All events will operate under current COVID-19 guidelines: a QR Code scan-in, proof of double-vaccination status, and face masks to be worn indoors.
Events may be subject to cancellation due to the current COVID situation.
Dark Stories: A True Crime Tour – Newcastle
Guided tours of the alleyways and backstreets of the East End to learn of Newcastle’s dark criminal history. Departs from the corner of Scott and Watt streets (next to Customs House) at 7.30pm. Holiday times and bookings: https://darkstories.com.au/newcastle/
Dark Stories: A True Crime Tour – Maitland
Guided tours of Maitland’s alleyways and backstreets to learn of the city’s dark criminal history. Meet at 7.30pm in front of Maitland Railway Station. Holiday times and bookings: https://darkstories.com.au/maitland/
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. Closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Eve Celebrations – Newcastle
Roving entertainers, rides, DJ sets, art workshops, food vendors and market stalls, plus a 9pm fireworks display. Newcastle Foreshore. Friday, 31 December. Scheduled at this stage to go ahead, but check for cancellations due to the present COVID status.
New Year’s Eve Celebrations – Maitland
Amusements, a disco, kids’ activities and food/beverage/dessert stalls, plus a 9pm fireworks display. Maitland’s Riverside car park and Cathedral Street car park, and the R.H. Taylor Reserve in Lorn. Friday, 31 December. Scheduled at this stage to go ahead, but check for cancellations due to the present COVID status.
Lake Cinema, Boolaroo
Closed over Christmas and reopening on 1 January with:
Sing 2 (PG): A computer-animated musical/comedy about band members hoping to enlist an esteemed rock star to perform with them. Features the voices of Bono, Scarlett Johannson and Bobby Cannavale.
The Rescue (PG): A National Geographic documentary about the daring 2018 rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Northern Thailand.
Best Sellers (M): A comedy/drama, with Aubrey Plaza and Michael Caine, about a cantankerous novelist who reluctantly embarks on a publicity tour with his desperate publisher.
Session times: http://www.lakecinema.net.au
Lake Cinema, Main Road, Boolaroo. 4958 5810. Cash only. Bookings available only for the 7.30pm sessions.
84 Charing Cross Road
Based on the memoirs of New York author Helene Hanff and her 20-year correspondence and friendship with the British bookseller who provided her with rare and cherished volumes. Maitland Repertory Theatre, High Street. 7 January (8pm), 8 (8pm), 9 (2pm), 12 (8pm), 14 (8pm) and 15 (2pm and 8pm). Bookings: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/84-charing-cross-road-tickets-224403696497
Also at the Newcastle Theatre Company Playhouse from 19 January (see further below for details).
A fact-based comedy/drama about a lonely suburban woman who’s concerned that her adored pet, a highly-civilised, but erratic, chimpanzee named Trevor, will be taken from her. Contains coarse language. Newcastle Theatre Company, DeVitre Street, Lambton. 8 January (7pm), 9 (2pm and 7pm), 12 (7pm), 14 (7pm) and 15 (7pm). Bookings: https://www.knockandruntheatre.com/trevor
Tim Minchin: Back
Music and mayhem from the eclectic repertoire of the award-winning musician, comedian, actor and writer. Civic Theatre. 11-12 January (8pm each evening). Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au
The Catapult Dance Company with a contemporary dance/multi-arts performance of stories celebrating Newcastle’s identity and its association with the ocean. Features intergenerational performers and professional dancers. City Hall. 13-15 January (7pm each evening). 90 minutes (no interval). Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au
Carl Barron: Skating Rink For Flies
Comedian Carl Barron ponders things most of us think about but never mention, such as plastic bags, peanut butter and the possible emotions of an ant. Civic Theatre. 13-14, 16, 18, 19, 21-23 January (8pm each evening). Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au
Willy Russell’s comic monologue for a solo performer, presented by Wollombi’s Bare Productions and featuring Cath Patterson. A middle-aged married woman, who feels life has passed her by, gets the chance to travel – without her uninspired husband – to Greece. 14 January (7.30pm), 15 (7.30pm), 16 (5pm), 20 (7.30pm), 21 (7.30pm) and 22 (7.30pm). Royal Exchange Salon Theatre, 34 Bolton Street, Newcastle. Tickets: https://www.trybooking.com/BVNZF
John Williamson: Winding Back
The Aussie entertainer celebrates 51 years in the music industry with his popular ballads which highlight the outback’s landscape and people. Civic Theatre. 15 January (8pm). Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au
**CANCELLED: Morpeth Mid-Week Folk
The 7pm folk concert scheduled for Wednesday, 19 January, at the Morpeth School of Arts has been postponed until Tuesday, 8 February. For performer registrations, contact: 0427 499 336 (Matthew Clarke).
