm (Tuesdays to Sundays); 16 March, from 2 pm (artist talk)
Where: Belco Arts, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen
Cost: Free entry, though online registration is necessary for the artist talk.

The latest exhibition from Francis Kenna, a Kamberri/Canberra-based interdisciplinary artist, is opening in Belconnen. The show explores how our own experiences of life – as well as physical objects – are shaped across atmospheres, across the interplay of water, air, light and matter. There will also be an artist talk, when Francis is joined by Patsy Payne and John Pratt on 16 March from 2 pm for a chat about their exhibitions.


Two bike riders upside down in the air during a trick

Hold your breath as the motorcycle stunt show comes to Canberra this Friday. Photo: Freestyle Kings/Facebook.

The Freestyle Kings Live Show

When: 16 February, 7 pm to approximately 9 pm (gates open at 5:30 pm)
Where: GIO Stadium, Battye Street, Bruce
Cost: Ticket options are listed between $68.20 and $128.25 and are available via Ticketek.

Freestyle motocross (FMX) is coming to Canberra. Australian motocross legend and stuntman Robbie Maddison will be joined by a range of other FMX riders in this tour, presented by Freestyle Kings and TEG Sport. The family-friendly show will see the riders perform front flips, double backflips, and all sorts of other tricks that will have the audience holding its breath. It will also feature pyrotechnics, firebreathers, and music.

A drawing of a man and a woman

Join Katherine Bode as she explains how members of the public can help to ensure Australia’s literary history continues to thrive in the digital era. Image: National Library of Australia.

Tales from Trove: Discovering Australia’s Lost Literary History

When: 16 February, 6 pm to 7 pm
Where: National Library of Australia, Parkes Place, Canberra; streamed online via Zoom
Cost: Tickets cost between $10 and $15 (plus booking fee); in-person and online tickets are available via StickyTickets.

Newspapers have a long history of publishing short stories and book-length novels as well as the news. The To Be Continued project is working to digitise Australia’s stories. Professor Katherine Bode from the Australian National University will discuss some of the extraordinary stories and authors found in Trove’s digitised newspapers through the project – and how the public can get involved.


People holding up white lanterns that are lit from below

Learn how to make lanterns – or brush up on your skills with friends – in this workshop! Photo: Pressmaster/Envato.

Annual Chinese lantern-making workshop

When: 18 February, 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Where: Cook Community Hub, 41 Templeton Street, Cook
Cost: Entry costs $3 (payable at the door); registration by emailing acfsevent@gmail.com or by calling 0405 617 222 is essential.

This workshop is intended for both adults and children (children under 12 will need to be accompanied by an adult). Attendees are asked to bring a cutting board, scissors, ruler and pencil.


group of people walking

Canberra’s Gift of Life walk is on Tuesday 20 February. Photo: Supplied by GoLi.

Gift of Life Walk

When: 20 February, 6:30 am to 8:30 am
Where: Rond Terrace, Commonwealth Park, Parkes Way, Acton
Cost: Free. Register at Gift of Life.

The annual Gift of Life Walk around Lake Burley Griffin is happening on 20 February. This Walk is their longest running and biggest community event on their calendar. The Walk also marks the launch of Gift of Life’s 2024 activities.

The event kicks off at 6:30 am with the Walk to commence at 7 am. There’ll be free t-shirts, hats and dog bandanas, as well as a hot breakfast and coffee!

Join one of two distances for the walk: bridge to bridge (around 45 minutes) or short walk (around 15 minutes). Friends, family and dogs are all welcome!


Cellist Ilse De Ziah and guitarist Ian Date in an empty hall with their instruments, looking at each other

Living the Tradition is an evening that combines documentary and a live performance. Photo: National Film and Sound Archive.

Living the Tradition: Film and Live Performance

When: 21 February, from 6 pm
Where: Theatrette, National Film and Sound Archive, McCoy Circuit, Acton
Cost: Tickets cost between $30 and $40 and are available via the Archive’s website.

Living the Tradition is a documentary following Irish music and culture as Ilse De Ziah travels around Ireland to find the hidden secrets of a selection of Irish Airs. The showing will be followed by a 50-minute live performance from cellist Ilse De Ziah and guitarist Ian Date, featuring music from their debut album, Here & There.

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