Out & About Sydney: February 2021

The Rocks Lunar Markets will be one of many events comprising The Sydney Lunar Festival. Photo: City of Sydney.


Welcome to the Sentinel‘s new monthly wrap-up of what’s on in Sydney. Each month, we’ll bring you Sydney’s best guide to the many unmissable events happening in our sparkling city …

As Sydney continues to emerge from a Covid-induced slumber, it is bursting to the seams with events and occasions guaranteed to excite, enthral, move and reconnect you with the life of the city.

From a bonanza of unique cinema; to the hottest theatre shows and concerts; vibrant, thought provoking Mardi Gras delights; and exciting ways to ring in the Lunar New Year – there really is something for you, no matter who you are or what your interest is. Check out our highlights.

Unique film and cinema

Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Harbour
Until 21 March, 2021

Darling Harbour becomes a lavish floating cinema on the water with Mov’in Boat, boasting a diverse program of cinema hit films shown on the waters edge on a 15-meter high definition screen 4K 15-metre screen. The 2021 Program includes Crazy Rich Asians, Dunkirk, The Dry, The Shawshank Redemption and more.

Rent your own rowboat to watch from (for two to four people ) for $119.90, or comfy day beds on the floating pontoon (two people for $99.90, three people for $109.90), or if you have your own boat it’s just $50 to watch from there. There are a range of VIP options available which give you exclusive access to the bar and the option to order dinner from a selection of restaurants.

More info:

Full movie program:

Various venues
18 February – 4 March, 2021

Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival is back again in 2021 featuring 60+ cinema screenings at the Randwick Ritz, Hayden Orpheum, Event Cinemas in George Street and Hurstville and even special Moonlight Cinema screenings in Centennial Park. In fact, it begins there on February 18 with comedy, Dating Amber, at Moonlight Cinemas.

In a big change this year, dozens of films will also be available on-demand, meaning people not only in Sydney but across Australia will be able to take watch many of the films online.

Festival highlights include The Thing About Harry, Ammonite, Two of Us, Bring Down The Walls, No Hard Feelings and the Australian premiere of Milkwater, presented by the Sydney Sentinel at Event Cinemas George Street, to name just a few. Check out the brilliant program to find out all about them and more.

More info & full program:

Mardi Gras Film Festival 2021 trailer. Video: queerscreen/YouTube.

Ritz Cinemas Randwick, Randwick
Friday screenings, 5 February – 4 June, 2021

The Randwick Ritz will be celebrating the extraordinary, multiple Academy Award-winning Coen Brothers with a bonanza retrospective of their films, including their biggest hits Fargo and No Country for Old Men. Screenings are on Friday nights, with a massive season from 5 February all the way through to 4 June, 2021.

More info & full program:

Ritz Cinemas Randwick, Randwick
17 February – 24 March, 2021

The Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF) celebrates extraordinary Jewish-themed film in a diverse program from around the globe including the opening night feature film Incitement – an exhilarating award-winning drama about the assassination of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin; Holocaust-era film Persian Lessons, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival; the Australian Premiere of the first three episodes of the new season of Shtisel; and rousing documentaries about Jewish changemakers Menachem Begin, George Soros and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

More info & full program:

Centennial Parklands, Centennial Park
Until 4 April, 2021

A BYO event, you can pack you own picnic blanket and basket of goodies to enjoy on the lawns, or partake in the offerings of the food trucks and licensed bar on site. There are also bougie Good Class options with waiter service right to your plush bean bag. Posh!

There are a stack of great film hits to choose from to suit anyone. Notable are the Steven Spielberg retrospective series and special screenings for the Mardi Gras Film Festival.

Highlights include:
2 February: Jurassic Park
11 February: Crazy Rich Asians
14 February: The Notebook
16 February: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
17 February: Call Me By Your Name
23 February: Back to the Future
28 February: Penguin Bloom

More info & full program:

Official trailer for new Australian film Penguin Bloom, a highlight of the Moonlight Cinema 2021 program at Centennial Park. Video: Roadshow Films/You Tube.

Mrs Macquaries Point, Sydney
Until 24 February, 2021

With stunning views towards the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney city skyline, OpenAir offers a festival of film at one of the world’s most spectacular locations: Mrs Macquaries Point. Seated in comfortable director’s chairs, catch up with friends for a drink and a bite as the sun sets over the city, before the film screens on a giant three storey-high screen with surround sound. Ahhhh …

Program highlights include Penguin Bloom, AmmoniteWild Mountain ThymeHigh GroundLove Actually, Almost Famous, Thelma and Louise, The Devil Wears Prada and Pulp Fiction … as you can see, there’s a film for every taste.

More info & full program:

North Sydney Oval, North Sydney
3 February – 3 April, 2021

Beautiful vistas offered by the historic North Sydney Oval form the backdrop for screenings at Sunset Cinema. Gates open at 6.30pm, with screenings commencing at sundown and a range of food and beverages available. 

It’s a wonderful program of new hits and loved cult classics. Program highlights include include Wonder Woman 1984, Roald Dahl’s The Witches, Promising Young Woman, Star Wars (the original) and Spirited Away, to name just a few.

