Out & About Sydney: November 2021

Get down with Bob Downe at Viva Bob Vegas! - one of the highlights of November's arts and entertainment offerings. Photo: supplied.


For many of us, it felt as if this moment would never come – lockdown has finally lifted and Sydney is awakening from its forced hibernation. And not a minute too soon!

Thank goodness we can finally all stop pretending we actually enjoyed experiencing our favourite events and activities online! There might not be a huge number of things happening yet, but what’s on offer is of high quality. From epic art exhibitions at the MCA, to iconic local markets, intimate cabaret performances, world-renowned theatre and a bevy of cinematic festivals, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how energetically Sydney is bouncing back to life.

It’s important to remember that a level of restrictions including capacity limits still apply. That means high demand for fewer bookings – so if you see something you like, get onto it before it’s sold out. To help make things easier, we’ve put together our monthly hit list of must-do events. So get out and about in Sydney in November now that you finally can. Enjoy!

Art exhibitions & talks

Tuesday, 23 November, 2021 to Sunday, 6 February, 2022
Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), 140 George Street, The Rocks

Plunge into the world of American artist Doug Aitken this summer. In this Sydney-exclusive exhibition, see installations, objects, photographs and immersive multi-screen environments that will envelop you within a kaleidoscope of moving imagery and sound. Then check out Primavera 2021 – the MCA’s annual exhibition of young Australian artists aged 35 and under.

More info and bookings: https://www.mca.com.au/whats-on/

Experience the extraordinary immersive art of Doug Aitken at the MCA this summer. Photo: www.mca.com.au.

6:15-7:15pm, Wednesday, 3 November, 2021

Randwick Sustainability Classroom, 27 Munda St, Randwick

Presented on the first Wednesday of every month, collaboratively directed and supported by TED, this community engagement focuses on increasing awareness about Climate Change issues, aiming to open up discussions about what we can do in our local community towards achieving 2030 global warming targets.

More info and bookings: https://events.humanitix.com/ted-circles-randwick


Various times, Wednesday, 3 November to Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Palace Cinemas across Sydney

The British Film Festival returns for its ninth year celebrating the finest filmmakers and acting talent Britain has to offer. Thirty-one exceptional films will be showcased on the big screen in seven cities and twenty one cinemas across Australia, including right here in Sydney. The 2021 line-up features some of the most anticipated films of the year – from powerful true stories and literary adaptations to biographies and documentaries. Proudly presented by Palace Cinemas.

More info and bookings: https://britishfilmfestival.com.au/about/dates-by-city

From 7pm Fridays
Ritz Cinemas, 45 St Paul’s Street, Randwick

Randwick’s heritage-listed Ritz Cinemas is one of only three original Art Deco cinemas still operating in Sydney. Its main theatre boasts one of the largest cinema auditoriums in the city, and combined with the authentic, original Art Deco fittings, the Ritz provides a movie-going experience straight from the golden age of cinema. So what better place to catch cult classics? The program includes silver screen masterpieces from the early 20th century to today, stunning 35mm and 70mm presentations, and films so bad they’re, well, classic.

More info and bookings: https://www.ritzcinemas.com.au/events/cult-classics

Catch a cult film at a classic cinema at The Ritz. Photo: ritzcinemas.com.au.

Various times, Wednesday, 3 November to Wednesday, 1 December, 2021

Palace Cinemas across Sydney

The Italian Film Festival continues to present the best new contemporary Italian cinema and cherished classics on the big screen. For more than two decades the Festival has celebrated Italian language, culture and la dolce vita with an ever-growing audience. The largest Italian film festival outside Italy, it truly has something for everyone!

