Get your swimmers on and bring a towel as Epping Aquatic Centre throws open its doors for a Christmas pool party. Celebrate the arrival of summer with an inflatable obstacle course, face painting, a visit from Santa and even a petting zoo. Your gold coin donation will support drought relief efforts. Don’t forget to Slip, Slop, Slap.
Saturday, 12.30 – 4.30pm, Epping Aquatic Centre, Epping, gold coin donation, discoverparramatta.com
A ticket to NIDA’s Festival of Emerging Artists is your chance to say: “I knew them before they were famous.” The festival features seven student productions created by Australia’s emerging film and stage talent. Catch When Vampires Shop, a political comedy about a woman battling the big questions in life as she wrestles with an uncontrollable urge to buy … a luxury handbag. Or there’s Pagliacci, the story of an actor who can’t separate himself from the clown character he plays on stage.
Wednesday to Saturday, 7-9pm, NIDA, Kensington, $15, nida.edu.au
Immerse yourself in all things Japanese at the Matsuri Festival in Darling Harbour. Try some traditional treats (including sushi) at the food stalls, sample some Japanese beer and browse traditional arts and crafts including origami and calligraphy. On the stage, prepare to be entertained and energised by some J-Pop, traditional dancers and taiko drumming group Wadaiko Rindo. There’s even a martial arts demonstration with experts explaining the tricks of the trade.
Saturday, 11.30am-7.30pm, Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour, free, matsurisydney.com
Would it be Christmas without a classical rendition of your favourite carols? The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Noël! Noël! series includes all the obvious candidates (Stille Nacht, Deck the Halls and O Come All Ye Faithful) as well as other pieces from Handel and Vivaldi. American soprano soloist Morgan Balfour is the orchestra’s special guest as you bring in the festive season in style.
Until December 18, Sydney, Parramatta, Mosman, Wahroonga and Woollahra, $59-179, brandenburg.com.au
Nineteenth-century author Henry Lawson probably didn’t envisage that his short story The Drover’s Wife would still have a life in 2019. But Australian actor and writer Leah Purcell this week published her new book of the same name, in which she reimagines the classic story almost 130 years later. Join philosopher Simon Longstaff in conversation with Purcell as they delve into the book’s still-relevant issues of race, violence and gender.
Wednesday, 6.30pm, 55 Erskineville Rd, Erskineville, $5, betterreadevents.com
For all the shoppers out there, the Finders Keepers market at Barangaroo will overwhelm you with options. There are more than 200 stalls selling all manner of things including jewellery, art and craft, clothing, beauty products And for those who find themselves being dragged along by a significant other, fear not: there are dozens of food trucks, bars and coffee cups to soothe your sorrows.
Saturday and Sunday, The Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve, Barangaroo, $5, thefinderskeepers.com
Sometimes, the most interesting things are staring us in the face. The art exhibition In Plain Sight features an eclectic mix of painters exploring what’s behind the everyday things in our lives. They celebrate the mundane as they uncover deeper meaning. Another installation – hilariously entitled final_FinalFINALfianLlfiiiiinaL.pdf – showcases the work of final-year design students from UTS. The exhibition celebrates the chaos and sleepless nights of uni student life and raises the question of whether any finished works are actually final?
Until December 16, Gaffa gallery, 281 Clarence Street, Sydney, free, gaffa.com.au
Josh Dye is a news reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.