13 July 2023

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (14 - 20 July)

| Dione David
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Production shot of Just Live on Stage at Merrigong showing a man with a pot on his head fighting an angry cabbage monster

Don’t miss Just Live On Stage – the perfect way to round off the school holidays. Photo: Robert Catto.

The Illawarra will provide plenty of ways to entertain the kids this week as the winter school holidays wind up.

IPAC promises a weekend of kid-centric theatre and music to delight audiences both young and young at heart, and Gerrigong Library has a little something planned for little fans of all things magical.

Wombarra Bowlo has pulled together a mini music fest with a lineup of some seriously talented Illawarra artists and Crooked River Wines is staging a Christmas in July feast.

In between you can try your hand at painting your own masterpiece to take home, or pick the brains of bestselling author Kelly Rimmer.

All week

Flyer for Christmas in July Christmas card competition

Free entries are open to all children in the Illawarra for this Christmas in July Christmas card competition. Image: NeuroCentric.

Christmas in July Christmas Card Competition

When: Until Monday 31 July
Where: Throughout the Illawarra
Cost: Free, download entry form here.

Looking for a fun school holiday activity for your artsy, crafty kid? This one comes with the bonus of a chance to win a prize and contributing to fundraising efforts for the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation. Free entries are open until the end of the month for the NeuroCentric Christmas in July Christmas Card Competition. Any child in the Illawarra can enter, whether or not they attend physiotherapy at NeuroCentric.

Designs must be within 14 cm x 14 cm dimensions in whatever medium you prefer – but they must be handmade.

There will be three winners in each of the three age categories – preschoolers, primary schoolers and high schoolers. They will receive a physiotherapy activity pack (think balls, bats, skipping ropes) and will have their cards printed as part of the 2023 Christmas cards pack. These packs will be on sale in November and December 2023, with all proceeds going to support the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation! Entries can be hand delivered to the Figtree or Helensburgh clinic or sent in via email to [email protected].

All weekend

Banner for Disney's Newsies Jr production at Merrigong Theatre.

Disney’s Newsies Jr is an abridged version of a 2012 Broadway musical inspired by the rousing true story of the newsboys’ strike in turn-of-the-century New York City. Image: Merrigong.

Disney’s Newsies Jr

When: Friday 14 July, 7:30 pm, Saturday 15 July, 3 pm and 7:30 pm and Sunday 16 July, 11 am and 3 pm
Where: Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, 32 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Adult $55, group 10+ $50, under 13, student, concession, pensioner or senior $45, book here.

From the company that brought Shrek The Musical to the IPAC last year comes Disney’s Newsies Jr, an abridged version of the 2012 Broadway musical. Inspired by the rousing true story of the newsboys’ strike in turn-of-the-century NYC, it follows the charismatic Jack Kelly who rallies newsies from across the city to strike when powerful newspaper publishers raise prices at the newsboys’ expense. The newsies learn that they are stronger united and create a movement to fight for what’s right.

The dazzling cast, all aged 18 and under, features the Illawarra’s finest up-and-coming young performers performing a Tony Award-winning score from Alan Menken and Jack Feldman.


Illustration by Terry Denton for the book Just, depicting an angry monster cabbage

This hilarious stage adaptation of a beloved kids’ book series is not to be missed. Image: Terry Denton.

Just Live On Stage

When: Friday 14 July, 10 am and 12:30 pm and Saturday 15 July, 10 am and 12:30 pm
Where: Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, 32 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Adult $29, school and vacation care groups 8+ $16, book here.

Written by Andy Griffiths and illustrated by Terry Denton, the universally celebrated Just book series has finally landed on stage in this hilarious adaptation by Robin Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy has brought the crazy, annoying, silly stories to life with everything from invisibility pills and ‘mudmen’, to vomiting dogs and death-defying balloon rides.

Billed as “a love letter to the powers of imagination”, this show is the ideal way to round off the school holidays.

Flyer for Diagon Alley Twilight Magic Market

Treat your little Harry Potter fan to this unique retail and entertainment experience. Image: Kiama Municipal Council.

Diagon Alley Twilight Magic Market

When: Friday 14 July, 3 pm to 7 pm
Where: Gerringong Library, 8 Blackwood Street, Gerringong
Cost: Free entry.

Calling all Harry Potter fans – if you love all things magic, witchy, spooky, spellbinding or otherwise mystic, grab your ‘floo’ powder, ‘portkey’ or broomstick (or walk if you must) and head to the Diagon Alley Twilight Magic Market.

