MonthMarch 2020

The Street: Breaking the Castle

Written and performed by Peter Cook
Nightly at 7.30pm until Saturday 14 March 2020

Actor David can’t get enough, of anything. Alcohol, drugs, women, gambling – whatever it takes to escape – and this bender could be his last.  But in the mountains of Southeast Asia, he is offered a chance at redemption.

Barbie speaks with Peter Cook about Breaking the Castle
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Dervla McTiernan – The Rúin

Harper Collins Publishers, Australia, 2018

This is the first of now three Cormac Reilly crime novels, the latest having just been released in March 2020 and currently being toured nationally by its. I have come late to Dervla’s work it seems but am immediately a fan. The other two await in my book basket.

The Rúin is a story that spans two decades, and it can aptly be described by the much over-used word ‘gripping’. A murky tale of child abuse and its long tendrils runs as the underplot to the 2013 murder/suicide story, connected by Jack and Maude, with whom Cormac comes into contact in 1993 when he is a junior cop in Mayo.

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Genevieve Gannon – The Mothers

Allen & Unwin, 2020

Ostensibly the story of an IVF mix-up, The Mothers is the story of three women in search of family and identity. The expectations and demands of a society based on family units affects them all and to some extent leads to some aberrant and essentially out of character behaviour.

Grace and her husband Dan have had six unsuccessful attempts at IVF and their lives are totally enveloped in the desire for a pregnancy and live birth. Priya and her husband Nick are attending the same fertility clinic and are also struggling to achieve a successful outcome. At the same time, they have problems with their marriage which come to a head, causing them to separate. Ashley Li is a young doctor at the fertility clinic, deeply committed to her patients, living without having known her father and now  in a relationship with her (older) boss.

Barbie speaks with Genevieve Gannon about The Mothers
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Kerri Turner – The Daughter of Victory Lights

HQ Fiction Australia, 2020 (an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises, a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers Australia)

This is Kerri Turner’s second historical fiction novel. It is set between 1942 and 1963 in Britain and is very much the story of the restrictions and freedoms society placed, and to some extent continues to place, on women.

The impacts of war and other forms of violence are explored at a macro level – we interest ourselves in the personal stories of the men and women in this novel and the wounds they carry from what they have seen, done and had done to them, as well as their capacity for re-invention and courage.

Barbie speaks with Kerri Turner about The Daughter of Victory Lights
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Shamini Flint – Inspector Singh investigates: A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree

The fourth of the Inspector Singh investigates stories
Piatkus 2011

One of the great strengths of Shamini Flint’s Inspector Singh series is her capacity to take us to very dark places in society and history whilst at the same time engaging us in a work of contemporary crime fiction with her delicious humour and lithe story-telling prowess.

Who would think that the killing fields of Cambodia would allow this? And yet this book delivers both an exploration of this hideous history and a story of the personal impacts and long tendrils of this history, wrapped in the highly readable and absorbing tale of Singh’s murder investigation – again he goes off-road from his original assignment to be an observer at an international war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh.

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10th Art Not Apart festival

12 – 15 March 2020
NewActon, Shine Dome, National Film and Sound Archive and Albert Hall

The theme for this year’s Art Not Apart festival is Today I, Tomorrow You, and organisers expect to draw more than 20,000 people in an extended four-day program.

The main event, on Saturday 14 March, will be a free contemporary arts festival featuring more than 200 artists from the Canberra region and beyond, presenting works traversing performance art, music, installations, visual art, street art, film and moving image.

The arts will be complemented by a Suitcase Rummage featuring over 70 stalls, street food, local wine tasting and a festival bar

To celebrate the festival’s 10th anniversary, a selection of ticketed events will also be held at the Albert Hall including an improvised jazz and projections concert on Friday 13 March, a wild performance art party after the main festival on Saturday 14 March, and a boutique electronic music event during the day on Sunday 15 March.

Festival producer David Caffery says, ‘it’s been an incredible journey for Art, Not Apart so far. In the nine festivals we’ve mounted since 2012, the festival presented over 2000 artists from the Canberra region and beyond.

‘Many of these artists have returned to perform or exhibit at the festival, and we’re proud to play a part in their development.” He also adds, “this year is Art, Not Apart’s coming of age – and a celebration of how far the festival has come.’

Information and the program are available at

New Life, New Hope

Music to Awaken and to Heal
The Chapel, Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture
Barton ACT
7.30pm Saturday 14 March 2020

Combined choristers of Canberra, together with professional soloists and small orchestra, directed by Judith Clingan AM, will present a sequence of Australian choral and vocal compositions which look at the historical and present realities of climate change, fires and environmental crisis.

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Australian Festival of Chamber Music defers, announces 2021 dates

23 July – 1 August 2021
Townsville, Queensland

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced deferral of the 30th Australian Chamber of Chamber Music, but renowned British pianist Kathryn Stott will remain at the helm for her third and final festival.

The now-cancelled 2020 festival was to have included special performances to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, performance of a set of variations to mark a special anniversary for festival stalwarts the Goldner Quartet, a concert on Palm Island, and much more.

Information about ticket transfers and refunds is available at