Sculptures At Scratchley

The second annual exhibition of some 150 works by more than 75 artists adorning the grounds of Fort Scratchley and placed strategically to optimise the superb ocean views.  Nobbys Road, Newcastle East.  Friday, Saturday and finishing Sunday (10am-4pm).    

Lake Cinema: 62 Main Road, Boolaroo

The Taste of Things (M): A sumptuous French drama, with Juliette Binoche, about the 19th-century romance between a celebrated cook and a famed gourmet.  In French with English subtitles.  Friday (4.30pm); Saturday and Sunday (11.30am and 4.30pm).

Before Dawn (M): A drama, set during World War One and featuring Levi Miller, about a virtuous young man leaving the family sheep station in Western Australia to serve with fellow Anzacs on the western front.  Friday (7.30pm); Saturday and Sunday (2.30pm and 7.30pm).

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

Candlelight Concerts

A choice of two one-hour live musical experiences performed by string quartet Phoenix Collective under the gentle glow of flameless candles. Concert One (6.30pm): Magical Movie Soundtracks, including tunes from Mary Poppins, The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, as well as The Avengers theme and a medley from Pirates of the CaribbeanConcert Two (8.30pm):  A tribute to the music of British rock band Coldplay and American rock/pop band Imagine Dragons.  Adamstown Uniting Church, 228 Brunker Road.  Friday.  Tickets available online.  Seating for each concert is assigned on a first come/first served basis. 

Concert One: https://feverup.com/m/165388

Concert Two: https://feverup.com/m/156422

Love and Information

Hunter Drama presents a witty and thought-provoking series of loosely-connected scenes delving into the complexities of human connection in the digital age, highlighting the ways in which love and information intersect and shape our lives.  Civic Playhouse.  Friday (7pm) and finishing Saturday (2pm and 7pm).  Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au

The Mousetrap  

Agatha Christie’s celebrated whodunnit, and the world’s longest-running play, about seven people stranded in a country hotel during a snowstorm . . . and one of them is seeking murderous revenge.  A professional touring production, directed by Australian actor Robyn Nevin, to celebrate the play’s 71st birthday.  Civic Theatre.  Friday (7.30pm) and finishing Saturday (2pm and 7.30pm).  Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au

Dark Stories: A True Crime Tour – Maitland

Guided tours of Maitland’s alleyways and backstreets to learn of the city’s dark criminal history.  Departs on Friday (7.30pm) from the entrance to Maitland Railway Station.  Bookings: https://darkstories.com.au/maitland/

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 Years       

The popular six-member local band with rock hits of the 70s, 80s and 90s.  Blackbutt Hotel, 80 Orchardtown Road, New Lambton.  Friday (8.30pm).  Performing also at Bradford Hotel, 358 New England Highway, Rutherford, on Saturday (8pm).

The Central Coast Air Show

Thrilling aerobatics, historic warbirds, RAAF and military displays, Matt Mingay’s Hot Wheels Stunt Team, markets, street food and amusements.  Central Coast Airport, Jack Grant Avenue, Warnervale.  Saturday and Sunday (from 9am each day).  Tickets: https://www.centralcoastairshow.com.au/tickets

Open Day: Botanic Gardens

All welcome to enjoy the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens and its 25 themed spaces, herbarium, orchid houses and conservation programmes, as well as guest speakers, guided tours, plant sales and a sausage sizzle.  2100 Pacific Highway, Heatherbrae.  Saturday (9am-2pm).  Free entry. 

The Lake Mac Autumn Fair

A free-entry event which includes non-stop entertainment, train/pony rides, classic car exhibits, a petting zoo, food stalls and displays by local emergency services.  Speers Point Park.  Saturday (9am-4pm).  2NURFM’s Mark Rorke will broadcast live from the event (9am-midday). 

The Africa Day Festival

All welcome to celebrate the 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Unity (AU), with this year’s theme of education aiming to build resilient and quality teaching systems throughout Africa.  Features fun activities and African-style cuisine, music, craft and market stalls.  Islington Public School, 17-39 Hubbard Street.  Saturday (10am-3pm).