84 Charing Cross Road
Based on the memoirs of New York author Helene Hanff and her 20-year correspondence and friendship with the British bookseller who provided her with rare and cherished volumes. Newcastle Theatre Company, DeVitre Street, Lambton. 19 January (8pm), 20 (8pm), 21 (8pm) and 22 (2pm and 8pm). Bookings: https://au.patronbase.com/_NewcastleTheatreCompany/Productions/84C/Performances
The Sweet Caroline Tour: A Tribute to Neil Diamond
Australian performer Zac Coombs and an international band salute the classic hits of the popular American singer/songwriter. Civic Theatre. 20 January (8pm). Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au
Alice in Wonderland
The young students of Hunter Drama with a musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic about a young girl’s madcap adventures when she falls through a rabbit hole and into a fantasy world. Runs for 60 minutes. Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, Vincent Street. 21 January (11am and 7pm) and 22 January (2pm and 7pm). Tickets: https://cpac.sales.ticketsearch.com/sales/salesevent?ev=10126
The Whisky and Craft Spirits Festival
A huge variety of global whiskies and craft spirits to sample, plus a VIP lunch, masterclasses, and a chance to meet the world’s leading producers of spirits. An 18+ event. Babylon, 145 King Street, Newcastle. 22 January (12.30pm-8.30pm). Tickets: https://www.babylonnewcastle.com.au/events-1/2021-whisky-and-craft-spirits-festival
The John Lennon Songbook
A live rendition of John Lennon’s Imagine album, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, performed by John Waters, pianist Stewart D’Arrietta and The Liverpool Band. James Theatre, Dungog. 22 January (7.30pm). Bookings essential as tickets will sell quickly: https://www.trybooking.com/BSXGR
The Bar and BBQ Festival
An inaugural family event featuring food trucks, drinks, a barbecue competition, market stalls and live entertainment, plus exciting stunts from the Aussie FMX team. Dalwood Estate, 700 Dalwood Road, Dalwood. 22 January (10am-9pm) and 23 January (10am-4pm).
Beware the Jabberwock
Ron Nicol’s fantasy comedy, based on the Lewis Carroll poem Jabberwocky and featuring a cast of young performers. Two girls, lost in a mysterious forest full of weird and wonderful creatures, try to find their way home with the help of an intrepid, but hapless, knight. The Community Hive, 152 Beaumont Street, Hamilton. 24 January (11am), 25 (11am and 2pm), 27 (11am and 2pm) and 28 (2pm). Tickets are for general admission, with no allocated seating (unless accessibility is required). Tickets: https://ypt.org.au/bookings
The Creedence Clearwater Collective
Australian performer John Fogerty and five musicians salute the classic hits of the American rock band. City Hall. 28 January (8pm). Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au
The Majishans: Nashville – A Rock Odyssey
The four-member Hunter Valley band The Majishans combines spoken word with original and interconnected songs to tell the wild story of band members whose plane crash-lands in the Australian desert on the way to a gig in Nashville. Royal Exchange Salon Theatre, 34 Bolton Street, Newcastle. 28-29 January (9pm each evening). Tickets: https://www.trybooking.com/book/sessions?eid=850675
We Can Be Heroes: The Music of David Bowie Orchestrated
A 24-piece orchestra and four singers, conducted by George Ellis, salute the David Bowie songbook. Civic Theatre. 29 January (8pm). Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au
A local ensemble with saucy burlesque, circus, drag and sideshow acts. 60 minutes (no interval). Ages 18+. Civic Playhouse. 29 January (8pm). Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au
The Storybook Experience: The Night Before the Night Before Christmas
Never before seen in Australia – a free family Yuletide exhibition brought to life by more than 100 animatronic puppets, with customers following the stepping-stones for each page of the story. Maitland Riverside Plaza, beginning outside ALDI. Daily (9am-6pm) until 10 January.
