16 March 2023

Things to do in Canberra this week (17 - 23 March)

| Travis Radford
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two women drinking milkshakes

Karen’s Diner is coming to Canberra in March. Photo: Karen’s Diner.

This week has something everyone.

For hedonists, Canberra’s annual Craft Beer and Cider Festival is on Saturday, and for masochists, there’s Karen’s Diner pop-up from Friday.

Julia Gillard fans are well-served with the premiere of the new play Julia and a series of events on Ms Gillard’s National Apology for Forced Adoptions.

For families, hit the road for the Yass Show or the Everest to Ainslie climb on Saturday and the Girls Get Active Day on Sunday.

Rev-heads, film buffs and music lovers aren’t left out, either.

Friday onwards


When: Saturday 18 to Saturday 25 March, various times
Where: Canberra Theatre Centre, Civic Square, London Circuit
Cost: $35 to $119 plus transaction fee; book here.

Ten years on from Julia Gillard’s famous misogyny speech, a new play about the human story behind the speech will premiere in Canberra. The performance combines excerpts from Gillard’s speech with the dramatic imagination of playwright Joanna Murray-Smith to offer insight into Australia’s first female prime minister and the experience of women in politics.

READ ALSO Exploring power, ambition and misogyny in the theatrical production Julia

Several waitresses sitting around a table making rude gestures

Karen’s Diner will be in Canberra until April. Photo: Karen’s Diner.

Karen’s Diner On Tour: Canberra

When: Friday 17 March to Sunday 23 April, various times
Where: Clubhouse Kaleen, 16 Georgina Crescent, Kaleen
Cost: $47; book here.

The American-style diner that prides itself on terrible customer service will pop up for a short time in Canberra. The venue invites Canberrans to “sit back and watch the carnage unfold” over an absurd and unique interactive dining experience, where guests can expect to be waited upon by rude waiters and forced to play games.


A man participating in the 2022 Ainslie to Everest climb in the foreground with Canberra's Parliament in the background

The inaugural Ainslie to Everest climb took place in 2022. Photo: ACT Emergency Services Agency.

Ainslie to Everest 2023

When: Saturday 18 March, from 9 am
Where: Mount Ainslie, Canberra
Cost: Free; no booking required.

Canberra firefighters are challenged to climb the elevation of Everest on Mount Ainslie to raise awareness for mental health. All funds raised will go to Lifeline Canberra to support people in crisis. Community members are invited to cheer on participants and learn more about emergency services at a meet and greet with volunteers at Mount Ainslie’s summit from 10 am.

Canberra Craft Beer and Cider Festival

Join the Canberra Craft Beer and Cider Festival on 18 March at Mercure Canberra. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra Craft Beer & Cider Festival

When: Saturday 18 March, 11 am to 6 pm; see the program here
Where: Mercure Canberra, 39 Limestone Avenue, Braddon
Cost: $36.21 to $48.45 for adults, free entry for under-18s; book here.

Learn about Australia’s craft beer revolution, meet local and interstate craft brewers and choose from up to 250 craft beers and ciders to sample at this year’s festival. Don’t like beer or cider? Seltzers, gin, vodka and other spirits will also be represented alongside live entertainment, a charity raffle, food vendors, and family and children’s activities, including face painting.

horses going around a show ring

This March will mark the 160th Yass Show. Photo: Supplied.

Yass Show 2023

When: Saturday 18 March, 8 am to 5 pm; see the program here
Where: Yass Showground, Grand Junction Road, Yass
Cost: $5 to $10, free for children under five years; book here.

The 160th Yass Show will be held for one jam-packed day only. Among the day’s attractions will be antique farm machinery, shearing, woodchopping, vintage and veteran cars, show jumping and a slew of horse and livestock events. Entertainment will include a magician, farmyard nursery, dedicated kids activities and a pet competition featuring the dogs of the Yass Dog Show.


children bouncing basketballs

Canberra Girls Get Active Day 2022. Photo: Tennis ACT.

Canberra Girls Get Active Day

When: Sunday 19 March, 10 am to 12 pm
Where: Tennis ACT, 1 Riggall Place, Lyneham
Cost: Free; no booking required.

Women and girls of all experience levels are encouraged to get active this weekend and try out a number of free sports. Free tennis classes will be held all morning and the first 200 girls aged 12 or under will receive a free racquet. The event will also feature free seated massages, roaming characters, face painting and a DJ. Boys and men are also welcome to attend.

Supercars parked outside a car dealership

Supercars at Canberra’s first ‘Festival of Speed’ in March 2022. Photo: James Coleman.

The Canberra Festival of Speed

When: Sunday 19 March, 9:30 am to 1:30 pm; see the program here
Where: Gerhard’s Classic Cars, 34 Pirie Street, Fyshwick
Cost: Entry to the external display is by gold coin donation, $10 tickets can be bought at the gate via cash or card.

More than 90 exotic and hand-built vehicles will come together at the European-styled supercar event, including Mark Webber’s original go-kart and other motorsport paraphernalia. Live demonstrations and talks will be held before the fleet heads over Commonwealth Bridge for two passes from 2:15 pm. This year’s show will raise funds for HeartKids ACT.

READ ALSO Summernats with exotics: meet the men behind Canberra’s ‘Festival of Speed’

French Film Festival: Taste of France

When: Sunday 19 March, from 3:30 pm
Where: Palace Electric Cinemas, 2 Phillip Law St, Canberra
Cost: $30 to $35, discounts for members; book here.

Sébastien Tulard’s Sugar and Stars tells champion chef Yazid Ichemrahem’s story. Influencer Riadh Belaïche stars as Yazid, who has dreamed of cooking desserts since childhood. When he secures an apprenticeship at a prestigious Parisian restaurant, he must learn to navigate the elitist pastry world to achieve his goal of competing for Paris at the International Pastry championship.


Julia Gillard embracing a person surrounded by television cameras.

A diverse panel will discuss the impact of national apologies on Australian society. Photo: National Archives of Australia.

Saying sorry: do national apologies change the world?

When: Tuesday 21 March, 6 pm to 7 pm
Where: National Archives of Australia, Kings Avenue, Parkes
Cost: $5 to $10; book here.

A panel moderated by ABC’s Paul Barclay will discuss the impact of national apologies on Australian society a decade on from Julia Gillard’s National Apology for Forced Adoptions. Parliament House will also commemorate the national apology from 18 March to 16 April with an audio-visual display featuring speeches, including the full apology and politicians’ responses.

Wednesday and Thursday

portrait of Claire Edwardes

‘Sorceress of percussion’ Claire Edwardes is one of Fire & Shadow’s headlining talents. Photo: Nat Cartney.

Canberra Symphony Orchestra: Fire & Shadow

When: Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 March, from 7:30 pm
Where: Llewellyn Hall, ANU School of Music, Building 100, William Herbert Place, Canberra
Cost: $17 – $109; book here.

Conductor Dane Lam and Canberra’s ‘sorceress of percussion’ Claire Edwardes promise to explore the interplay of night and day in this new program. Full of folklore spirits, 19th-century gothic motifs and Greek mythology, the program will feature Igor Stravinsky’s The Fairy’s Kiss, Iain Grandage’s Dances with devils and Beethoven’s Creatures of Prometheus.

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