Surfest 2024       

Australia’s largest surfing festival celebrates its 38th anniversary with more than 800 competitors from the Asia/Pacific region.  Features numerous surfing events at Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens, plus (on selected days) pop-up markets offering locally handmade items and art.  Until 15 March.  Details and events: https://www.surfest.com

Lake Cinema: 62 Main Road, Boolaroo

Anatomy of a Fall (MA): A French drama, spoken in English and French with English subtitles.  A woman is suspected of her husband’s murder, and their blind son faces a moral dilemma as the main witness.  Friday (4.30pm); Saturday and Sunday (1.30pm).

The Holdovers (M): An American comedy/drama, with Paul Giamatti, about a curmudgeonly teacher who’s forced to remain on campus over the holidays with a troubled student.  Friday (7.30pm); Saturday and Sunday (4.30pm and 7.30pm).

Cash only.  Bookings available only for the 7.30pm sessions.  4958 5810 or https://lakecinema.au

Live at The Levee 

A free outdoor concert featuring Jake Kokins (5.30pm) with original songs and classic pop; followed by Rory Ellis and Christian Marsh (7.45pm) performing Rory’s Americana/alternate country compositions.  Coffin Lane, Maitland Levee.  Friday.    

Cinema Under the Stars 

Family fun from 5.30pm with live music and kids’ activities, followed by a sundown screening of Minions: The Rise of GruMaitland Park, Park Street (Friday); and Speers Point Park, Park Road (Saturday).  

Music in the Podium 

A free outdoor concert featuring local pop/rock male trio The After Party.  Warners Bay Foreshore.  Friday (6pm-9pm).  Weather permitting.  BYO chair or blanket; food vans on site.   

Friday Chill 

A free outdoor concert featuring local rock/pop band Prestige Inc.  Pacific Park, Newcastle.  Friday (6.30pm-8.30pm).  Weather permitting.  BYO chair or blanket; food vans on site.   

Exhibition: Love Letters From Home 

A debut display by local artist Ruby Rickard, who specialises in acrylic painting and experimental mixed-media designs.  Ruby gains inspiration from Newcastle’s picturesque landscapes and the raw beauty of Australia’s coastlines.  68 Fern Street, Islington.  Friday (from 6.30pm), Saturday and finishing at 4pm Sunday.  Free admission, but online tickets required: https://events.humanitix.com/ruby-rickard-and-playstate-present-love-letters-from-home

Concert: The INXS Show  

Tribute band KICK with an authentic presentation of the classic hits of INXS.  Wallsend Diggers, 5 Tyrrell Street.  Friday (7.30pm).  Free.    

Dark Stories: A True Crime Tour – Newcastle

Guided tours of the East End to learn of Newcastle’s dark criminal history.  Departs at 7.30pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from the corner of Scott and Watt streets (next to Customs House).  Bookings: https://darkstories.com.au/newcastle/

The Comedians  

A laugh-fest with Mick Molloy, Sam Pang, Lawrence Mooney and Marty Sheargold.  90 minutes (no interval).  Ages 18+ (contains adult themes and coarse language).  Civic Theatre.  Friday (8pm) and Saturday (5pm and 8pm).  Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au

Dangerous Obsession

A tense thriller about a happily married couple at the mercy of a mysterious stranger who threatens to reveal secrets which could change their lives forever.  Maitland Repertory Playhouse, 244 High Street.  Friday (8pm), Saturday (8pm) and Sunday (2pm).  Also: March 1 (8pm), 2 (2pm) and finishing 3 (2pm).  Tickets: 4933 2766 (midday-8pm, Mondays-Fridays) or https://www.mrt.org.au

The Years       

The popular six-member local band with rock hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s.  Marble Bar, West Leagues Club.  Friday (9pm).  Performing also at Toronto Diggers, 41 The Boulevarde, on Saturday (8pm). 

Open Day: The Newcastle Mosque       

All welcome to explore the rich and diverse Islamic culture and traditions with tours of the Mosque, exhibitions, family activities, food stalls and a live prayer session.  6 Metcalfe Street, Wallsend.  Saturday (10am-4pm).   

