This month’s top sports and cultural events. Compiled by Rob Badman, Emma Mullholand and Chris Ryan.
Alliance Française French Film Festival
As France was the birthplace of cinema, the depth of talent on show at this festival never fails to impress. Some 45 films will screen nationally and this year, 17 female directors will be represented. Don’t miss award winners It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la Fin du Monde) and Things to Come (L’Avenir), starring Isabelle Huppert.
WHEN: March 7-April 23
￼WHERE: Palace Cinemas
Taste of Sydney
At least 25,000 attendees over four days are expected to partake in culinary worship amid the manicured surroundings of the Centennial Parklands. Twelve of Sydney’s finest restaurants will serve signature dishes and there’ll be more world-class chefs displaying their skills than you can poke a bread stick at, including Nelly Robinson of Wentworth Avenue eatery Nel. Visit sydney.tastefestivals.com
WHEN: March 9-12
WHERE: Centennial Parklands, Sydney
A new age of enlightenment may not be upon us but, for 10 days at least, Canberra will see the lights during this vivid celebration of creativity and culture. The city’s iconic buildings – including the National Gallery of Australia and Parliament House – will be illuminated with dazzling colours, while ticketed and free events are set to entertain across the heart of the capital.
WHEN: March 3-12
WHERE: Various venues, Canberra￼
Canberra Comedy Festival ￼
There are jokes aplenty coming out of Australia’s capital – and we’re not just talking about the funny business at Parliament House. International acts and hilarious newcomers join local faves such as Dave Hughes, Hannah Gadsby and Nick Cody for a week’s worth of side-splitting laughs. Go to canberracomedyfestival.com.au
WHEN: March 20-26
Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix￼
An Aussie driver hasn’t won this race since 1980, when Alan Jones (nope, not that one) won by more than a lap. We’re not saying it’s likely to happen this year but, with Daniel Ricciardo behind the wheel for Red Bull Racing, you never know. He’ll need to be in top form to beat Mercedes’ British ace, Lewis Hamilton, and McLaren’s Spanish gun, Fernando Alonso.
WHEN: March 23-26
￼WHERE: Albert Park, Melbourne
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival￼
From Melbourne’s CBD to the Mornington Peninsula, Great Ocean Road, Grampians and beyond, you’ll love every piece of Victoria served up at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, now in its 25th year. The wide-ranging program involves food trucks, classic Victorian high teas, numerous wine, beer and cider events and “Ned Kelly’s Last Meal”.
WHEN: March 31-April 9
￼WHERE: Various venues, Victoria
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Melburnians love a good belly laugh as much as filling said bellies with food and wine. And this festival of funny, the third-largest of its kind anywhere, is gearing up again to host the world’s best comics. Sharp-tongued American star Ruby Wax is on the bill this year, along with locals Wil Anderson, Joel Creasey and many others.
WHEN: March 29-April 23
WHERE: Various venues, Melbourne
The Australian Ballet is putting its dancers through their paces with Faster. Choreographed by David Bintley in the year of the London Olympics, it’s inspired by the Games motto “Faster, Higher, Stronger” and is known for testing dancers’ athleticism and stamina. Performed with two other contemporary ballets, the triple bill moves to Sydney in April.
WHEN: March 17-27
WHERE: Arts Centre Melbourne
Puccini’s Floria Tosca (Antoinette Halloran) is faced with an impossible decision: she can save her lover from death if she accepts the advances of the venomous Baron Scarpia (Teddy Tahu Rhodes), chief of the secret police. This New Zealand Opera production, performed by the West Australian Opera, is a classic take on one of the most dramatic – and most loved – works.
WHEN: March 28-April 8
WHERE: His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth
For more than 55 years, the Adelaide Festival has turned it on for audiences with a mix of brilliant local and global acts. Neil Armfield and Rachel Healy are taking the helm as artistic co-directors and their program, which is already generating buzz, includes performer Rufus Wainwright and British theatre company Complicite’s latest work, The Encounter.
WHEN: March 3-19
WHERE: Various venues, Adelaide
Adelaide Writers’ Week
Pull up a rug and plonk yourself by the Torrens River for this mind-enriching free event that’s part of the Adelaide Festival. Among the literary luminaries in attendance will be Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist Jane Smiley and Australian John Marsden of Tomorrow, When the War Began fame. This year’s overarching theme is “borders”.
WHEN: March 4-9
WHERE: Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden, Adelaide￼
The Adelaide chapter of WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) is celebrating its 25th anniversary. This cultural extravaganza will bring some of the world’s most talented entertainers to the city’s lush Botanic Park, including British ska-fusion legends The Specials, America’s Philip Glass Ensemble and Brazilian bossa nova queen Bebel Gilberto.
WHEN: March 10-13
WHERE: Botanic Park, Adelaide
World Science Festival
Science isn’t just for boffins peering at Petri dishes. A case in point is the World Science Festival – a treat for all ages. Learn about the Large Hadron Collider, our planet’s future, driverless vehicles and renewable energy, and open your mind to infinite possibilities and probabilities. Last year there were 247 participants and exhibitors from across the globe. This one should be even bigger.
WHEN: March 22-26
WHERE: Various venues, Brisbane
The Gold Coast’s largest arts fest returns with more music, dance, comedy and eccentric fun. From the beach to city streets, a varied program of events will enthral the region. Aim to see the offbeat theatrical dance production Frank Enstein, a creative collaboration of The Farm and dance company Co3, as well as the thrilling cabaret-style show Blanc de Blanc.
WHEN: March 31-April 16
￼WHERE: Various venues, Gold Coast￼
Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro
Powerful right-handers. Bottom turns. Going off at the Superbank. If you know what any of this means, get yourself to the Goldie’s famed surf break, Snapper Rocks, for the start of the men’s and women’s World Surf League Championship Tours. Watch stars of the sport Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Matt Wilkinson, Stephanie Gilmore and Gabriel Medina carve it up. ￼
WHEN: March 14-25
WHERE: Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast
Castlemaine State Festival￼
Some of Australia’s finest gold-rush-era buildings are given new life as they become venues for about 400 artists and more than 100 Australian and international acts during this festival, which covers literature, cinema, dance, performance art and more.
WHEN: March 17-26
Ten Days on the Island
￼This biennial fest will feature 80 events at 38 locations across the state and more than 720 performers and artists from 15 countries. The Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre will be one to catch for its energetic interpretation of an ancient Chinese legend, White Snake. And don’t miss rock ’n’ roll cabaret The God That Comes starring Hawksley Workman.
￼WHEN: March 16-26
WHERE: Various venues, Tasmania
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