Arts-filled summer awaits in Lake Macquarie

Published on 22 December 2021


Image on right: Ocean Garden by Goldberg Aberline Studio photo by Cassandra Hannigan.

Dive into a dreamy underwater seascape, explore striking art work by emerging indigenous artists and take in uplifting performances under a blanket of stars.

An enticing arts-filled festive season awaits at Lake Macquarie. Here are five show stopping events not to miss this summer. 


January 15 - 21

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Image: Andy Firth on the clarinet.

Giant starfish, turtles and technicolour sea creatures beckon while brass, yidaki (didgeridoo) and synth thunder across the lake as part of the week-long summer festival, Press Play.

Speers Point Park will be transformed into a dreamy underwater garden of larger-than-life sea creatures when celebrations kick off January 15 at the cutting edge new Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima (MAP mima). 

Marvel at the whimsical Ocean Garden installation featuring inflatable sea creatures or join makers Maurice and Matt from Goldberg Aberline Studio for a workshop to tap into your own creative flow. 

Come sundown composer Andy Firth’s MAP mima Fanfare takes to the stage. Choreographed specially for the new arts pavilion by one of the world's finest clarinet and saxophone players, this captivating piece melds brass, yidaki (didgeridoo) and synth. 

Afterwards the celebrations continue with an evening light show and disco with DJ Pucko.

Read about all the Press Play events being held from January 15 - 21 including creative workshops, roving performers and a magical picnic.


January 16

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Image: 'Drift' dance performance by Catapult at Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima.

If you missed Catapult's evocative performance of Drift then book your ticket for one final show set against the dramatic backdrop of Lake Macquarie’s shoreline. 

Nine dancers from Catapult return to captivate audiences one last time as part of the week-long Press Play festival.

The 45-minute show, yet another specially commissioned piece for the Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima, echoes the water, wind, air and coastline of Lake Macquarie.

This explosive performance takes audiences on a journey exploring how the patterns of nature are reflected in the body and the randomness of direction is influenced by an external force.

Designed to set you adrift, enjoy this superb performance from the Hunter's very own dance company as the sun sinks over Lake Macquarie.

Love alfresco performances by the water? Don’t miss Music by the Lake by the Lake Macquarie Philharmonic Orchestra at MAP mima on February 13.


Until February 20

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Image: Tim Georgeson, Victor, 2021. Colour inks on paper.

Renowned film maker Tim Georgeson’s thought provoking exhibition 'Truth in Fire' is another must-see event this summer.

The powerful and moving exhibition offers a response to the catastrophic Australian bushfires of 2019/20 and the significance of First Nations knowledge and fire practices.

“It's really important for people in Australia to understand that Australia is a fire country, and how important it is for all of us, for our ecological survival, that fire is managed the right way,” Georgeson said.

Georgeson’s moving image work Requiem for a forest is central to the exhibition on display at the Museum of Art and Culture, yapang (MAC yapang). 

Shot on the Nerriga Plateau, this black and white single-channel video eerily captures a landscape decimated by fire and devoid of sound.

“When I went up there, it was like a nuclear blast had gone off. Everything had disappeared,” Georgeson says. 

'Truth in Fire' is on display at MAC yapang until 20 February. 

While you’re there create your own ‘kindness pledge’ to contribute to the exhibition Paper People Pledge for the Planet.


Until February 20

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Image: Artist Maddison Gibbs with her artwork Shedding Serpents, 2021. Australian wood, metal (brackets).

See works from emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in the inaugural yapang Emerging Art Prize

Thirty works by finalists of this major new indigenous art prize are on display at MAC yapang art museum, including Maddison Gibbs’ winning sculpture Shedding Serpents. 

Hewn from Australian timber, the Gaia-like work was inspired by Gibb’s female ancestors “who are still continuing the fight” and references the Barkindji story of creation.

Competition judge Erin Vink, Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art at the Art Gallery of NSW, said Gibbs employed techniques that deviated from the traditional dot painting style.

“It shows how Aboriginal art is a living culture and it’s developing in response to other contemporary art styles and movements, and it’s a piece you can really connect with emotionally.”

Admire all the finalists’ work in the biennial $15,000 acquisitive prize aimed at celebrating and supporting emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists across Australia. 

Have a budding young artist of your own? Sign them up for MAC yapang’s indigenous art making workshop by Aboriginal artist educators this school holidays. 


Until January 30

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Image: Emerge 2021 by PluginHUMAN

Immerse yourself in the hidden secrets found in local ecosystems in this dreamy, other-worldly audio visual experience. 

Emerge illuminates the distinct qualities of Lake Macquarie’s natural ecosystems through an astounding and surreal 360-degree installation. 

Hundreds of images taken under microscope by award winning media art duo Dr Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer of PluginHUMAN were used to create this immersive inaugural exhibition for the Cube at MAP mima.

For more fun, inspiring events, exhibitions and workshops at MAP mima and MAC yapang over the summer holidays see what’s on here. 


When attending events in Lake Macquarie, remember to stay COVID safe - keep your distance, practice safe hygiene and if you are feeling unwell stay at home. Please note that events may be subject to change at short notice.



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