16 May 2024

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

| Claire Sams
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A scared woman leaning out from behind a curtain to look a light

Gaslight examines how our perceptions can be undermined. Photo: ACMN.

Some say Canberra’s autumn is the best time to visit the city (or explore what we have in the next suburb over), and there’s certainly plenty to do this week. Grab the puffer jacket and check out a theatre show, a wool expo (how appropriate!), or a 60s-themed night that takes over a Kingston bar. Or maybe an award-winning film that takes a deep look into politics or a forum on AI will take your fancy?

Multiple days


Is Bella missing things, or is there something sinister afoot? Image: Supplied.


When: 15 to 19 May, shows from various times
Where: Canberra Theatre Centre, Civic Square, London Circuit, Civic
Cost: Tickets cost between $55 and $135 (plus transaction fee) and are available via the Theatre Centre’s website.

From the outside, Bella Manningham (Geraldine Hakewill) should have a nice life. But Bella hears strange noises in the evening, the sitting room light seems to be dimming, and her marriage to Jack (Toby Schmitz) is anything but easy. Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play introduced ‘gaslighting’ to our vocabulary, with the term coming to mean an extreme form of manipulation.

Will Bella find the strength to triumph against this deceit and manipulation? This adaptation from Johnna Wright and Patty Jamieson, which premiered at the 2022 Shaw Festival, brings the story to Canberra for a run of seven shows.

A banner for the Canberra Wool Expo

Find out more about how wool can be used at this two-day expo. Image: Old Bus Depot Markets/Facebook.

Canberra Wool Expo

When: 18 and 19 May, 9:30 am to 2:30 pm
Where: Old Bus Depot Markets, 21 Wentworth Avenue, Kingson
Cost: Free entry.

The winter chill is creeping closer with every day, but here is a solution to keep you warm: wool! This year’s Canberra Wool Expo will include a range of stallholders set to showcase everything wool – such as hand-felted garments, knitwear and woollen yarns. For those keen to learn more, there will also be wool spinning demonstrations, workshops, and demonstrations of Australian knitting mills. Hephner, the alpaca, and Andy and Armani, the black nose Valais sheep, will be among the woolly friends coming along.


A human hand and a robotic hand typing on a keyboard

Artificial intelligence (or AI) is becoming increasingly common in our lives – but should it? Photo: File.

Artificial Intelligence in Education (Friend or Foe?) forum

When: 17 May, 6 pm to 8:30 pm
Where: Questacon, King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Cost: Tickets cost $12 per person and are available via TryBooking.

A panel of experts has been assembled to discuss the benefits and difficulties of using AI in education. The team will include Australian National University Vice-Chancellor Professor Genevieve Bell, University of Canberra’s Dean of Education Professor Barney Dalgarno, and Director of Education and Outreach at CSIRO Ruth Carr. The forum has been organised by the Rotary Club of Canberra Weston Creek.


People in 1980s-themed clothing

Past themed nights at The Durham have included the ’80s (as shown above), but Saturday will see the ’60s make a return. Photo: Adrian Moran.

The Fab Four

When: 18 May, from 8:30 pm
Where: The Durham Castle Arms Pub, 52 Jardine Street, Kingston
Cost: Free entry, though attendees can book their spot via the pub’s online booking system.

The Durham Castle Arms is having a makeover – for one night, it will become the Durham Cavern Arms, a callback to the cradle of the Mersey sound and especially The Beatles. Paul, Peter (Ringo), Luke (John) and Martin (George) will take to the stage with all the Beatles’ hits we know and love. So pull out your best threads from the 1960s (or ask your parents what they wore) and head over to Kingston!


Group of people with arms in the air in front of of a rainbow firetruck.

This party brings together Meridian, Landcare ACT, the Ginninderry Conservation Trust, the ACT Government – and you! Image: Ginninderry.

Pride Grows ‘Plantiversary’ Party

When: 19 May, 1 pm to 3 pm
Where: The Link, 1 McClymont Way, Strathnairn
Cost: Free entry, though attendees can register via Humanitix.

Have a green thumb? Pride Grows is an environment-focused community group giving LGBT+ people a chance to come together and care for nature. The afternoon will start at The Link building at 1 pm before those gathered head to the planting site, accompanied by rangers from Ginninderry Conservation Trust. After an update on the plantings, Sally Holliday from Landcare ACT will lead the group through some nature connection activities before afternoon tea.

Woman dressed all in white with bees

Griet Gijsels from the Belgian Embassy in Canberra tends to bees in the embassy’s garden. Photo: Belgian Embassy.


When: 19 May, 11 am to 3 pm
Where: Belgian Embassy, 19 Arkana Street, Yarralumla
Cost: Free entry.

The young and young-at-heart are invited to the Belgian embassy for a day of bee-themed fun. The 3rd annual BEfair will feature live entertainment, market stalls and a raffle, while a jumping castle will keep the kids busy. Proceeds from the embassy’s honey sales will support Ukrainian beekeepers who have lost their hives due to the conflict or have had to leave their hives.


Promotional image for Rats in the Ranks showing a man wearing a fur coat, standing in front of a red curtain

Politics can be rough and tumble – take a gander inside and see how the sausage is made. Image: Still from Rats in the Ranks, directed by Bob Connolly, 1996.

Rats in the Ranks

When: 23 May, from 6:30 pm
Where: Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive, McCoy Circuit, Acton
Cost: Tickets cost between $17 and $20 and are available via the Archive’s website.

Rats in the Ranks is a gripping, real-life drama with a white-knuckle climax—a fascinating portrait of how politics really works. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Bob Connolly, moderated by NFSA Chief Curator Gayle Lake. The National Film and Sound Archive is launching a partnership with DocPlay, and the showing will come ahead of its streaming premiere on DocPlay.

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