MonthApril 2021

Dianna Nixon – Millicent

Dalton Hall 2pm to 4pm
The Old Picture House Gallery and Theatre, Gunning, 6pm to 8pm
24 April 2021

Millicent Armstrong was a Gunning soldier settler farmer and a playwright – a reading of four of her one act plays will be the first performance presented by the newly formed Music Theatre Projects P/L under the leadership of musician, teacher, composer and director Dianna Nixon.  Dianna is also a Gunning resident and found the story of Millicent, along with her plays, irresistible.

Dianna Nixon talks to Barbie about Millicent
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Janet Angus – Soul vs Soul

X Gallery
32 Gibraltar Street, Bungendore NSW
Until 5 June 2021
Open Fridays to Mondays 11am to 5pm

Janet Angus draws inspiration from architecture in this exhibition, in particular the brutalist. She has created a collection of three-dimensional works using layers of ply which are then painted, thus making a form of hanging sculpture which is at the same time a ‘painting’ in the traditional sense.

Barbie spoke to Janet Angus at X Gallery
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Jugiong Writers Festival

Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 May 2021
Jugiong Hall, Jugiong NSW
Short story and poetry competitions for adults and children, entries close 7 May 2021

Changes wrought by COVID have meant that this year’s festival will have a new look. Instead of writer presentations, there will be four workshops with limited attendance allowed.

The workshops are free thanks to special NSW Government funding, with just a $15 for each participant to allow professional cleaning of the hall before and after each session.

Barbie speaks with festival director, Freda Nicholls
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Tammi Gissell – Rainbow Serpent

In association with Canberra International Music Festival, National Gallery of Australia, ANU School of Music and Ausdance ACT Dance Week
Fairfax Theatre National Gallery of Australia
Sunday 9 May 2021 at 12pm and 2pm

Dancer/choreographer Tammi Gissell, a woman of the Muruwarri nation of north-western New South Wales, has responded to music by Brian Howard to create a work honouring the spirit of the Rainbow Serpent, known by the Murrawarri people as Mundaguddah. This spirit is of the water and provides a portent, a message in signs on the land that must be observed and followed to avert disaster and to maintain the order of things.

Barbie spoke to Tammi Giselle about Rainbow Serpent
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Ellen Bennett and Jessica Peascod – Waterworks

Strathnairn Gallery  
96 Stockdill Drive Holt ACT
Until 2 May 2021
Open Thursday to Sunday 10am to 4pm

Having only relatively recently moved to a 200 acre sheep farm, Ellen Bennett had her first taste of the effects of drought as she watched dams dry up, whilst the whole nation watched large populations of fish die in riverways. Television images of the fish kill shocked urban dwellers and environmentalists as well as people on the land.

This experience and subsequent unnerving times of drought, fire and flood gave rise to this exhibition by Ellen Bennett and her daughter, Jessica Peascod. The works are both a celebration of water and a consideration of the fragility of water ecosystems and their inhabitants.

Bqrbie spoke to Ellen Bennett and Jessica Peascod at the opening of the exhibition on 8 April 2021
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Liz Lea – The Point

Belconnen Arts Centre
7:30pm 29 April – 1 May 2021
2pm 1 May 2021

The Point is a new full-length dance work celebrating interconnections in design, movement and music.

Debuting on International Dance Day Thursday 29 2021, The Point takes inspiration from the designs of Walter Burley Griffin & Marion Mahony Griffin and the notion of Bindu – the “point” of  creation in Hindu mythology. It also marks the 150th anniversary of Marion Mahony Griffin, and Australian Dance Week.

Barbie talks to Liz Lee about The Point
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AMEB invites entries for national online orchestra music project

Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB)
Entries open until 31 July 2021
Online orchestra performance of Morning Star and Evening Star in October 2021

Individuals, schools, choirs and community groups are invited to download, rehearse and perform the music arrangement of Morning Star and Evening Star, written by Candace Kruger, a Kombumerri – Ngugi yarrabilgingun (songwoman) and Indigenous ethnomusicologist from south-east Queensland, with co-writers Lann Levinge and Isobella Kruger. 

Barbie spoke to composer of Morning Star and Evening Star, Candace Kruger
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Ausdance ACT – Dance Week

29 April to 9 May 2021
Various venues

Dance Week raises the profile of dance and focuses on the values, importance and the many cultural contributions of dance to the Australian community.

Barbie spoke with Ausdance ACT’s Cathy Adamek

The Ausdance network celebrates and promotes dance in all its forms every year in Australian Dance Week. The ACT launch day coincides with  International Dance Day.