The Laramie Project  

An adult collage-style drama, presented by the Lindsay Street Players, based on the homophobic-hate murder of a young American man in 1998.  The action is offered as verbatim theatre, with the script drawn from hundreds of interviews, journal entries and published news reports from that time, and features a small cast portraying more than 60 real-life characters.  The play is in three acts, with two intervals, and contains strong language and serious content.  Young People’s Theatre, 26 Lindsay Street, Hamilton.  Saturday (2pm and 7pm).  Also: 1 March (7pm), 2 (2pm and 7pm) and finishing 3 (4pm).  Tickets: 4961 4895 or https://ypt.org.au/bookings/

Concert: Jumpin’ Jukebox  

The popular local trio with dance/party hits.  Soldiers Point Bowling Club, 118 Soldiers Point Road.  Saturday (7.30pm).  Free.

Luke Heggie  

Luke employs his trademark dry, deadpan style of humour to highlight the joys and woes of modern life.  70 minutes (no interval).  Ages 15+.  Civic Playhouse.  Saturday (7.30pm).  Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au

Solid Gold Party Night

Free music-and-dance fun with DJ Dave Cochrane playing non-stop classics.  Cessnock Leagues Club, 1-7 Darwin Street.  Saturday (8pm).

The Wharf Revue: Pride in Prejudice  

The latest in the cheeky revue series and featuring Drew Forsythe, Jonathon Biggins, Mandy Bishop, David Whitney and Michael Tyack employing songs and sketches to satirise national and international media personalities and political events.  90 minutes (no interval).  Ages 13+.  Performing Arts Culture Cessnock, 198 Vincent Street.  Tuesday, 27 February (7.30pm).  Tickets: 4993 4266 or https://www.mypacc.com.au/Whats-on/The-Wharf-Revue-Pride-in-Prejudice

Tuesday Night Jazz: The Grand

The Hugh Barrett Trio (keys Hugh, bass Jacob Graham and drums Andrew Dickeson) with original compositions, jazz classics and standards from the Great American Songbook.  The Grand Hotel, 32 Church Street, Newcastle.  Tuesday, 27 February (7.30pm).  Tickets: https://www.thegrandnewcastle.com.au/events

Thursday Jazz Jam: The Grand

Features the Tom Avgenicos House Band, with musos invited to jam.  The Grand Hotel, 32 Church Street, Newcastle.  Thursday, 29 February (7.30pm).  Tickets: https://www.thegrandnewcastle.com.au/events

Cheap Trick and The Angels  

American rock band Cheap Trick joins with Aussie band The Angels (with Nick Norton as lead vocalist) to relive their respective hits of the past five decades.  Civic Theatre.  Thursday, 29 February (8pm).  Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au

Fort Scratchley

Open from 10am to 4pm (closed Tuesdays) for displays of the fort’s history, tunnel tours, the 1pm gun firings (weather permitting), and Morse Code demonstrations each Wednesday.  Nobbys Road, Newcastle East.  

Multi-Arts Pavilion 

Valley of a Thousand Plants: A 360-degree immersive installation by artist Joel Zika using digital projection and holographics to make you feel as though you’re in a greenhouse full of oversized plants.  You’ll be surrounded by, and engage with, an abundance of giant plants in animated forms which change shape by responding to your movements and touch.  96 Creek Reserve Road, Speers Point.  Friday (9am-8pm), Saturday (9am-2pm) and finishing Sunday (9am-2pm).  Free entry. 

Lovett Gallery

More Than Sport: Photos, videos and memorabilia highlighting the importance of sport for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.  Second floor, Newcastle City Library, 15 Laman Street.  Friday (9.30am-6pm) and finishing Saturday (9.30am-2pm).      

CStudios Art Gallery 

Modern Stories: Colourful and striking ceramic pieces, by Pete Stegall and Daniel Skeffington, designed to complement the contemporary home or office space.  518 Hunter Street, Newcastle.  Friday, Saturday and finishing Sunday (10am-3.30pm).    

Back-to-Back Galleries 

The Nature of Art: Seven emerging artists highlight various aspects of the environment via photography, ceramics, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and painting.  The work includes oil paintings of landscapes, photos of iguanas and bird wings fashioned from porcelain.  57 Bull Street, Cooks Hill.  Friday, Saturday and finishing Sunday (11am-5pm).    

Maitland Regional Art Gallery 

Sleep, My Horse – 5 August, 1956: A speculation of scenes from his life by Sydney-based artist Noel McKenna.  Friday, Saturday and finishing Sunday. 