More info and bookings: https://www.italianfilmfestival.com.au/dates-by-city

Various times, Thursday, 25 November to Sunday, 5 December, 2021
Palace Cinemas across Sydney

Presented by the Japan Foundation, Sydney, the 2021 Japanese Film Festival presents a mixture of new films and classics, presented both online and on the big screen at Palace Cinemas. The festival aims to portray not only the more traditional, obvious elements of Japanese life and culture but the more surprising sides of Japan, beyond the stereotypes. As festival programmer Manisay Oudomvilay recently told the Sentinel: “When it comes to choosing the actual line up, our goal is to always highlight Japanese culture through the films we choose. We also try to choose films that show a side of Japan that people might not be familiar with, so we really try to diversify the selection of films that we’re showing.”

More info and bookings: https://japanesefilmfestival.net/

Various times, Wednesday, 3 November to Sunday, 21 November, 2021
Various locations around Sydney

The 68th Sydney Film Festival brings the world’s best new films to Sydney in cinema and online this year for cavalcade of inspiring and entertaining premieres, film screenings, talks and parties. The festival takes place at their flagship venue – the State Theatre, as well as cinemas in the CBD, Newtown, Cremorne, Western Sydney and more, screening films you won’t usually find in the multiplex.

More info and bookings: https://www.sff.org.au

The State Theatre is the flagship venue of the Sydney Film Festival. Photo: www.sff.org.au.

Special events

8am to 1pm every Saturday
Carriageworks, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh

The weekly Carriageworks Farmers Market is a Sydney institution, and is back providing the freshest seasonal produce from the best growers and producers from around NSW. The markets are open every Saturday as a shop-and-go service, offering some of Sydney’s best seasonal organic and bio-dynamic foods direct from farmers and artisan producers.

More info: http://carriageworks.com.au/events/carriageworks-farmers-market/

The weekly Carriageworks Farmers Market is a Sydney institution. Photo: www.carriageworks.com.au

From 12pm, Saturday, 6 November 2021
The Bookshop Darlinghurst, 207 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Boy, girl, artist, advocate – Courtney Act AKA Shane Jenek is more than the sum of their parts. Brisbane-born Courtney got her start in the gay bars of Oxford Street before going onto achieve household name recognition via Australian Idol, RuPaul’s Drag RaceCelebrity Big Brother UK and Dancing with the Stars. Behind this rise to fame is a story of searching for and finding oneself, told with Courtney’s trademark candour and wit in her book, Caught in the Act. It’s a hilarious and at times heartbreaking memoir from a beloved drag and entertainment icon. Shane Jenek will be signing copies of Caught in the Act at The Bookshop Darlinghurst on Saturday, 6 November from 12pm. 

More info: https://www.thebookshop.com.au/new-forthcoming/new-releases/caught-in-the-act-order-a-signed-personalised-copy/

Courtney Act AKA Shane Jenek. Photo: supplied.

Early November, 2021
Sanga Vegan, 655 King Street, St Peters

Could we be seeing the beginnings of a vegan empire to rival the likes of Subway? It sure is looking that way. Fresh new concept restaurant Sanga (which is Aussie slang for sandwich) is an Australian vegan sub style bar in Sydney’s Inner West, which opens in November. Discover an explosion of unexpected flavours and an ethical approach to great Aussie traditional food. This new venture is brought to you by Bhavani Baumann, widely known for her work in co-founding plant-based pub bistro The Green Lion.

More info: https://www.sangavegan.com

Australian vegan sub style bar ‘Sanga’ opens in November in St Peters. Photo: supplied.

9am to 4pm, 3rd Sunday of each month
The Entertainment Quarter Moore Park

Running on the third Sunday of every month at The Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park, the Sydney Vegan Market is your ultimate destination for all things plant-based, cruelty-free and vegan. From fresh food to homewares to coffee to fashion, whether you’re selling, buying or browsing, they have you covered. Alongside up to 100 committed vegan stalls, they program a slew of entertainment and activities for visitors to enjoy all day long.

More info: https://www.sydneyveganmarket.com/


Theatre and performance

Various times, Wednesday, 3 November, 2021 to Thursday, 20 January, 2021
Claire’s Kitchen at le Salon, 35 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst

Cabaret shows at this gem of a restaurant are an iconic and unique Sydney experience. Experience incredible Australian talent in an intimate cabaret setting. $100 per person includes the show and your choice of three courses from their exquisite a la carte menu.

