15 Events to Add to Your Calendar this September

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With the spectacle of AFL and NRL finals and festivals such as Floriade, September is packed full of exciting events. Here are our top 15.

Brisbane Festival

With music, theatre, dance and comedy shows as well as film screenings, talks and art exhibitions, the Brisbane Festival is set to attract more than a million people this year. Don’t miss Sunsuper Riverfire, a pyrotechnic show matched to a thumping soundtrack that will light up the city skyline on the final night of the three-week festival.

WHERE: Brisbane
WHEN: September 5-26

AFL finals series

For Australia’s AFL states – particularly football-mad Melbourne – it has all come down to this: the final series battle to see which two teams from the top eight will slog it out for the Premiership flag. During September, the footy season reaches fever pitch, culminating in the grand final at the greatest arena of all – the MCG – on October 3.

WHERE: Various locations
WHEN: September 11-October 3

Sydney Contemporary

Almost 100 galleries from 13 countries are exhibiting at Sydney Contemporary art fair, in the historic Carriageworks arts precinct. The price of admission gives you access to the most exciting works being produced today. The Paper Contemporary section, with prints from emerging artists, lets you buy into the art market without breaking the bank.

WHERE: Carriageworks, Sydney
WHEN: September 10-13

Floriade

This is the biggest celebration of spring in Australia, attracting more than 400,000 visitors. But there’s more to Floriade than the daytime display of one million flowers at Canberra’s Commonwealth Park. NightFest (September 23-27), the ticketed twilight affair, is back for the eighth consecutive year with live music, comedy performances and lightshows.

WHERE: Canberra
WHEN: September 12-October 11

Marina Abramović: Private Archaeology

This major solo exhibition, curated by MONA’s Nicole Durling and Olivier Varenne, celebrates the work of one of the most important performance artists of our time. Documenting a career spanning more than 40 years, it includes photographs, sculptures, sound pieces, video and interactive works. Open daily except Tuesdays. 

WHERE: MONA, Hobart
WHEN: Until October 5

The Sleeping Beauty

David McAllister’s direction and lavish sets and costumes by Gabriela Tylesova – lauded for her work on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies – combine with one of Tchaikovsky’s finest scores to make a truly magical night at the ballet. After its Melbourne run the show travels to Perth (October 7-10) and Sydney (November 27-December 16).  

WHERE: State Theatre, Melbourne
WHEN: September 15-26

Circa tour

Circa’s innovative blend of dance, theatre, music and acrobatics has been seen in 33 countries across six continents. Catch their show Beyond in Cairns (September 3-5) or Newcastle (September 18-19), or Carnival of the Animals in Sydney (September 19-October 4) or Melbourne (September 28-October 4).

WHERE: Cairns, Newcastle, Sydney and Melbourne
WHEN: Throughout September

Darwin International Film Festival

The Darwin International Film Festival is back for the sixth time with an eclectic line-up of Australian, European and Asian films. There’s also a weekend of intensive workshops on new filmmaking technology. The highlight of the festival is the local premiere of Another Country, a feature doco from Rolf de Heer and David Gulpilil.

WHERE: Deckchair Cinema, Darwin
WHEN: September 16-23

OzAsia Festival

Around 300 artists from countries such as Indonesia, Japan and China will perform at OzAsia Festival, which is expected to attract 100,000 people over its 11 days. There will be live theatre, dance and music performances as well as art exhibitions, film screenings and the Moon Lantern Festival – Australia’s largest lantern parade – on September 27.

WHERE: Adelaide Festival Centre
WHEN: September 24-October 4

Royal Adelaide Show

The Show, as it’s known to locals, is South Australia’s largest annual event and features carnival rides, cooking demonstrations, animal shows and fashion parades. There’s a dedicated Kids’ Carnival area that’s great for smaller children, though they’ll still be keen to visit the Wayville Pavilion to grab a showbag or five – there are more than 300 to choose from.

WHERE: Adelaide Showground
WHEN: September 4-13

Perth Fashion Festival

Australian labels such as Empire Rose, Jamie Lee, Ae’lkemi and Steph Audino will show their latest creations at Western Australia’s premier fashion event. Highlights include Akira Isogawa’s WA runway debut and the closing night show that sees burlesque star and designer Dita Von Teese strut the catwalk for the Wheels and Dollbaby label.

WHERE: Perth
WHEN: September 15-20

Arms and the Man

In this Sydney Theatre Company production, Richard Cottrell directs George Bernard Shaw’s classic comic play set during the 1885 Serbo-Bulgarian War. Mitchell Butel portrays a demoralised Swiss soldier who takes refuge in the home of a blindly romantic Bulgarian woman, Raina Petkoff (played by Andrea Demetriades). The result is a typically quirky love story.

WHERE: Sydney Opera House
WHEN: September 14-October 31

Swell Sculpture Festival

More than 50 sculptures by local, national and international artists dot Currumbin’s Pacific Parade during this 10-day festival, now in its 13th year. There are artist talks, walks with curators and workshops. Learn how to sculpt a fly from wire, create a bag from felt or sketch sculptures while the kids enjoy activities such as painting paper parasols.

WHERE: Currumbin
WHEN: September 11-20

NRL finals series

After 26 rounds of bruising encounters, the National Rugby League season comes down to four thrilling weeks of high-stakes finals football. Whether your team dominated all year and finished at the top of the ladder or were lucky to scrape into the top eight, there’s a chance they’ll raise the coveted Provan-Summons trophy come October 4. 

WHERE: Various locations
WHEN: September 11-October 4

Duathlon Championships

Set against the backdrop of Lake Burley Griffin and Parliament House, the ACT Duathlon Championships is a 15km run and 40km cycle event. It’s open to everyone from beginners to Australia’s best duathletes, who are racing as a lead-in to the World Duathlon Championships being held in Adelaide three weeks later. 

WHERE: Canberra
WHEN: September 27

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