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Experiences are invaluable and make the best memories. Do something different, try something new, explore the city and have some family fun with our Sydney weekend activity guide.

ACTION
Activate the adrenaline and eliminate the boredom with this action-packed To-Do list. Bonus points if you do it too!

iFLY Sydney Indoor Skydiving
Pull-on your superhero suit and leap into the thrilling experience of indoor skydiving. In a controlled environment for ages 3 – 103 and no aeroplane to jump out of, there’s almost no excuse not to give it a try! www.iflyworld.com.au

Lets Go Surfing
Perhaps your local pool isn’t quite cutting it and your kids are keen on a new experience or a new hobby. A surf lesson is a fantastic way to dive into the summer and as a bonus, teach kids about resilience – if you fall down, you get back up and go again.

 

Lets Go Surfing facilitates private and group lessons for kids, families, and adults looking to take their water skills up a notch (bragging rights included!). Sydney locations include Bondi and Maroubra. https://letsgosurfing.com.au/

Treetop Adventure Park
It’s a choose your own adventure, in real life. Fly through tree-tops, climb, weave and wobble your way through 100 elevated obstacles. You might even meet some native Australian wildlife in the giant gum trees!
https://www.treetops.com.au/

Luna Park
Another park, but of the ride kind. You know the one. Endless fun and excitement for all!
https://www.lunaparksydney.com/

Ice Zoo
We know Sydney summers can be a scorcher. Pretend you’re in a winter wonderland and cool off at Ice Zoo Ice Skating.
www.icezoo.com/

9D Action Cinemas
If having a family feels action-fuelled and chaotic enough, this one might be for you!  Although you’ll be bearing the brunt of smoke, wind, snow, water, and fire via 3D glasses and 9D effects, you won’t need to reign it in or take the wheel on this one. Sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.
https://www.9dactioncinemas.com.au/

Manly Kayak Centre
Explore the pristine waters of North Harbour with kayak hire, stand-up paddleboard, boat hire, lessons, and tours at Manly Kayak Centre! You will be paddling in paradise, exploring exclusive beaches, and taking in the stunning scenery along the way!

Raging Waters Sydney
Slip, slop, slap, kick and splash at Sydney’s biggest water park. If sliding down a whirlwind is too much for your stomach to handle, race your family on the eight-lane water racecourse or relax in the Cabana retreat by the wave pool.
https://ragingwaterssydney.com.au/

EDUCATION AND MUSEUMS
Learning made easy by visiting these interactive, eye-opening exhibitions and attractions.

Powerhouse Museum
Have you ever wanted to walk through a koala train made from over 2,000 multi-coloured pom poms? Probably not. But artist Rosie Deacon has, and she’s brought it to life at the Powerhouse for the school holidays. There’s something for everyone, with further exhibitions exploring Australian music, the future home, science, and design.
https://maas.museum/powerhouse-museum/ 

Museum of Contemporary Art
The MCA makes learning fun and accessible with their new online activities based on the current exhibition Anywhere but here: MCA Primavera Acquisitions. The activities can take place online at home or in the galleries via audio-guide. Suitable for ages 4+, the activities include string and body mapping, paper storytelling, looking through the viewfinder, and drawing your celebration, inspired by featuring artists.
https://www.mca.com.au/ 

Australian National Maritime Museum
It’s all hands on deck at the Maritime Museum. There are exhibitions including Beach Couture – a collection of wearable artworks made from rubbish and plastic pollution in the ocean, performances, tours, creative workshops, ocean labs, and the immersive and magical experience of Badu by Erth.
All aboard the Sea Museum! https://www.sea.museum/

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
If you’ve been indoors for too long and are after a temporary escape from the city, immerse yourself in the Royal Botanic Garden. Have a sunset picnic or take a pleasant walk through the Palace Rose Garden. Join a crafty workshop or guided tour and hear the stories of the Cadigal people and the plants that grow.  https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/

Madame Tussauds
Superheroes, world leaders, Bollywood stars, Aussie icons, celebrities and fame, join the red carpet and be in the same room as your favourite people at Madame Tussauds. This jaw-dropping museum will have you rocking in the spotlight to your favourite songs, recreating album covers and transforming into a superhero using the museum’s new Augmented Reality featuring body-tracking sensors.
https://www.madametussauds.com/sydney/ 

Sea Life Aquarium
Just next door to Madame Tussauds you can explore the fascinating sea life at the Aquarium. Face your fears as you walk under some of the world’s biggest aquarium sharks, including Grey Nurse Sharks. This 180-degree tunnel experience is always a highlight!
https://www.visitsealife.com/sydney/

One school’s decision to ban kids from handing out birthday invitations in the playground has enraged parents across the country.

Mosman Public School in Sydney has banned children from handing out birthday invitations in the playground due to concerns that kids who are not invited will feel left out.