Model Kit Swap-n-Sell

Hunter Scale Modellers offers the chance to buy/swap/sell a variety of model kits.  Hexham Bowling Club, 290 Old Maitland Road.  Saturday and Sunday (10am-3.30pm each day)A gold-coin entry.

Charity Family Fun Day

All invited to welcome a convoy of cars returning from Variety’s week-long charity adventure around northern New South Wales and southern Queensland; and to enjoy food stalls, a petting zoo, live entertainment and fun activities.  Foreshore Park, Wharf Road, Newcastle.  Saturday (11am-3pm)No registration needed – just turn up!  

Hostage

A new comedy/thriller, by Australian playwright Cerise de Gelder, about five female bank employees taken captive and facing possible death at the hands of two robbers.  Contains mild coarse language.  Newcastle Theatre Company, 90 DeVitre Street, Lambton.  Saturday (7.30pm) and Sunday (2pm).  Also: 29 May (7.30pm), 31 (7.30pm); 1 June (2pm and 7.30pm), 5 (7.30pm), 7 (7.30pm) and finishing 8 (7.30pm).  Tickets: https://au.patronbase.com/_NewcastleTheatreCompany/Productions/HOST/Performances

Solid Gold Party Night

Free music-and-dance fun with DJ Dave Cochrane playing non-stop 60s-90s hits.  Cessnock Leagues Club, 1-7 Darwin Street.  Saturday (8pm-midnight).

Concert: Serenade For Strings

The Christ Church Camerata and orchestra (conducted by David Banney), plus guest baritone Christopher Allan, with Gerald Finzi’s song cycle Let Us Garlands Bring, Josef Suk’s Serenade For Strings, and melodies by Franz Schubert and Edvard Grieg.  Christ Church Cathedral, 50 Church Street, Newcastle.  Sunday (2.30pm).  Tickets: at the door or https://www.stickytickets.com.au/2vgtj/serenade_for_strings.aspx

How Do We Fix a Turbulent World?

Australian barrister/author Geoffrey Robertson KC, one of the world’s great legal minds, with a witty and provocative analysis of current affairs and ideas on how to save our mad world.  Civic Theatre.  Tuesday, 28 May (7.30pm).  Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au

Tuesday Night Jazz: The Grand

A reunion gig for sextet Sphere performing driving swing and tasty jazz grooves.  Features the original lineup of Grant Metcalfe (alto-sax), Adam Ferrier (trumpet), Paul Isaacs (tenor-sax), Gavin Ahearn (piano), Andrew Wallace (bass) and Dave Richardson (drums).  The Grand Hotel, 32 Church Street, Newcastle.  Tuesday, 28 May (7.30pm).  Tickets: https://www.thegrandnewcastle.com.au/events

Macbeth

A screening of an acclaimed and modernised London stage production of Shakespeare’s drama, with Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma, about a couple corrupted by their relentless lust for power.  Civic Playhouse.  Wednesday, 29 May (11am and 7pm).  Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au

The Grand Kyiv Ballet of Ukraine

A double-bill of superb and inspiring ballet in two acts.  Forest Song is a magical love story describing a desperate search for peace during a conflict between nature and the human world.  Don Quixote, a much-loved and lavish Spanish romantic comedy, tells of a troubled man’s courageous quest for love amid gypsies and bullfighters.  Civic Theatre.  29 and 30 May (7.30pm each day).  Tickets: 4929 1977 or https://civictheatrenewcastle.com.au

Thursday Jazz Jam: The Grand

Features the Jeremy Borthwick House Band, with musos invited to jam.  The Grand Hotel, 32 Church Street, Newcastle.  Thursday, 30 May (7.30pm).  Tickets: https://www.thegrandnewcastle.com.au/events

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.  

Port Stephens Art Centre 

Flora and Fauna / Mixed Media: A group exhibition by local artists whose work celebrates the diversity of the Port Stephens region by capturing the vibrant essence of native wildlife and plants.  Cultural Place, off Shoal Bay Road, Nelson Bay.  Mondays-Saturdays (10am-4pm) and Sundays (10am-1pm).  Until 28 May. 