Myth Making: A Kate Rohde/Troy Emery collaboration whose work creates a new mythology of western Victoria imbued with dark and whimsical artistic practices.  Until 3 March. 

230 High Street.  Tuesdays-Sundays (9am-4pm). 

Cooks Hill Galleries 

Stories Without Words: Catherine Banney’s quirky paintings offer a sense of enchantment to evoke emotions and stir the imagination.  65 Bull Street, Cooks Hill.  Friday-Tuesday (10am-5pm).  Until 27 February.    

Charlestown Square Shopping Centre 

The Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Art Society: A display and sale of original works, in various mediums, by Society members and including local coastal scenes, wildlife portraits and still life.  Pearson Street.  Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays (9am-5.30pm); Thursdays (9am-9pm); Saturdays (9am-5pm) and Sundays (10am-5pm).  Until 3 March. 

Port Stephens Arts Centre

Mirror Images, Thoughts and Dreams: Delves into the profound interplay between our external perceptions and the inner landscapes of our minds.  Until 5 March. 

Monday Painters: A small and diverse display by several artists using a variety of mediums.  Until 5 March. 

Cultural Close, Nelson Bay.  Mondays-Saturdays (10am-4pm); Sundays (10am-1pm).   

Newcastle Museum

Potions and Pestilence: An insightful display highlighting the changes in Hunter Valley pharmacies and drugs over the past 50 years, accompanied by a nostalgic collection of yesteryear’s treatments and beauty products.  Until 10 March.   

Australia in Space: An interactive science/technology display highlighting Australia’s cutting-edge space operations and expertise.  Includes exploring the surface of Mars, designing a spacesuit and tackling space-junk via a computer game.  Until 10 March.   

6 Workshop Way, Honeysuckle.  Tuesdays-Sundays (10am-5pm). 

Local History Lounge, Newcastle Library 

More Than Coal: Works by local artist/author Bronwyn Greive highlighting the natural environments of the Lower Hunter.  The artworks also are featured in Bronwyn’s newly-released book of the same name.  15 Laman Street, Newcastle.  Until 16 March. 

Museum of Art and Culture (MAC)

First Class 23: Honouring the exceptional works of last year’s local Visual Arts Students and containing themes of family, society and nature.  Until 8 April. 

A Closer Look: The Australian Society of Miniature Art offers miniature contemporary works in traditional forms of watercolour, oil and acrylic painting, as well as abstract work, sculpture and hand-made books.  Until 8 April.      

1A First Street, Booragul.  Tuesdays-Sundays (9am-3pm).   

Newcastle Printmakers Workshop 

Industrial, Architectural and Urban Landscapes: A nine-artist display comprising a range of processes highlighting scenes from local history and offering an interpretation of the built environment.  The prints are all handmade, limited-edition works on paper.  Visitors will have the chance to chat to the artists, who’ll be actively using the workshop during exhibition hours.  27 Popran Road, Adamstown.  Each Tuesday and Thursday (9.30am-12.30pm).  Until 11 April. 

Performing Arts Culture Cessnock 

Parade: A selection of contemporary works from 1993-2023 by prolific and prizewinning local artist Michael Bell, whose career includes more than 30 years as an art teacher and Mambo artist.  Includes his London Underground series, Newcastle’s “Dog Beach” and Dave Graney in Full Flight198 Vincent Street, Cessnock.  Tuesdays-Fridays (9am-4.30pm); and Saturdays and Sundays (10am-2.30pm).  Until 14 April.  Opens Friday, 23 February (5pm). 

Coming Soon: The Newcastle Show 

All the fun of the 122nd fair and including homecraft, horticultural and reptile displays, woodchopping, motorbike stunts, a Demolition Derby and a Mullet Fest.  An exciting highlight is the live show The Outback Experience (Friday and Saturday at 7pm in the Centre Ring), with bushrangers executing a daring stagecoach robbery.  Newcastle Showground.  1-3 March.  Tickets: at the gate (cash or card) or https://www.newcastleshow.com.au

Coming Soon: The Dungeon Big Band’s 20th Anniversary Concert

Highlights from the band’s two decades, with vocalist Heather Price and including the music of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and many more.  Adamstown Uniting Church Auditorium, 228 Brunker Road.  Sunday, 3 March (2pm).  Tickets: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1166744