7 December 2023

Things to do in Canberra this week (8 - 14 December)

| Claire Sams
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A miniature train driver waving as the train goes by

Ride on the miniature trains at Canberra Miniature Railway, or get involved in one of the other events being held this week. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Christmas is just around the corner and there’s plenty happening in the capital.

Longer-term Canberra residents may remember the market on the lawns of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). Well, they’re making a return. There’s also the debut production from Lucid Theatre Co, an exhibition of photographs of Sydney Mardi Gras festivals between 1981 and 2003 taken by an iconic Australian creative, a gig from hometown hero, and multiple ARIA winner Genesis Owusu. There will also be a showing of the 1984 Christmas classic Gremlins (can you remember the rules?)

But if sport is more your speed, the UC Capitals are hosting two games this week … and we’re just getting started!

Multiple days

A woman browsing art in a market

The hiatus is coming to a close, with this market making a return. Photo: AIATSIS/Facebook.

AIATSIS Indigenous Art Market

When: the in-person market is open 8 December (9 am to 8 pm), 9 December (9 am to 6 pm) and 10 December (9 am to 4 pm); the online market is open until 17 December
Where: outside the Maraga building, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 51 Lawson Cresent, Acton
Cost: Free entry.

Returning for the first time since 2019, the markets highlight and celebrate First Nations artists and creatives are coming back! The in-person market will run for three days in Canberra and will feature a wide range of paintings, textiles, sculptures, and other items. All proceeds will be passed onto the artist.

Performers holding up signs or bending over

This play has a premise that many young people don’t want to imagine: the internet is gone, properly gone. Image: Supplied.

People You May Know production

When: 14 December to 16 December, shows from 2 pm or 7 pm
Where: Canberra Theatre Centre, Civic Square, London Circuit, Canberra
Cost: Tickets cost $25 (concession holders) to $30, plus a transaction fee.

Lucid Theatre Co’s debut production stretches everything to breaking point. The play (and the drama) starts at a party where the characters try their best to connect, maybe in rekindling friendships or landing a hook-up worth the walk of shame. But everything comes to a stop when they wake up the next day: the internet has stopped (yes, it’s completely gone). Exploring concerns of young people today – from friendships to sex to the internet, this production makes you wonder if the seven (and a half) characters can make it out unscathed.

People at a float holding up brightly-coloured designed objects

An exhibition of William Yang photography is opening this week. Photo: William Yang (1985), via National Library of Australia/Facebook.

William Yang’s Mardi Gras exhibition

When: 6 December 2023 to 3 November 2024, 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Treasures Gallery, National Library of Australia, Parkes Place, Canberra
Cost: Free entry.

The latest collection-in-focus display will be highlights from William Yang’s photography of Sydney Mardi Gras festivals between 1981 and 2003, showing the strength, resilience and creativity of the country’s LGBT+ community. William Yang is an iconic Australian photographer, performer, artist, and filmmaker.

UC Capitals 2023/24 season poster

The UC Capitals are taking to the court in two home games this week. Image: UC Capitals.

UC Capitals games

When: 8 December, from 7 pm (UC Capitals v Sydney Flames); 10 December, from 5:30 pm (UC Capitals v Townsville Fire)
Where: National Convention Centre, 31 Constitution Avenue, Canberra
Cost: Tickets for the games can be purchased via the UC Capitals’ website.

The UC Capitals will be playing two home games this week, sure to delight fans around the city. They’ll be going up against the Sydney Flames on Friday evening and the Townsville Fire (who were also the 2022 Champions) on Sunday afternoon. Taking to the court is all in a day’s work for these athletes, but you can be there to cheer them on courtside.


Front of the RSPCA ACT's building in Weston.

The RSPCA does a lot of our animal friends, and this market is a chance to see more of the work they do (and maybe adopt a dog of your own). Photo: James Coleman.

RSPCA ACT Shelter Christmas Markets

When: 8 December, 4 pm to 8 pm
Where: RSPCA ACT, 12 Kirkpatrick Street (off Cotter Road), Weston
Cost: Free entry.

At a time of year when we’re thinking of our human family members, we can’t let our fur babies go unappreciated! RSPCA ACT’s annual markets are set to feature an array of market stalls, ice cream and Korean BBQ. To find matches between humans looking for a furry friend, there will also be a ‘Doggy Speed Date’, where you get to see if you bond with one of the dogs in the RSPCA’s care (and even if you don’t find one to adopt, you can still give them some scratches behind the ear anyway).


A horizontal flyer for the event

Come celebrate with your local community at Christmas in the Park. Image: Ginninderry.

Christmas in the Park

When: 9 December, 5 pm to 9 pm
Where: Paddys Park, Pro Hart Avenue, Strathnairn
Cost: Free entry.

For the third year, Paddys Park will host a Christmas-themed evening of live music, carols (and a sneaky Santa photo booth), family activities, games and more. Homegrown talent MAXO and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra alongside Kingsford Smith School will perform, and there will be plenty of food options – including the well-known Tikka Stand, Kusukusu, Doing Donuts, Yummy Thai and Bake My Day Canberra to keep bellies full. The Underground Spirits Bar will also be on hand to wash all that food down!

Photograph of Genesis Owusu on beach

ARIA-winning Canberra artist Genesis Owusu is performing in his home city this weekend. Photo: Supplied

Genesis Owusu performance

When: 9 December from 7 pm
Where: UC Refectory, 11 Kirinari St, Bruce
Cost: Tickets cost $89.90 and are available via Moshtix (ticket sales close at 6 pm on Saturday).

As part of his Australian tour, Canberra artist Genesis Owusu is performing in the city where it all began. He will be joined for most stops on the tour by EARTHGANG, including in this show at the UC Refectory. Snag a ticket before they’re gone!

A movie still showing a brown and white creature

We know the rules say don’t feed them after midnight, but who can resist those eyes? Photo: a still from Gremlins, directed by Joe Dante (1984).

A Very NFSA Christmas: Gremlins

When: 9 December from 6 pm
Where: Arc Cinema, National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, McCoy Circuit, Acton
Cost: Tickets cost $10 (concession holders) to $12 and are available via the Archive’s website.

The rules for looking after mogwai are simple: don’t let them get wet, don’t expose them to bright light and never feed them after midnight. But in director Joe Dante’s 1984 film Gremlins, Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) quickly breaks all the rules when he’s gifted a mogwai called Gizmo. Problem is, there’s no putting the mogwai back in the bottle, and things quickly spiral out of control in this Christmas classic.


People on a miniature train ride

Come and take a ride through Canberra on rail of a different kind. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Train rides at Canberra Miniature Railway

When: 10 December, 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Canberra Miniature Railway, southern end of Jerrabomberra Avenue, Symonston
Cost: Tickets cost $15 and are available via Trybooking, or $18 at the gate (children aged two or under will have free entry).

Gather the family and friends for a train ride with a difference! Book your seat on one of the two different tracks. The canteen will be open, selling hot and cold food and drink options. There is also a covered picnic area where you can enjoy lunch or sip coffee. Enclosed footwear is needed, meaning you’ll need to leave the thongs or sandals at home. Children aged four or younger must ride with a responsible older person.

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