6 October 2023

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (6 - 12 October)

| Claire Sams
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A woman standing with a brightly coloured artwork by Natalya Hughes behind her

You can see Natalya Hughes’s winning painting, Blue Girl in the Sun, which Beatrice Gralton (pictured) judged to be the winner of the Flow Contemporary Watercolour Prize. Photo: Wollongong Art Gallery/Facebook.

Indoors or outdoors, there’s plenty happening in the Illawarra this week.

For art fans, there’s the Flow Contemporary Watercolour Prize exhibition and the Scarborough Art Show.

Meanwhile, there are also performances of The God Committee in Gwynneville and a literary lunch where Natasha Lester is the guest of honour, along with a clay workshop for those looking to get their hands dirty.

If you want to head outdoors, Berry Gardens Festival is starting soon, and the monthly Seed and Sapling Swap and Temple Tree Day at Nan Tien Temple will provide other opportunities to nurture your green thumb.

The Radical Reels Adventure Film Tour will also give you a taste of the outdoors – but from the comfort of Anita’s Theatre.

Here’s our top nine picks for the week.

Multiple days

An artwork by Penelope Mason

Penelope Mason’s Pine Lake is one of the commended entries in the exhibition. Photo: Wollongong Art Gallery/Facebook.

Flow Contemporary Watercolour Prize

When: 2 September to 17 March, 10 am to 5 pm (Tuesday to Friday) or 12 pm to 4 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Where: Wollongong Art Gallery, 46 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Free entry.

The public can now take a wander through the entries for this biennial art competition that celebrates watercolour painters from across Australia. More than 80 artworks have been selected from this year’s entrants to form an exhibition showcasing innovation and experimentation in watercolour painting, including works on paper in watercolour, acrylic, gouache, pen and ink, and watercolour mixed media. Check out all the entries and this year’s winner, Natalya Hughes’s Blue Girl in the Sun.

A flyer for Scarborough Art Show

Come along to this art show for a good cause – and a milestone! Photo: Scarborough Art Show/Facebook.

Scarborough Art Show

When: 6-8 October; from 6 pm (6 October, for opening night), 10 am to 5 pm (7 October) 10 am to 4 pm (8 October)
Where: Scarborough Public School, 371-381 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Scarborough
Cost: Opening night entry costs $50 (over 18s), while entry is $5 (adult), $3 (concession) or free (children under 13) on the other days.

The organisers of this annual art show are seeking to celebrate its 25th anniversary in style. This year, it features entries from established and emerging artists across a range of artistic disciplines. The entries are for sale – just in time for Christmas gift shopping – and the proceeds will be donated to Scarborough Public School.

A horizontal flyer for the event

Medicine, money, and morality clash in this production at Wollongong Workshop Theatre. Photo: Wollongong Workshop Theatre/Facebook.

The God Committee at Wollongong Workshop Theatre

When: 6-21 October, shows from 8 pm or 2 pm (no intermission)
Where: Wollongong Workshop Theatre, 190 Gipps Road, Gwynneville
Cost: Tickets cost $30 (adults) or $25 (concession), and are available online.

Making medical decisions isn’t always simple, as this play from writer Mark St. Germain and director Suzi Villeneuve-Smith shows. In the play, the Heart Transplant Selection Committee at St Patrick’s Hospital has only a few minutes to decide which of three patients will be the recipient of a heart that has suddenly become available. Plot twist? No one is a ‘perfect candidate’ you want to root for.

An open garden gate opening to a brick pathway and different kinds of plants

Which garden will be your favourite? Photo: Berry & District Garden Club/Facebook.

Berry Gardens Festival 2023

When: 12-15 October, 10 am to 4 pm on festival days
Where: Various locations around Berry
Cost: Tickets cost $20 (for access to all eight gardens) and $7 (for an individual garden). Under 18s are free.

Eight gardens have been painstakingly designed, cared for and watched over in preparation for this festival. Now, the public can take a walk through and snap some Instagram-worthy photos while enjoying some time in the sun. Please note that pets are not permitted.


A woman in green gardening gloves emptying a small bags of seeds

Pick up something new or send off some cuttings into the wild. Photo: Wollongong City Libraries.

Seed and Sapling Swap

When: 7 October, from 10 am
Where: Corrimal Library, 15 Short Street, Corrimal
Cost: Free entry.

Maybe you’re a plant newbie or a veteran at growing something green. Either way, this is a chance to donate (or acquire) seeds or saplings in this monthly event. And if you are new to gardening, don’t stress – plenty of experts will be on hand to answer any questions you have.

A Buddha statue amongst green foliage

Trees and mindfulness are the focus of this event. Photo: Nan Tien Temple/Facebook.

Temple Tree Day at Nan Tien Temple

When: 7 October, 9:30 am to 3 pm
Where: Nan Tien Temple, 180 Berkeley Road, Berkeley
Cost: Entry is free to $10 (depending on activity chosen), with bookings and tickets for the different activities available via Eventbrite.

Modern life is busy and often complicated, but this is your chance to take a breather. The Nan Tien Temple is inviting the public for a day of meditation, gardening, Buddhist practice, sketching and much more. In the lead-up to the event, the temple has partnered with Tree Veneration Society artists and UK artist Shelley Sacks for plenty of fun.


A flyer for the event

Don’t look down! Photo: Anita’s Theatre/Facebook.

Radical Reels Adventure Film Tour

When: 11 October, 7 pm to 10 pm (doors open from 6 pm)
Where: Anita’s Theatre, 264-270 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul
Cost: Tickets cost $33.60 and are available online.

Don’t be a scaredy cat and come along to this showing of action sports films. The tour includes short films made by people around the world on their adventures in climbing, skiing, mountain biking and other sports. Whether you’re in the audience to watch the stunts from the athletes or to appreciate the cinematography, there is sure to be something that makes your heart race.


Several red and pink clay earrings on a white dish

Try your hand at something creative (and wearable) in this workshop. Photo: Wollongong City Libraries.

Persian polymer clay workshop

When: 10 October, 2 pm to 4 pm
Where: Dapto Library, 93-109 Princes Highway, Dapto
Cost: Free entry, but bookings via Eventbrite are essential.

This jewellery-making workshop showcases Persian culture and invites you to create something unique to take home. And you don’t need any prior experience – the workshop will teach you how to create your own stunning, wearable art using polymer clay.


A flyer for the event

Bestselling author Natasha Lester will be coming along for a chat to share stories and talk about her latest novel. Photo: The Friends of Wollongong City Library/Eventbrite.

A Literary Lunch with Natasha Lester

When: 12 October, 12 pm to 2 pm
Where: Function Room, Wollongong City Council administration building, 41 Burelli Street Wollongong
Cost: Tickets cost $30 (for Friends of Wollongong City Libraries members) or $35 (for non–members), and are available via Eventbrite.

NYT bestselling author – and former L’Oreal marketing executive – Natasha Lester will be stopping by Wollongong to share her stories in this event organised by the Friends of the Library. Hear about her newest novel The Disappearance of Astrid Bricard and then enjoy a catered lunch afterwards. People with dietary requirements must contact Marg on 0407211657 or by email at [email protected].

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