Coming up:
Friday, 5 November / 6pm-9:30pm / Prinnie Stevens: Lady sings the blues
Friday, 12 November / 6pm-9:30pm / Jonathan Mill
Thursday, 18 November / 6pm-9:30pm / Casey Burgess
Friday, 19 November / 6pm-9:30pm / Donna Lee
Wednesday, 24 November / 6pm-9:30pm / Stewart D’Arrieta
Friday, 26 November / 6pm-9:30pm / Chantelle Ormandy
Tuesday, 30 November / 6pm-9:30pm / Karen Lee Andrews

More info and bookings: https://www.claireskitchen.com.au/cabaret

Claire’s Kitchen At The Salon presents their Petit Cabaret program. Photo: Claire’s Kitchen at Le Salon/Facebook.

Until Sunday, 9 January, 2022
Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell Street, Haymarket

It had a spectacular opening night back in June, but Come From Away barely reached cruising altitude before it was forced to land and return to the terminal – no thanks to Covid-19. Now, this remarkable true story of a small town that welcome the world, set in the weeks following the September 11 attacks, is back on stage, melding a poignant tale, magnificent music and world class theatre to the delight of Sydney audiences.

More info and bookings: comefromaway.com.au.

Until Sunday, 27 February, 2022
Sydney Lyric Theatre, 55 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont

This Tony, Grammy, Olivier and Pulitzer Prize winning musical returns to Sydney to finish its season. Hamilton has taken the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton and created a revolutionary moment in theatre – a musical featuring a score that blends hip hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway – that transforms theatre and the way we think about history.

More info and bookings: https://hamiltonmusical.com.au

Hamilton Sydney
A scene from Hamilton The Musical, which plays the Sydney Lyric Theatre. Photo: supplied.

7:30pm Thursdays to Saturday, 5pm Sunday from Tuesday, 23 November to Saturday, 18 December, 2021
New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown

The Australian premiere of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, adapted by Bryony Lavery, is a coming-of-age story with a supernatural twist. In this elegant meditation on life, love and loss, award-winning British playwright Lavery has taken Alice Sebold’s beautiful novel and created a visceral performance text, both sparse and dense, that also surprises with its humour and verve. Preview Tuesday, 23 November; opening night Wednesday, 24 November.

More info and bookings: https://newtheatre.org.au/the-lovely-bones/

Thursday 4 November – US/Australian actor, Timothy Springs
Thursday 11 November – Soul songstress and folk balladeer, Billie McCarthy
Darlinghurst Theatre Company, 39 Burton Street (corner Palmer Street), Darlinghurst

A loose and lyrical night of live music, revelry and cocktails in the heart of Darlo, Thursday Thursdays is Sydney’s underground musical theatre club. Hosted and curated by Andrew Bukenya. These nights always sell out so book your table well in advance – seriously.

More info and bookings: https://www.darlinghursttheatre.com/thirstythursdays

Andrew Bukenya hosts Thirsty Thursdays at Darlinghurst Theatre Company. Photo: Darlinghurst Theatre.

Various times, Friday, 12 November to Sunday, 14 November 2021
Paddington RSL, 220/232 Oxford St, Paddington

The creation of comedian, actor and broadcaster Mark Trevorrow, Bob Downe is one of Australia’s most loved and enduring comedy characters. Viva Bob Vegas! is the brand new, old style Las Vegas lounge act from the Prince of Polyester – a hilarious evening of wild comedy, classic hits, a swinging live band and special guests. An incredible mix of cabaret, comedy and live music, Viva Bob Vegas! also features Sydney songstress Shauna Jensen and Bev Kennedy’s red hot band. Not to be missed!

More info and bookings:

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 errorsevent cancellations, time and/or date changes or any other inaccuracies.

Travis de Jonk is the features editor of the Sydney Sentinel.