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To repurpose an old dad joke: daylight savings? More like daylight spendings! We might have more sun in our evenings but with the soaring cost of living it can seem harder to fill those hours. Luckily we’ve got you covered: here are 25 ways to keep up your culture habit that won’t set you back more than a lobster and change.
Recovering perfectionist Scout Boxall takes you on a tour of everything they’ve ever quit, reminding us along the way why this outstanding comedian has become such an industry icon in just five or so years.
$21.50, Trades Hall
Scout Boxall was nominated for best newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival last year for their debut solo work Good Egg.
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
You could cough up more than a hundred bucks to catch acclaimed French conductor Chloé van Soeterstède’s shows with the MSO … or pay a fraction of that to watch the rehearsal.
$15, Hamer Hall
A wall of dioramas presents loungerooms of the past inside ACMI.Credit: Adam Gibson
You know it for large-scale exhibitions such as Goddess, but don’t forget that ACMI is also a functioning cinema. Pay $9 to see a new release like Asteroid City? On a weekend? Positively absurd. Plus permanent show The Story of the Moving Image is free year-round.
Various prices, ACMI
Science Gallery Melbourne’s latest exhibition explores the dark matter that’s everywhere but has baffled scientists for generations. It’s both a rich sensory experience and a deep intellectual encounter that may shake up your understanding of the universe.
Free, Science Gallery Melbourne
Tix at 12
Our $25 price cap means you’re barred entry to any of the theatres within Arts Centre Melbourne. Unless you score one of the discounted tickets offered online from midday to midnight each Tuesday.
Various prices, artscentremelbourne.com.au
Ridiculusmus are a cult double act whose idiosyncratic style of dark, intelligent comedy has won admirers across the globe. Here they play long-lost brothers attempting to reunite in the wake of their mother’s death.
$20, Trades Hall
Big Games Night Out offers an immersive night in Fed Square.Credit: Ian Laidlaw
Big Games Night Out
Melbourne International Games Week is this year taking over Fed Square with a large-scale event featuring fashion designers, DJs, performers and cosplay. Showcasing local hits including Cult of the Lamb and Stray Gods, it’s a chance to size up Melbourne’s growing indie game culture.
Free, Fed Square
Taiwanese circus outfit FOCA are in Melbourne for this year’s Fringe, and a series of pop-up street events will give you a taste of in a free outdoor setting.
Free, Melbourne Museum Forecourt and Queen Victoria Market
With a name meaning “many mobs”, this exhibition illustrates the diversity of art being created by First Nations artists in Australia today, ranging from emerging artists to senior figures in the cultural landscape.
Free, NGV Australia
Aiden Willcox is one of the rising stars of Australian comedy, winning best newcomer at this year’s MICF, best comedy at last year’s Fringe, and scoring a Golden Gibbo nomination at the comedy festival last year. Expect his latest Fringe show to only increase that reputation.
$25, Trades Hall
Con vs Con vs Con
Con Coutis is another Golden Gibbo nominee, and there are few awards that announce someone as doing something truly unique with the comedy form. His new show looks like comic mayhem.
$25, The Motley Bauhaus
The front seat of a beat-up Beamer acts as the playing space for this dark tribute to the road movie genre created by renowned variety artist Anna Lumb and drag icon Dandrogyny. Seatbelts optional.
$25, Trades Hall
This mini-festival of words and ideas run by the Wheeler Centre includes two dozen events featuring local and international writers. Most blow out our budget, but dig around and you’ll find a few offering $15 full price tickets or “pay what you wish” pricing.
Varying $$$, The Wheeler Centre
Tickets to shows at Red Stitch are well outside our budget, but if you can dig around the back of the couch you might be able to afford a discounted ticket to a preview. Up next is a three-hander set in the whirlwind bustle of Hanoi.
$28, Red Stitch
Enemies of Grooviness Eat Sh!t
For a while now Arts House in North Melbourne has provided a reduced rate for every show so that money isn’t a barrier to art. Why not check out the latest in-your-face offering from Emma Maye Gibson, aka the surreal sex clown Betty Grumble.
$20, Arts House
Maya King in Nevenka, Goldah Tekewia in Bianca Spender, Ambassador Ayesha Madon in BEC + BRIDGE, James Keyte in Dom Bagnato and Belle Leslie in Aje at the Melbourne Fashion Week launch.Credit: Simon Schluter
Melbourne Fashion Week
A ticket to one of the main runway shows at MFW will regularly set you back 10 times the amount we’ve budgeted for here, but there are cartloads of free pop-up runways and conversation events showcasing emerging designers and trends.
Free, various locations
Melbourne’s dance scene is in the midst of a particularly healthy streak, and you can dive right in at Dancehouse with a suite of offerings that won’t cost more than $25. There are nine shows playing as part of Melbourne Fringe, and they’re even scheduled so you can catch them all in just a few days.
Comedy at the Coopers Inn
Our comedy and fringe festivals offer serious serves to local laugh-hounds, but there are rooms that provide the same fare year-round. Try the weekly nights at the Coopers Inn, where you might catch the likes of Tom Gleeson or Celia Pacquola in the line-up.|
$20, The Coopers Inn
Granny Bingo’s Thomas Jaspers, Scott Brennan and Kyle Minall.Credit: Simon Schluter
A drag bingo night hosted by three garish seniors might sound a little niche, but this regular outing is seriously funny stuff. Edith, Maureen and Caroline didn’t win a major Melbourne International Comedy Fest award for phoning it in.
$25, Comedy Republic
Berna Reale’s work Palomo, 2012
Beneath the Surface, Behind the Scenes
Art is a language, and this exhibition brings together a wide range of contemporary Latin American artists and puts them in conversation with our local talent.
$22, Heide Museum of Modern Art
Meditative Sound Bath
Melbourne’s Immigration Museum is always a contemplative space, but if you need a break from imbibing all of this culture, sign up for an aural journey with its roots in yoga practice. Part meditation, part mind massage, you’ll be all ears.
$25, Immigration Museum
You can hardly find a decent coffee for $7 these days, but for the same price you can score a ticket to films at Carlton’s finest movie house. The catch? The price only applies during the day on Mondays, and goes up to $10 on Monday evenings. Still a bargain, obvs.
$7-10, Cinema Nova
Another film venue keeping up the increasingly rare practice of discounted tix is the Kino in Collins Place. For $7 to $10 on a Monday you can catch any current release from Blue Beetle to Past Lives. Or you could spend a day going full Barbenheimer with change left for lunch.
$7-10, Kino Cinema
Josh Thomas is workshopping new material.
Work in Progress
If all of these savings have padded out the change purse a bit, you might want to splash out a few extra bucks to catch Josh Thomas trying out new material in an appropriately named show before jetting back to the US.
$32, Comedy Republic
Find out the next TV, streaming series and movies to add to your must-sees. Get The Watchlist delivered every Thursday.
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