A host of exciting cultural and sporting events are taking place in Australia this month – from the Melbourne International Film Festival to the Netball World Cup. Here’s our top 15.
Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great
With more than 500 works by artists including Rembrandt, Rubens, Velázquez and Van Dyck, this exhibition showcases one of the world’s finest collections. It’s also an insight into the life and times of the longest-ruling female leader of Russia, Catherine the Great.
WHERE: National Gallery of Victoria
WHEN: Until November 8
Netball World Cup
After 24 years, the harbour city is again the host of the Netball World Cup. Catch all the action at Sydney Olympic Park as 192 players from 16 countries take part in 64 matches over 10 days to determine the world’s best. How will the reigning champions, Australia’s Diamonds, fare against stiff competition from New Zealand, England and South Africa?
WHEN: August 7-16
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival
Frock up for six days of catwalk shows as some of Australia’s top fashion designers – from Alex Perry to Toni Maticevski – come together for the 10th anniversary of Brisbane’s Fashion Festival. Events include QueensPlaza High Tea Fashion Trends (August 26) and the Fleet Fashion Boutique (August 24-27) at the State Library of Queensland.
WHEN: August 23-28
Melbourne International Film Festival
Some of the most intriguing movies from Cannes will screen at the 64th Melbourne International Film Festival. Among the highlights is Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster. Starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, it’s set in a dystopian future where single adults are turned into animals and hunted if they can’t find a mate within 45 days. If fashion (and compelling 93 year olds) is more your thing, don't miss Iris, a documentary about "New York style icon" Iris Apfel.
WHEN: Until August 16
Just a 10-minute drive from Devonport and home to quaint cafés, boutiques and the one-day chocolate fest, Latrobe is worth a detour. More than 35 Winterfest activities will take place across 24 venues in the town. Get ready for chocolate- themed masterclasses and high teas and check out the chocolate-painted “living statues” outside the Latrobe Memorial Hall.
WHEN: August 9
Bledisloe Cup Festival
Witness one of the most exciting rivalries in sport as the Qantas Wallabies take on the All Blacks on August 8 at ANZ Stadium. But there’s more to the Bledisloe Cup than the match. Meet the Wallabies in Darling Harbour (August 6) or watch some Australian rugby greats tee off at the Bledisloe Cup Corporate Golf Day (August 7) at Manly Golf Club.
WHEN: August 6-8
Mountain Bike Grand Prix
The fourth round of the Mountain Bike Grand Prix gets into gear at Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra. The competition will be tough as some 350 of the country’s strongest mountain bikers race circuits of more than 8km for up to seven hours in a real test of endurance. There’s plenty for spectators, too, including picnics and free races for kids.
WHEN: August 15
Melbourne Writers Festival
Louis de Bernières – author of bestselling novels Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Red Dog – will kick off the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival with a keynote address at the city’s Town Hall. More than 400 writers and thinkers will participate in the festival, which coincides with the launch of Bernières’s new book, The Dust that Falls from Dreams.
WHEN: August 20-30
Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vignacourt
During World War I, hundreds of Australian soldiers stopped at the French village Vignacourt, where many posed for portraits for Louis Thuillier and his wife, Antoinette. Now, almost 100 years on, 74 prints selected from the 800 glass-plate negatives donated to the Australian War Memorial feature in this moving exhibition.
WHERE: Museum of Western Australia, Perth
WHEN: Until August 30
Darwin Festival is back for the 36th time with an eclectic 18-day program of events, ranging from comedy and dance shows to art exhibitions and plays. The highlight of the festival is Prison Songs – a multimedia concert featuring live music and starring singer-songwriter Shellie Morris, actor Ernie Dingo and cabaret artist Kamahi Djordon King.
WHEN: August 6-23
Dance Dialogues is a collection of short pieces choreographed by emerging artists and performed by Queensland ballet company’s youngest dancers. Watch out for La Mente, a seven-minute neoclassical piece by Vito Bernasconi, set to composer Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight”, and Memorybox, a 10-minute act by Jack Lister.
WHERE: Thomas Dixon Centre, Brisbane
WHEN: August 28 to September 5
Since it was established in 1998, the annual South Australian Living Artists Festival has celebrated the diverse talent of painters, photographers, sculptors and textile artists across the state. The month-long event is the largest visual-arts festival in the country, exhibiting the works of more than 5000 artists – young and old – across 500 venues in South Australia.
WHERE: South Australia
WHEN: August 1-31
Barossa Gourmet Weekend
Barossa Gourmet Weekend is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with more than 30 leading restaurateurs and winemakers displaying (and expertly using) the best of the region’s produce. Get ready for long luncheons, cooking demonstrations, masterclasses and visits to farmers markets brimming with seasonal local produce.
WHEN: August 14-16
Glow Winter Arts Festival
Spread over Melbourne suburbs such as Prahran, Malvern, Armadale, Toorak, Windsor and South Yarra, this 11-day event features more than 50 free and ticketed events – from theatre performances to art shows. There’s an open-air ice-skating rink and the team behind the Gertrude Street Projection Festival will light up Greville Street, Prahran.
WHEN: August 13-23
The Marriage of Figaro
Soprano Nicole Car takes on the role of Rosina, the countess in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro – an 18th-century opera in four acts. A sequel to The Barber of Seville, it recounts one day in the palace of Count Almaviva in Spain. Rosina is in love with the count, who’s smitten by the countess’s maidservant Susanna, who in turn is engaged to Figaro – and so it goes on.
WHERE: Sydney Opera House
WHEN: August 6-29