Tickets range from $14 to $20 with add on options. Screening Wednesday to Saturday till 3 April, 2021.

More info & full program:

Celebrating Lunar New Year – the Year of the Ox

Various locations including the CBD; Chinatown, Haymarket; The Rocks; and Circular Quay
12 – 21 February
, 2021

Billed as the largest Lunar New Year celebration outside Asia, the Sydney Lunar Festival boats a cornucopia of events, including public art, light shows, markets, dance, music, theatre, Chinese calligraphy demonstrations, Cantonese opera, banquets and more.

Supported by the City of Sydney Council.

More information: https://whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/programs/sydney-lunar-festival

Darling Harbour, Sydney
12 February – 21 February, 2021

Darling Harbour comes alive with events and festivities in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, Year of the Ox. There’s art installations, music and performances, many of which are free to be enjoyed.

Catch lion dancers at 6pm in Darling Quarter, 9pm in Darling Square and on Sundays at 6.30pm at the ICC forecourt with a special presentation on February 22.

Be at Darling Square on February 12 and 13 and get a taste of the celebratory vibes with music from DJ Mowgli from 6-9pm.

More info:

Various Locations, Chatswood
3 February – 28 February, 2021

Chatswood is celebrating the Year of the Ox Lunar New Year with multi-day festival art, comedy festival and food. martial arts demonstrations, lion dancers and contemporary dance performances. 

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday from 4 February, the Golden Market will be in Chatswood Mall from 9am. Feast from over 35 stalls with food delights from all over Asia.

The festival runs from 3 – 28 February with myriad exciting events. Be sure to check the full program and plan your visit here.

Events include:
3 – 28 February: Precious Treasures group exhibition curated by Guan Wei at Incinerator Art Space
February 20: CNY Cultural Celebration Concert
27 February: comedy festival

More info: https://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/LNY

Terrific theatre, performance and talks

Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Until 14 February, 2021

Join Circa as they embark on a seductive dance through your imagination, lurching from the thrillingly acrobatic to the comically playful. Expect teetering towers of balanced bodies, extreme bending, beguiling burlesque, and devilishly precarious aerials.  

Under the direction of circus visionary Yaron Lifschitz, Circa’s PeepShow combines some of the finest acrobatic talent on the planet to create a playfully exhilarating ride into the beautifully bizarre recesses of your mind.  

Prepare to be tempted as you step inside the dazzling world of Circa’s PeepShow.

More info & bookings:

Circa’s PeepShow is currently playing The Sydney Opera House. Photo: circa.org.au.

Dance Roslyn Packer Theatre, Millers Point
16 February – 23 February, 2021

Sydney Dance Company artistic director Rafael Bonachela teams up with musician Bryce Dessner, rock outfit The National and the Australian String Quartet to present the world premiere of their exciting new work, Impermanence. Inspired by the resilience of life emerging from the devastation and crisis of the Australian bushfires, Impermanence is epic dance mastery that packs a punch, from the best in the nation.

More info & tickets:

Capitol Theatre, Haymarket
3 February – 23 May 23, 2021

It’s without doubt that Disney animation Frozen is an international phenomenon loved by children and adults alike. This film has been beautifully translated to the stage in a huge production, packed full of the Broadway style hits and visuals, sure to captivate and entertain. If you’re a fan of the film, you’re going to love this show!

Frozen The Musical promo video. Video: Disney Australia & New Zealand/YouTube.

More info & tickets:

NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre, Surry Hills
27 February, 2021

Mardi Gras’ compelling talk series is back for 2021. Queer Thinking is a thought provoking talk series of three events that bring together leading queer thinkers, creatives, community organisers, activists and academics.

Benjamin Law hosts ‘The Fights Ahead’. In this talk, Law gathers activists, parents and policy-makers to identify where the new anti-queer culture wars are located – and how to combat it.

SBS-TV presenter Patrick Abboud leads a panel of local and international queer Arab writers telling stories of resistance, resilience, pride and party in ‘Raising the Rainbow Flag’.

TV and media personality Julie McCrossin hosts the ‘Dating When You’re Different’ panel, discussing how queer communities embrace newcomers. 

Tickets for individual talks are $19-$29, or $59 will buy you a pass for all three.

More info & full program:

Enmore Theatre, Newtown
26 February, 2021

Experience the wit and wisdom of some of Australia’s best and brightest LGBTQI+ comedians. Hosted by the award-winning Nath Valvo , they’ve got loads of comedic talent for one incredible night only, including Geraldine Hickey, Mel Buttle, Thomas Jaspers, Rosie Piper, Margot Tanjutco, Selina Jenkins, Jake Howie and Jay Wymarra.

More info & bookings:

Hayes Theatre Co, Elizabeth Bay
18 February – 27 March, 2021

The Hayes Theatre Co. presents the Australian premiere of this brilliantly kooky musical comedy, adapted by comic genius Mel Brooks (The Producers, Blazing Saddles) from his 1974 American comedy horror film. Scientist Frederick Frankenstein – grandson of the infamous scientist – travels reluctantly to Transylvania where he has inherited the family estate. Before long, he finds himself back in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestor, and with the help of hunchbacked sidekick Igor and yodelling lab assistant Inga, he brings to life a new creature to rival his grandfather’s. But this time, when the monster escapes – absolute hilarity ensues.

