13 September 2023

Nine things to do in the Illawarra this week (15 - 21 September)

| Dione David
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This weekend, you’re invited to discover and celebrate the Illawarra’s finest food and wine producers, distillers and craft beer brewers at Towradgi Beach Hotel. Photo: Teel Studios.

The warm weather is here and with it, a very spring-friendly lineup on the Illawarra’s social calendar, including a plethora of art exhibition openings, live music and theatre.

Among the many highlights, WollCon is holding its inaugural jazz festival with an impressive lineup and Towradgi Beach Hotel’s 16th annual beer, food and wine festival is gathering the region’s best, with topnotch international producers to present a delicious and fun day out for the whole family.

There’s plenty to tempt you out into the sunshine this week – here at our top nine picks.

All week

Outsider Art Exhibition

When: Daily until Sunday 1 October, 9 am to 5 pm
Where: Project Contemporary Artspace, 255 Keira Street, Wollongong
Cost: Free.

More than 200 artworks created by the Outsider Artists have come together for this very special exhibition. All works have been produced by artists living with disabilities. This includes the 35 original artworks produced for the Wollongong City Council Planter Boxes, which will be for sale at $120 each. Prices for pottery start at $5 and $20 for paintings.

Pick yourself up a beautiful original artwork for amazing prices and support the Outsider Artists.

A smiling woman in a fur coat in front of a red curtain

Rehearsals have commenced for the latest production by The Strangeways Ensemble, Something That Happened. Photo: Jay Park.

Something That Happened

When: Friday 15 September, 7:30 pm, Saturday 16 September, 7:30 pm and Thursday 21 September, 6:30 pm
Where: Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, 32 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Premium $59, adult $49, adult c reserve $39, concession/group 8+ $44, concession c reserve $34, under 30s $39, school groups 8+, $23, family of four $156, book here.

The Strangeways Ensemble is Merrigong’s permanent company of neurodiverse professional actors. Following the success of their genre-bending hit Trash Talk, they now bring us a hilarious and thought-provoking work.

When an international film company undertakes a global scouting mission to cast a new musical film version of John Steinbeck’s classic tale Of Mice and Men, the audition notice finds its way to The Strangeways Ensemble in Wollongong. Could it be their big break? Set in the rehearsal room, the ensemble undertake their audition prep, and a funny and imaginative exploration of the quest for fame and inclusion ensues.


All-girl band JANIS

All-girl band JANIS headlines Wollongong Youth Services’ Femme Punk: Girls to the Front show. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Femme Punk: Girls to the Front

When: Friday 15 September, 5 to 9 pm
Where: Wollongong Youth Centre, 85 Burelli Street, Wollongong
Cost: Free.

Wollongong Youth Services presents the Femme Punk: Girls to the Front show, with an excellent local lineup headlined by all-girl band JANIS. The show also features Blue Mountains band Acid Amora as well as The Sweaty Bettys. JANIS is billed as “the snottiest teenage punk band you’ll ever meet”. They’ll play a mix of classic and obscure covers and some punchy punk-rock originals.

This is a free event with no bookings required – just drop in and enjoy your night.


Detail of <em>Wedding Wishes (1977)</em> by Jacky Redgate.

Detail of Wedding Wishes (1977) by Jacky Redgate. Photo: Jacky Redgate, ARC ONE Gallery and Gallery/Sally Dan-Cuthbert.

Official Opening | Jacky Redgate Exhibition

When: Saturday 16 September, preview 1:20 pm, official opening 2 pm
Where: Wollongong Art Gallery, 46 Burelli St, Wollongong
Cost: Free.

This artist project encompasses some of Jacky Redgate’s best-known works along with others previously unseen, and new and archival materials. In her work, mirrors are at once means and metaphors, reflecting other times and other dimensions. This site-specific show sympathises with Wollongong Art Gallery’s own architecture, history and collection.

Arrive at 1:20 pm for an exhibition preview and walkthrough with Jacky Redgate, before the official opening at 2 pm. The exhibition will be officially opened by Brisbane’s Institute of Modern Art director Robert Leonard. Refreshments will be provided and all are welcome.

Ladies, leave your partners at home and let loose on this afternoon of fun, food and philanthropy.