​The program includes performances, come and try sessions, an online masterclass,  a dance jam for all comers, an impro workshop and classes for well being.

Details can be found at

Jenni Savigny – The Art of the Story Circle

Celebrating 10 years collaborating with communities to create personal stories
ACT Heritage Library, 255 Canberra Ave, Fyshwick ACT
Until 30 April 2021
Open weekdays 9.30am to 5pm and Saturdays 10am to 4pm.

This exhibition chronicles the work of digital storytelling facilitator Jenni Savigny and photographer Stephen Corey with many groups in the community. It provides a clear and evocative picture of the often marginalised people who have participated in the program.

Barbie spoke to Jenni Savigny at the exhibition
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Alli Sinclair – The Codebreakers

Mira, an imprint of Harlequin Enterprises, a subsidiary of Harper Collins, Australia, 2021

This latest novel by Alli Sinclair joins the slowly growing body of literary works about the role that women played in the two world wars. These stories have remained untold for decades and it is only relatively recently that popular fiction has turned its attention to them.

The women who worked in Brisbane at the rather drably named Central Bureau were responsible for codebreaking in the same way that the women of Bletchley Park were in Britain. Not only during the war but for decades after its end, their work was shrouded in secrecy and they were forbidden to talk about what they did.

Barbie talks to Alli Sinclair about The Codebreakers
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Travis Winks – Shattered

67 Days to a Family’s Self-Destruction
Big Sky Publishing, Australia , 2021

Shattered is a raw, honest account of the coming together of three tragedies in Travis Winks’ family life – events which are interconnected and which resulted in the shooting death of one family member, the attempted suicide of another and the imprisonment of a third.

Travis Winks talks about Shattered
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Rebecca Wilson – Kate Kelly

Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2021

This fascinating account of the life and death of Kate Kelly, sister of the infamous Ned Kelly, is told with a deep feminine sensitivity. That is to say, unlike many histories, it takes a female (perhaps feminist) view of the subject and the society in which she lived.

The state of Kate’s health around the time of her death, due to possible post-natal depression, general depression, substance use and the stresses of her too brief life as a whole, give the reader much food for thought. It’s also a strongly political work, highlighting the many injustices of the time based on class and wealth.

Barbie talks to Rebecca Wilson about Kate Kelly
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Alex and Annette Hood to receive lifetime achievement awards at Good Folk

Alex & Annette Hood – a Tribute
Supported by Paverty Bush Band and featuring St Gregory Primary School
Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall
1.30pm Saturday 3 April 2021

COVID-19 put paid to last year’s National Folk Festival, at which Alex and Annette Hood were to have received Lifetime Achievement Awards for their significant commitment and contribution to enriching folk music and culture in Australia. 

While this year’s festival was also cancelled, the Good Folk event in Queanbeyan during Easter will be a fitting opportunity for them to receive their awards.

Richard spoke with National Folk Festival managing director Helen Roben about the tribute to Alex and Annette Hood. The audio features excerpts from a performance of the Hoods’ Brumby Jack, recorded by the National Film and Sound Archive
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Canberra’s National Opera presents Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito

Llewellyn Hall, ANU School of Music
10, 13, 15, 17 April 2021
Accompanied by the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dane Lam

Themes of power, love, jealousy, guilt, treachery and forgiveness make this a perfect piece for National Opera’s 2021 season in its Canberra home, the seat of the nation’s political power.

The all-Australian cast includes Bradley Daley as Tito, Helena Dix as Vitellia, Catherine Carby as Sesto, Eleanor Greenwood as Annio, Mikayla Tate as Servilia and Andrew Collis as Publio.

Barbie spoke to National Opera’s Artistic Director, Peter Coleman-Wright AO, at the season launch

An excellent synopsis of this opera can be found at

National Opera is a Canberra-based arts organisation and registered charity. Its vision is to foster a national and local community of opera enthusiasts and build a sustainable organisation to support opera artists of the future.

Visit to learn more or support their work. 

Kayte Nunn – The Last Reunion

Hachette, Australia, 2021

Another fine work of historical fiction by Kayte Nunn, The Last Reunion focusses on the women of the Women’s Auxiliary Services Burma (WASBies). It’s another of the largely untold stories of the contribution of women to the Second World War effort – these plucky women were the closest to the frontline of any servicewomen in this conflict, their role being to run a mobile canteen for the soldiers in the battlefield.

Kayte Nunn talks to Barbie about The Last Reunion
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