Young Frankenstein has all the panache and quick-fire humour of the screen sensation, with a little extra theatrical flair. Featuring songs like ‘The Transylvania Mania’ and the immortal ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’, Young Frankenstein is scientifically proven, monstrously good entertainment.

More info & bookings:

Sydney Opera House
Until 14 February, 2021

Be amazed as you are consumed by the seemingly impossible. Witness some of the most mind-boggling magic tricks and meet their fascinating creators.

James Galea is an award winning magician and the creator/writer/producer of the internationally renowned Band of Magicians and the 2019 Sydney Festival hit POOF! James hosts the evening, showcasing a stellar line-up of Australia’s greatest magic exports including YouTube sensation and shadow puppet expert Raymond Crowe;  Australia’s top escapologist, Helen Coghlan; Australian semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent, Dom Chambers; and master of the Rubik’s cube, Vincent Kuo.

More info & bookings:

Art & exhibitions

Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks
Until 28 February, 2021

Lindy Lee: Moon in a Dew Drop celebrates the eponymous Australian-Chinese artist. Curated by the MCA’s director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, the show pulls together 70 of Brisbane-born, Sydney-based Lee’s works sourced from public and private collections, including rarities from her personal records. It’s the most comprehensive overview of Lee’s artistic contribution ever assembled.

You can also tune into a ticketed livestream of Lee in conversation with Macgregor at the MCA on October 7 at 6pm.

More info:

National Art School, Darlinghurst
19 February – 7 March, 2021

SKIN DEEP is an interactive exhibition that presents intimate and personal stories of LGBTQI+ people through their tattooed bodies and stories, celebrating diversity, defiance and body art. The exhibition is made up of several unique components – presented as one integrated audience experience or as separate experiences. LGBTQI+ community participation is central to all components of SKIN DEEP – as narrators, models, story tellers and performers.

Powerhouse director and choreographer Meryl Tankard will work with community members and aerialist, The Amazing Ari, to present a beautiful performance.

Performances 19, 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 February at the Cell Block Theatre.

This exhibition is restricted to people aged 18+ and contains nudity.

More info:

The National Art School’s Queer Contemporary SKIN DEEP interactive exhibition is one of several Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras cultural offerings. Photo: Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

New Theatre, Newtown
4 February – 6 March, 2021

When Jonathan Harvey wrote this tender, open-hearted play about two damaged boys and the love that heals them, the age of consent for gay sex in the UK was still 21, it was illegal to ‘promote’ homosexuality in schools, and civil unions and same-sex marriage weren’t even on the radar.
Yet, nearly 30 years on, it still holds remarkable power, because so much of what it explores is timeless: discovering your sexuality, finding love and acceptance, fighting your demons, surviving against the odds, being an outsider, and the importance of community.

What better way to celebrate Mardi Gras than with this funny, irreverent, deeply human coming-of-age story, an urban fairy tale for our times?

More info & bookings:


Valentine’s specials

The Beresford, 354 Bourke St, Surry Hills
From 6.30pm, 11 February, 2021

Love is in the air for our first ever Valentine’s Bingay, a Valentine’s-themed party fit for queens. They’ll be serving up a love-filled soundtrack that will warm you and your partners’ heart.

Currently single? No problem. Come to Bingay and you might just meet the one. Fabulous hosts Charisma Belle and Naomi Palmer will be there to serve up delicious naughty callbacks, cheeky stories and hilarious repartee. There are loads of prizes to give away, too, thanks to Bingay’s amazing sponsors.

Dropping balls since 1999, Bingay is a Gay Sydney institution. Now in its 22nd year, all funds raised from Bingay goes towards supporting important programs and services delivered by ACON that improve the health and wellbeing of sexuality and gender diverse people.

Doors open 6.30pm, balls drop 7pm, tickets $22.50.


Paddo RSL, 220 Oxford St, Paddington
7.30pm, 14 February, 2021

Showbiz legend Rhonda Burchmore and cabaret queen Trevor Ashley come together this Valentine’s Day for a special one-off show, Funny Valentines!

Featuring a seven-piece band with Musical Director Michael Tyack, Rhonda and Trevor will sing their favourite love songs and standards, from jazz to Broadway, plus a healthy smattering of the divas.

What better way to celebrate love than with a couple of great mates and fabulous music and gowns?

Tickets are $69 plus booking fee and will be allocated at tables. Doors open 7pm, showtime is at 7.30pm

More info & bookings:

Rhonda Burchmore (left) and Trevor Ashley will star in “Funny Valentines!” on 14 February. Photo: Trevor Ashley/Facebook.

Please note: all details believed correct at time of publication. It is recommended that you check details online before attending events. The Sentinel assumes no responsibility for errors, event cancellations, time and/or date amendments, or any other inaccuracies or changes.