Newtown Arts and Culture
Live performance in Newtown
Newtown, and the surrounding neighbourhoods of Erskineville, Enmore and Marrickville boast a large number of performance spaces, independent theatres and live music venues. Here you can see up-and-coming works and performers, as well as seasoned veterans of the music and theatre scene.
Arts and Culture in Newtown
With its eclectic community of artists and hip, low-maintenance ethos, this diverse, unpretentious precinct is at the heart of the inner west's arts and culture scene. Stop in at one of the Newtown precinct’s many local, independent galleries. Take a peek at the ceramic works in the Kerrie Lowe Gallery on King Street, see contemporary works at Artsite on Salisbury Road and A-M Gallery on Wilson Street, and don’t miss Defiance Gallery on Enmore Road, known for its cutting edge sculptural works.
The suburb's been immortalised in song (The Whitlams’ Blow Up the Pokies for one) and today, indie, punk, folk rock and electro dominate the Newtown music scene. Catch a weekend band at The Marlborough, see international acts at The Enmore, take in dinner and a show at New Orleans-inspired venue The Vanguard or check out a gig at the Newtown Social Club (formerly the Sandringham Hotel). In terms of comedy and drama, the program at the Seymour Centre and the The King Street Theatre are not to be missed. There are also excellent performances at the Youth Theatre PACT in Erskineville, the New Theatre in Newtown, and comedy, music and experimental works at the Factory Theatre in Enmore.
The Newtown area is also rich in street art, starting with King Street's famous 'I Have A Dream mural, painted by Unmitigated Audacity Productions in 1991. It features Martin Luther King and the Aboriginal flag and is a significant local landmark. You’ll find murals, stencil art, paste-ups and other works of street art along King Street, May Lane, on Gladstone Street between Enmore Road and the Railway line, and on the walls of Camperdown Memorial Rest Park. The nature of street art is that it comes and goes, so the best way to see it is to wander the backstreets and snap a few photos. You can also sign up for a local running tour and explore the street art of the inner west.
Arts and culture come to life during the precinct's festivals; part of the Sydney Fringe Festival is held in Newtown each September, and in November the usually quiet Camperdown Memorial Park morphs into the lively Newtown Festival, complete with market stalls, local and national music acts and an open-air bar. Held on the second Sunday in November, this free festival raises funds for the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre and has been running for almost 40 years, attracting more than 90,000 visitors each year.
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