Parents will now have to “covertly” collect the email addresses of their children’s friends’ parents in order to send out e-invites, according to the Daily Telegraph. Children will also have to refrain from talking about their birthday plans at school.

The ban is allegedly the result of one child recently becoming distressed after not receiving an invitation to a classmate’s birthday celebration.

The ban is allegedly the result of one child recently becoming distressed after not receiving an invitation to a classmate’s birthday celebration.

The Department of Education told Yahoo News that the decision came “at the request of parents, and in consultation with the school community.”

Parents across the nation have flocked to social media to weigh in on the new rule, with 87% of those polled saying that the school had gone too far.

Those in support of the move say that not receiving a birthday invite can be emotionally scarring for children, especially if they are the only ones not invited. They particularly focused on special needs children who are often on the receiving end of this type of rejection.

Others called the new rule “ridiculous”, with one woman saying the school was “creating a generation of sooks.” They claim that shielding children from rejection will only hinder their social development and keep them from building up a tolerance for disappointment. “We have to build resilient kids,” said one mum.

What do you think? Has the school gone too far, or have they made the right decision?

Cockatoo Island was a wonderful find – a local adventure for my family.

Set in the middle of Sydney Harbour, Cockatoo Island is easy to visit with frequent ferries, yet feels removed from a city environment.

Cockatoo Island is a wonderful, easy getaway for families to experience glamping under the night’s sky. This is so much fun for kids!

Surprisingly, it was a relaxing and tranquil environment, as well as a unique experience in which we learnt about the Island’s rich heritage, having been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, for its important place in Australia’s colonial development involving aboriginal, convicts and World War II history.

There were fun things to do as a family, including tennis, giant chess and a fascinating audio tour of the Island’s heritage.

But, probably the best part for us was glamping! We hadn’t been camping before (mainly due to my lack of practical resources to make it happen!), so this option was so convenient and enjoyable.

We got cosy in a spacious and kit-out tent, which comprised two separate bedrooms, a family room and and a small outdoor deck. Waterfront.

The beds were comfortable and everything had been thought of including an esky, lamp, snug, holiday chairs and tables.

There is also a cinema experience and opportunity to toast marshmallows by a campfire in traditional camping style.

While this was all great fun, I really relished the stay in their 1916-colonial style apartments. These were so romantic, maintained in sync with the colonial style, yet offered all the conveniences I have become used to – heating and fans, a modern kitchen, TV, lovely BBQ, deck and patio area and loads of space!

Cockatoo Island frequently offers events and exhibitions. For more information visit www.cockatooisland.gov.au/events

Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go to Hollywood.

This is the byline of the talented Becks sisters show The Sin-Sational Rita and Mae.

Old Hollywood 20th century social conventions, raunchy references, sexual innuendo, catchy Jazz tunes complimented by the sisters talented voices and great scripting, are all implemented in an hour performance, that is guaranteed to stick with audiences for much longer.

Golden Age films like Goin’ To Town (1935), Gilda (1946) and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) is what sparked a passion and curiosity inside two young sisters who yearned to one day live their lives out on the stage.

And their dream became a reality.

Melody and Lucinda Beck are the leads in their own show The Sin-Sational Rita and Mae, playing real life Hollywood actresses Rita Hayworth and Mae West.

Rita Hayworth (1918-1987) was an American actress and singer born in Brooklyn, New York. Hayworth is known for being a WWII pin up girl and for her incredible career, starring in 61 films in just 37 years. She resembled all that the Hollywood industry yearned for female actresses to behave like.

Mary Jane ‘Mae’ West (1893-1980) spanned her career from New York to Hollywood as a singer, actress, comedian, playwright and screen writer. She is most famous for her comment, “I believe in censorship. I made a fortune in it.” West was a controversial figure, pushing social conventions and boundaries and creating a career out of being a Hollywood sex symbol.

The Beck sisters cleverly combined both characters into one performance, mimicking the Hollywood industry and juxtaposing Mae West who abided by social conventions with Rita Hayworth who was a provocative figure.

The show was just ten days into its course when I watched the talented girls perform at the small quirky theatre The Butterfly Club, off Little Collins street in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, for the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

Both sisters are trained singers in Classical music, Jazz, Musical Theatre and Contemporary.

The show consisted of the right amount of old jazz songs, musical verses, historical references, conversation and sexual innuendo, usually from Lucinda.

Melody entered the stage in a tight Hollywood inspired velvet sleeveless gown, while Lucinda followed wearing a form fitting black dress and a fur throw over, mimicking her character of Mae West to perfection.

Melody purchased her dress from the US and Lucinda from London, and they both had their hair in tight curls to further reflect the old Hollywood era they were trying to represent.

