18 to 20 June 2021
Civic Centre, Ulladulla

With a schools program and a diverting line-up of authors and events, Storyfest is back in business under the patronage of author Markus Zusak and artistic direction of author Meredith Jaffé. The program will soon be published on the festival website

Barbie talks to Meredith Jaffé about Storyfest
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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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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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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. 

Film review: Two by Two Overboard!

Now playing at Hoyts, Limelight and Palace cinemas in Canberra
89 minutes, rated PG (Mild themes)

This animated German-Luxembourg-Irish co-production (also known by the title Ooops! The Adventure Continues) is a sequel to the 2015 family film known in the UK and Ireland as Two by Two, and All Creatures Big and Small in the US.

It continues the Noah’s Ark theme of the original, this time with the colourful Nestrian and carnivorous Grymp family of stowaways on a creaky ark. With no land in sight, the one thing which keeps the carnivorous animals from eating the herbivores are communal meals of green slop – and food supplies are dwindling fast.

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FourPlay adds excitement to Good Folk in Queanbeyan

FourPlay String Quartet at Good Folk
5.30pm Sunday 4 April 2021
Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall

In 1995, four members of the Australian Youth Orchestra started ‘mucking around’ and playing covers of artists such as Jimi Hendrix. As a joke, they entered a university band competition – and won.

After 25 years, FourPlay is still a string quartet, comprised of violinist and singer Lara Goodridge, viola players Tim Hollo and Shenzo Gregorio, and cellist (and Tim’s brother), Peter Hollo. But there’s no penguin suit or evening gown in sight.

In this interview with Richard, FourPlay violist Tim Hollo talks about the group, its history, and his environmental activism.
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Off the page and onto the stage: poetry from and in the heart of Queanbeyan

Omar Musa with Guyy and the Fox
2:30 – 4:15pm Saturday 3 April 2021
The Q, Queanbeyan

There may be more yarns than at a knitting bee when Omar Musa performs at the Good Folk event in Queanbeyan over Easter. And they’ll be carefully blended with songs and poems.

This interview with Omar Musa also features the first reading of his new poem, Flannel Flowers
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Fire and pandemic help forge new musical style

Kim Yang Trio
Royal Hotel Queanbeyan
7pm Sunday 4 April 2021

Expect to hear some jazz, blues and perhaps a little pop along with folk when Taiwanese-born singer-songwriter Kim Yang performs with her band at Good Folk in Queanbeyan at Easter.

Kim says her style has changed dramatically since her performance at the 2019 National Folk Festival. It’s hardly surprising, given what she’s been through over the past two years.

Kim Yang talks to Richard about the forthcoming performances at Good Folk. The interview includes her song Garden of Eden and her latest track, Dominoes
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Isla Patterson – Hall Countryside and Beyond

Kyeema Gallery at Capital Wines
Open Thursday to Monday 11.30am to 5pm
13 Gladstone Street, Hall, NSW
Until 19 April 2021

An exhibition by Isla Patterson always excites much attention from her many fans. Her skilful and evocative depictions of our landscapes, flora and fauna never disappoint.

Barbie spoke to Isla Patterson at Kyeema Gallery
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Carolyn Fitzpatrick – Drawing

Strathnairn, Woolshed Gallery
96 Stockdill Drive Holt ACT
Until 18 April 2021
Open Thursday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm, Saturday – Sunday 12 pm – 3 pm

Carolyn Fitzpatrick’s superb drawings in ink and pastel carry a deep reverence for the landscape and for the tenacious power of nature Her sensitive evocation of land has found a perfect home in the woolshed at Strathnairn.

Barbie spoke to Carolyn Fitzpatrick at the Woolshed Gallery
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Playful theme for new $25,000 sculpture prize

[email protected]
Entries open nationally until 28 May 2021
Shaw Vineyards in partnership with Belconnen Arts Centre
4 to 19 September 2021 at Shaw Vineyards, Murrumbateman, NSW
Ticketed event with COVID limitations on numbers

This new prize aims to celebrate outdoor public art that exudes a sense of play and imagination. Artists are encouraged to challenge viewers with experiential works that can be small, large scale, or site specific to the beautiful Shaw Wines and surrounding Murrumbateman countryside.

Graeme Shaw, from Shaw Wines, and Monica McInerney, Co-CEO of Belco Arts, spoke to Barbie about [email protected]
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Polonius Productions – A reading of the classic Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Sunday, 28 March 2021
Riverbank Cafe, Trinculo Place, Queanbeyan (weather permitting)
Performance begins at 4.30pm; concludes approx 5.15pm

Phillip Mackenzie, who has a life-long attachment to the Rubaiyat, is joined by Dawn Gardiner in a witty and wistful conversation between the ageing poet and his slightly more worldly houri; they are supported with traditional dance by Alli Jury Gereige and music by John Mimellis.

Selected verses will be read in the original Farsi by Sam Sharifi.

Phillip Mackenzie speaks to Barbie about the Rubaiyat
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Rebus Theatre – The Beauty Thief

26 March at 7pm, 27 March at 2pm and 28 March at 5pm, 2021
Belconnen Community Theatre
23 Swanson Court Belconnen ACT

Devised by a cast of people with differing abilities, The Beauty Thief is a reflection on the idea of beauty, and its relationship to worth and power.

Barbie spoke to some of the cast and crew of The Beauty Thief

In the form of a traditional fairy tale, the story unfolds using minimal dialogue, relying on movement and music to tell the tale, with dance sequences performed by the CDTeens from Canberra Dance Theatre.

Dialogue is projected to assist people who are hard of hearing or deaf. The show is not recommended for very young children.

Krys Saclier – Super Nova

Ford Street Publishing, Australia, 2019

This gentle story of girl power is told in the voice of Super Nova’s brother. She is always up to mischief but has everyone fooled except for him. Despite the challenges of being an older brother to Nova, he is always there to cheer her on – even through tussles with aliens.

Barbie speaks with Krys Saclier, author of Super Nova
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