Hunter Valley Gardens
Spectacular Christmas-themed displays featuring more than three-million lights, plus rides, amusements and roving entertainment. Broke Road, Pokolbin. Daily (5.30pm-10.30pm) until 26 January. Tickets to be booked online: https://www.huntervalleygardens.com.au/events/christmas-lights-spectacular/
Newcastle Art Gallery
Instrumental Cause: A series of portraits showing the abilities of artists to connect, capture and create imaginings of the human guise.
The Art of Protest: Photos, artwork and sculpture by politically-engaged artists which highlight more than a century of Australian community activism, awareness and the fight against injustice.
Jam Factory Icon: South Australian artist Angela Valamanesh’s watercolours, drawings and ceramic sculptures linking the human form with plant species.
Laman Street. Tuesdays-Sundays (10am-5pm) until 30 January. For Christmas closing times, see: https://www.nag.org.au
Lovett Gallery, Newcastle Library
A View of Newcastle: A display of postcards and panoramas showing the built environment on the Newcastle landscape since colonial times. Laman Street. Mondays-Fridays (9.30am-5pm) and Saturdays (9.30am-2pm) until 5 February. For Christmas closing times, see: https://newcastle.nsw.gov.au/library
Maitland Art Gallery
The 2021 Archibald Prize: Australia’s oldest and most engaging portraiture event, with Peter Wegner’s portrait of 100-year-old artist Guy Warren winning the prize. From January 22 until 6 March.
A Conspicuous Object – The Maitland Hospital: Artworks capturing the diversity of the hospital’s chequered history since the 1840s. Until 6 February.
Lost Property Office: Reveals the 18-month process of creating the short film Lost Property Office, which was meticulously handcrafted from recycled cardboard by artist and filmmaker Daniel Agdag. Until 20 February.
Storylines: A display of drawing by six artists of the historical timeline of Australia, which has been intersected with modern practices to offer a different view of our history. The subjects include Phar Lap, a death in custody, animal extinction and the Australian High Court. Until 27 February.
The Young Archies: A display of portraits by 50 students, aged between 5 and 18, from 14 Hunter schools. From 26 February until 24 April.
High Street. Tuesdays-Sundays (10am-5pm). Closes at 3pm Christmas Eve and reopens on 29 December.
Museum of Art and Culture (MAC)
Truth in Fire: Works by photographer and filmmaker Tim Georgeson, including stills, moving images and sound installations, to emphasise the devastating effect of the bushfires of 2019/2020.
Yapang – Emerging Art Prize Finalists: Works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists which include painting, drawing, photography and installation.
First Street, Booragul. Tuesdays-Sundays (9am-3pm) until 20 February. Closes at midday Christmas Eve and reopens on 29 December.
Broken Chains – Prisoners Unlocking Potential: Portraits by author and former prisoner Damian Linnane of current and formerly incarcerated people, with information on their accomplishments. Bunn Street. Mondays-Fridays (9.30am-5pm), Saturdays (9.30am-2pm) and Sundays (1.30pm-5pm) until 27 February. For Christmas closing times, see: https://newcastle.nsw.gov.au/library
Oh, Yeah . . . I Forgot About That: The museum celebrates its 10th anniversary with artworks by Trevor Dickinson which highlight the changes in Newcastle’s landscape over the past decade. Includes a salute to the good old days of Hexham’s much-loved Oak Milk Bar. Until 27 February.
The Great Baby Dinosaur Show: A display of animatronic baby dinosaurs, including triceratops and velociraptors, with children encouraged to vote for the Best in Show Award. Until 13 March. Bookings required: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=822153&
Honeysuckle. Tuesdays-Sundays (10am-5pm). For holiday closing times, see: https://www.newcastlemuseum.com.au
Rathmines Heritage Centre
Windows Into Wartime: Historic images, taken during and immediately after World War One, revealing the various ways in which the people of New South Wales responded to the impact and upheaval caused by the hostilities. Stilling Street. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (10am-2pm) until 27 February. Gold-coin admission.
Capturing Nature: A touring exhibit from the Australian Museum offering a first-time public look at Australia’s earliest natural history photographs, taken between 1857 and 1893. The images have been printed from glass-plate negatives and show a time when photography was revolutionising science, art and society. Swansea Centre, Pacific Highway. Wednesdays-Sundays (10am-2pm) until 13 March. Gold-coin admission.