Ladies, leave your partners at home and let loose on this afternoon of fun, food and philanthropy. Image: Throttle Jockeys.

Ladies Day for Convoy

When: Saturday 16 September, 1:30 to 5:30 pm
Where: Two Doors Up Cafe & Bar, Shop 1/31 Princes Highway, Fairy Meadow
Cost: $60 per person, book here.

Grab your gals for an afternoon of fun while raising vital funds for the i98FM Illawarra Convoy. An exciting afternoon is in store including delicious finger food, live music from Wollongong treasure Kate Young, trivia, music bingo and prizes.

Up for grabs is a three-night stay in a bungalow at NRMA Airlie Beach Holiday Park in Queensland, along with lots of other goodies.


The inaugural WollCon Jazz Festival will feature some of the biggest names in Australian jazz past and present.

The inaugural WollCon Jazz Festival will feature some of the biggest names in Australian jazz past and present. Photo: WollCon.

WollCon Jazz Festival

When: Sunday 17 September, 11 am to 5 pm
Where: Wollongong Conservatorium of Music, 48 Murphys Ave, Keiraville
Cost: General $35, concession $30, family $25, student/over 12s $15, book here.

The inaugural WollCon Jazz Festival is here with an impressive lineup that includes legendary saxophonist Sandy Evans OAM playing with Freyja Garbett’s Music From the Waves.

Experience Chris Field’s Afro-Indian Jazz Collective with trombonist James Greening (The Catholics, Mara), and Melbourne bassist Tamara Murphy leading her “Spirograph Studies” ensemble in a genre-bending, cinematic and dream-like performance.

This exciting new WollCon Festival will also showcase the next generation of jazz stars with performances from the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Workshop Australia and local student groups from Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts, Smith’s Hill High School and all ensembles from the award-winning WollCon Jazz Program.

From psychic readings to retail therapy, this expo is all about wellness and connection.

From psychic readings to retail therapy, this expo is all about wellness and connection. Image: Living Wellness Events.

Living Wellness & Psychic Expo

When: Sunday 17 September, noon to 6 pm
Where: Warilla Bowls & Recreation Club, Jason Avenue, Barrack Heights
Cost: General $8, concession $5, under 16s free with paying adult, payable in cash upon entry.

This expo is all about relaxation, wellness and connection. There will be some incredible stage presentations, and the reading room hosts gifted professionals, taking bookings for psychic, mediumship, channelled, tarot or oracle card readings. There will also be personalised treatment with healing practitioners using various complementary healing modalities.

A wide range of stalls will exhibit everything from crystals to jewellery, aromatherapy to candles, Tibetan bowls, hemp products, clothing, books, tarot and oracle cards and so much more, focusing on spirituality, fair trade, eco-friendly and wellness.

The first 50 people through the door will grab a Living Wellness Promo Bag filled with special offers and discounts to be redeemed on the day or for services in the future and lucky door prizes will be drawn during the day.

Beer, Food and Wine Festival 2023

When: Sunday 17 September, 11 am to 5 pm
Where: Towradgi Beach Hotel, 170 Pioneer Rd, Towradgi
Cost: Free entry, book here.

The sun is expected to shine on this event, offering you and the family a fun way to discover and celebrate the region’s diverse range of culinary delights and craft beverages as well as the best international products. The Illawarra’s most creative food producers, innovative winemakers, best craft beer and distillers come together for one big, exciting festival along with live entertainment, kids activities, door prizes, guest speakers and much more.

There will be more than 40 local and international beverage, food and market stalls, so round up the crew and get tasting.


The Stevie Wonder Story

When: Thursday 21 September, 8 pm
Where: Anita’s Theatre, 264-270 Lawrence Hargrave Dr, Thirroul
Cost: $83.54, book here.

Presenting wonderfully authentic renditions of the great classic hits from Stevie’s songbook, including Superstition, Sir Duke, Higher Ground, Signed Sealed Delivered, Master Blaster, I Wish, Uptight and many more.

Billed as a “superbly rich musical and visual feast” it features a full eight-piece band and an incredible lineup of musicians and singers whose global touring and studio recording credits include Beyonce, Grace Jones, Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, Pharrell Williams, Annie Lennox, Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, and the man himself, Stevie Wonder.

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