Hunter Wetlands Centre 

A Brush With Nature: Local artists celebrate the dazzling array of colour found in the wetlands environment, especially the seasonal changes to the floral landscape.  1 Wetlands Place, Shortland.  Daily (9am-4pm).  Until 31 May. 

Museum of Art and Culture (MAC)

Voices From the Void: Daniel O’Toole’s installation of custom-made brass drums which are tuned to a chord, creating an evolving soundscape when interacted with.  Until 2 June.   

Colour Scores: Amy Jane Scully’s photographic document of fervent fields of colour found in the bush, the beach and urban debris, as well as in glass and sea-tumbled plastic.  Until 2 June.   

Absolute Colour: Maizie Karen Turner, Daniel O’Toole and Amy Jane Scully with works composing colour in purposeful play, while exploring the dark voids which have no colour.  Until 2 June.   

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

Cooks Hill Galleries 

Paintings From Sketchbooks: Traditional-style watercolour paintings by David Beschi which began as drawings in the many sketchbooks he has amassed over the years.  65 Bull Street.  Wednesdays-Saturdays (10am-5pm).  Until 8 June. 

Back-to-Back Galleries 

Time, Space and Light: Three ceramic artists, two painters and a photographer explore the various ways time, space and light can be conceived and observed so that we may be inspired to think about the world and our time and place in it.  57 Bull Street, Cooks Hill.  Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (11am-5pm).  Until 9 June.  All welcome to enjoy light refreshments and a chat with the artists at the opening on Friday, May 24 (6pm-8pm). 

Maitland Regional Art Gallery 

Find Me in the Flowers: Prudence De Marchi’s golden-hued floral paintings celebrate and explore the simple beauty of autumn.  Until 9 June. 

Settled/Unsettled: An emphasis on asylum-seekers, refugees and migrant experiences with four artists exploring conflict and cultural displacement.  Until 9 June. 

Pregnant Woman: A monumental work by Ron Mueck which celebrates birth, motherhood, family and the marvels of humanity.  Until 23 June. 

Small Museum: Simone Rosenbauer’s photographs of 41 Australian community museums highlight the world of true collectors and their cultural treasures.   Until 30 June.

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

Maitland Regional Museum, Brough House

Greta Camp – 75 Years: Commemorates the 600 European refugees, many of them families displaced by World War Two, who arrived at the Greta Migrant Camp in 1949 to begin a new life and who changed the face of Australian society with their vast cultural and economic contribution.  73 Church Street.  Saturdays and Sundays (10am-3pm).  Until 23 June.  Tickets at the door.

Lighthouse Arts

Repurposed: A fresh perspective on overlooked and discarded materials which have been transformed into distinctive works of art by seven local artists.  Nobbys Lighthouse.  Saturdays and Sundays (10am-4pm).  Until 23 June.   

Lovett Gallery 

Railway Portraits: A photographic display of the golden age of the NSW steam locomotives captured in the 1960s by brothers Bruce and Robert Wheatley, whose 35mm shots include people, places and locomotives in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley.  Second Floor, Newcastle Library, 15 Laman Street, Newcastle.  Mondays-Fridays (9.30am-5pm) and Saturdays (9.30am-2pm).  Until 11 July. 

Newcastle Museum 

Reception This Way – Motels: A nostalgic look at yesteryear’s motels, which were an integral part of Aussie holiday life from the 1950s to the 1980s.  Includes photos, State roadmaps and travellers’ anecdotes.  6 Workshop Way, Honeysuckle.  Tuesdays-Sundays (10am-5pm).  Until 14 July.            

Coming Soon – The Lake Macquarie Dobell Festival

A month-long celebration of the late and esteemed local artist William Dobell with workshops, presentations, exhibitions, and music and theatre performances.  Various Lake Macquarie venues.  1-30 June.  Details: https://www.arts.lakemac.com.au