Gerringong Library will be transformed for one night only into a magical-themed market with stalls, a fortune teller, magician, photo booth, games, competitions, live music, roving Steampunk Vagabonds dancers and more. Fancy dress is encouraged for your chance to win a prize.


Flyer for Wombarra Bowlo Mini Fest with illustration of the bowlo with live musicians on the green

Wombarra Bowlo springs to life with this mini music festival. Image: Wombarra Bowlo.

Bowlo Mini Fest

When: Saturday 15 July, 1 pm to 9:30 pm
Where: Wombarra Bowlo, 578 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Wombarra
Cost: $35, book here.

Wombarra Bowlo put the callout to talented musicians from Stanny to the Gong to converge on Saturday (15 July), resulting in a solid excuse to rug up and get outside. The eclectic lineup includes Jodi Phillis and her band The Silver Stars, soloist Aodhan who has been ripping it up on Triple J, the famous Blue Divers, The Sweaty Bettys, Misso, Bored Shorts and finally, Dan Mac & The Swirly Train.

As usual the drinks will flow at the bar and the bowlo’s Black Duck restaurant will be serving up its usual Thai and modern Australian fare.

Flyer for paint and graze event depicting lush tropical foliage

Enjoy an afternoon of creativity, mindfulness and socialising at this paint and graze event. Image: Expressive Art Experience.

Paint and Graze – Tropical Botanical @ Georgia Rose

When: Saturday 15 July, 3 pm to 5:30 pm
Where: Georgia Rose, 1/9 Marina Drive, Shell Cove
Cost: $79, book here.

Sink into an afternoon of painting, grazing and learning techniques to create your own masterpiece with brushes, palette knives and fingers at this creative and social event. Grab a few mates or fly solo; either way you’ll take home a piece of vibrant art themed around botanicals.

Your admission fee includes a glass of sparkling on arrival, grazing boards, all art materials and guidance and a $10 voucher to spend at the venue afterwards on food or drinks.

Flat lay of festive Christmas table setting with dinnerware and decorations

Crooked River Wines knows how to put on a Christmas in July spread. Photo: Envata / Sonya Kamoz.

Crooked River Wines Christmas in July

When: Saturday 15 July, 6 pm to 10 pm
Where: Crooked River Wines, 11 Willowvale Road, Gerringong
Cost: $89, book here.

If there’s one good thing about the cold weather, it’s hearty, warming winter food. Crooked River Wines is marking Christmas in July with a festive winter feast, along with their favourite Christmas cocktails.

Start with sourdough and cultured butter, freshly shucked Tuross Head oysters, prawns, smoked trout, ham and vegetable dips for the table. Then, onto chicken liver parfait with warm brioche, roasted, boned and rolled quail with pancetta, woodfired grapes and Jerusalem artichoke followed by Kurobuta pork belly with crackling and apple and pear chutney. Dessert is warm spiced Christmas pudding with vanilla and cardamon custard.


Puppeteer in silver wielding a koala puppet. Image: Windmill.

Globally recognised as masters of creating original theatre for young people, Windmill brings Hiccup to IPAC. Photo: Windmill.


When: Wednesday 19 July, 10 am and 12:30 pm
Where: Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, 32 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Adults $29, school and vacation care groups 8+ $16, book here.

Billed as a “hilarious rocking musical extravaganza” comes this production by Windmill, the globally recognised masters of creating original theatre for young people.

Set on a perfect, balmy night in the outback, it follows a sleep-deprived camper, a cheeky quokka and an emu with a penchant for creating wild inventions as they awake to discover that a koala has come down with a stubborn and ear-shatteringly loud case of the hiccups. Embark on an epic journey through the night as they frantically eat, sing and invent their way towards a cure before the sun comes up.


Flyer for author luncheon featuring headshot of author Kelly Rimmer

Kelly Rimmer will share insights about her books, experiences and writing process. Image: Wollongong City Libraries.

A Literary Lunch with Kelly Rimmer

When: Thursday 20 July, noon to 2 pm
Where: Croatian Catholic Centre, 7-9 Bellevue Road, Figtree
Cost: Members $65, non-members $70, book here.

Ticket sales end on Friday 14 July for this literary lunch with bestselling author Kelly Rimmer. Her new novel The Paris Agent, released last month, was the latest in a stunning back catalogue of historical fiction. Hear her speak about her books, experiences and process and enjoy a luncheon included in your ticket.

Books will be available for purchase at the event and those wanting to take part in the raffle should bring cash.

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