Melody’s voice remained strong and powerful throughout the show. You could have heard a pin drop in the room when she sang, especially as she hit the high notes. Lucinda is equally as talented, perfecting that old Hollywood sexy movie star voice, that remained consistent and fluent throughout her performance.

The girls were born into a family of performers, whom they attribute their creative genius to with family has roots in the Wirth’s Circus, Australia’s most prestigious circus company, starting out back in 1882.

Their mother, Jenny Beck is also a singing teacher and the girls took lessons from their mother and other singing teachers, which is who they credit their talented voices to.

“We’ve grown up side stage and our parents were in the Gilbert and Sullivan society, so we were always in the wings and singing along and page turning. That’s part of how we learnt to read music as well”, said Lucinda.

The Sin-Sational Rita and Mae was scripted by Melody and Jenny Beck, who ensured the script flowed fluently and logically, despite neither Rita or Mae ever meeting.

“Mae paved the way for Rita and then Rita paved the way for Mae to come back in’, said Lucinda.

Initially the show was just about Rita Hayworth but they decided to combine both actresses, because “they just missed each other but were still moving in the same circles just not at the same times in Hollywood”, said Melody.
This logical decision resulted in a show stopping performance filled with old school Jazz songs that gave you an urge to sing along and transported you to a time and era of Hollywood celebrities, and censorship in the media industry.

“It still resonates today, a lot of what they represented. Like Mae West was ahead of her times!”, said Melody.

She further added,

“they’re both femme fatales but in very different ways. They’ve both have very different values and approaches but they were pigeon holed in the same place.”

Aside from their successful careers on the stage, both sisters are also singing teachers, and are heavily involved in the music industry outside of performing.

Melody lives a double life working as receptionist at a pool in Sydney during the day and writing cabarets, auditioning and performing by night.

Lucinda is also a voice over artist and professional hair dresser.

When asked where to from here the girls were bursting with ideas and excited about the future opportunities they have planned.

Both sisters have organised to perform at the Perth Fringe Festival and Melbourne Comedy Show with ambitions to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next August, the world’s largest arts festival founded in 1947.

Planning has already started for future shows with so much preparation going into each performance from scripting, drafting, editing, rehearsing all the way to costuming, which is a particular favourite of the sisters.

“A lot of this show involved compiling autobiographies and quotes from both actresses, including their movies and direct quotes and songs from their films. And then figuring out how to gel those together to make it a show that actually flows, and create a story”, said Lucinda.

Finding a talented pianist also went into planning for the show. Throughout the duration of the performance the talented Daniele Buatti performed magically, never missing a beat and accompanying the girl’s performance without overpowering their voices.

You could sense and see the passion on his face throughout his act, only ever rotating his eyes from his piano to his sheet music.

Daniele has worked with talents such as Australian actress, singer and comedian Queenie Van De Zandt and singer and actress Amanda Harrison. His role extends from a pianist to an accompanist, arranger and musical director.

You can find Daniele working in cabarets across Australia and notable dance schools in Melbourne such as Patrick Studios Australia and Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance.

Daniele taught himself how to play the piano after enrolling himself in two music elective classes in Year Nine. He also plays the flute, cello and guitar but is in no time looking to take them up professionally, over the piano.

“Two weeks prior to my first semester, I convinced my older brother to buy a keyboard and I spent every night practising, right up until the beginning of the semester. Before purchasing the keyboard, I had taught myself my theory, learnt how to read and was practising on a paper keyboard I made in Microsoft Paint!”.

He is also the Music Director for Melbourne’s very own Broadway Unplugged.

 

“I work to bring together a bunch of artists that are performing in industry musicals around Melbourne, accompanied by myself and a three-piece band.”

Launched in 2013, Daniele has run the event for the past five years. The show consists of performers taking the stage monthly at Melbourne’s very own Toff in Town, located in Swanston street. Daniele arranges the acts, backs vocalists, rehearses with artists and performs.

But Daniele’s talents don’t stop there. He also hosts and performs several times a month at an event called Be You, that celebrates up and coming talent, at Melbourne’s Jazz Café.

The Sin-Sational Rita and Mae was a show that celebrated talent, promoted great artists and provided audiences with an entertaining evening filled with great singing, humorous historical references and transportation into an unfamiliar era, all whilst commemorating the good that came out of this old Hollywood industry.

With such a strong talent on the stage, all you felt like doing what getting up and performing! Or in my case, wishing I had the talent to perform!

 

The joy both sisters receive from performing, appreciation for all those who attended and passion they feel when singing and acting is felt by everyone in the room, from audience members sitting in the front row right to the lighting director up the back.

Their excitement extends right out to post-performance when they mingle with the audience plastering a contagious smile on their faces, creating a positive, energetic atmosphere and environment for all those who attended.

Such a talented trio – and a brilliant performance that I definitely recommend going to watch.