Top 10 things to do around the region

Published: 16 May 2022

Take the family along to see Shrek The Musical at the MECC or enjoy an art, music, writing or photography workshop. Whatever your interests, there’s a creative outlet for everyone across the region this week.

1) English Conversation Circles  

Thursday, May 19, 1pm to 2pm
Dudley Denny City Library
Do you want to practise your English-speaking skills? Whether you are just starting out, or advanced in your skills, our program will assist in your language development in a relaxed and supportive environment. Register through Eventbrite.

2) Get your guitar fix…  

Guitar Riff Raff, Thursday, May 19, 3.40pm to 4.40pm Register
Shredded Fingers Guitar Group, Thursday, May 19, 5.30pm to 6.30pm Register
Gordon White Library
Dial in different tones to your guitar and amplifier with riffs, licks and techniques for basic solos with Guitar Riff Raff. Then later, come along for playthroughs, gear try-outs and to share techniques with the Shredded Fingers Guitar Group’s monthly get-together. There’s something different every month and all musical tastes are welcome. We even provide guitars if you are just starting your musical journey. Both events are for 12 years and over.

3) Mackay Musical Comedy Players present ‘Shrek The Musical’

Thursday, May 19, 8pm  
Friday, May 20, 8pm 
Saturday, May 21, 2pm and 8pm

MECC Auditorium
Based on the oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film, Shrek The Musical is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure that brings all the beloved characters you know to life onstage. Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek – an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking donkey and a feisty princess. Shrek proves that beauty is truly in the eye of the ogre and sends the message to value individuality. Don’t miss this hugely popular local performance by the Mackay Musical Comedy Players. Book your tickets online at the MECC.

4) Conversations with Art   

Friday, May 20, 1pm to 2.30pm
Artspace Mackay
A free and enjoyable discussion led by Artspace staff looking at images of traditional and contemporary artworks from the gallery and museum. Whether you’re an artist, an art and language lover, beginner or expert, come along and enjoy this free, interesting, thought-provoking discussion. Book through Eventbrite.

5) Legends on the Lawn - postponed   

Please note, due to unforeseen circumstance, this event has been rescheduled to Saturday, August 27 at Harrup Park.
Join some of Australia’s most legendary musicians live at Harrup Park, including Jimmy Barnes, The Living End, Jon Stevens, Vika & Linda, Vanessa Amorosi, Busby Marou and Christine Anu. Food and beverages are available throughout the day. The event is part of the Invest Mackay Events and Conference Attraction Program. Find out more via the website.

6) Sydney Writers’ Festival Streamed Live

The annual Sydney Writers’ Festival is Australia’s largest forum celebrating books and ideas in the southern hemisphere. The festival brings the world’s finest authors and esteemed thinkers to our area in real-time through live streaming.

> Barrie Cassidy & Friends: Election 2022

Saturday, May 21, 10am to 11am
Gordon White Library
The only thing more essential for election 2022 than a sausage in a bread roll is this panel of Festival favourite Barrie Cassidy and his hand-chosen team of the country’s best commentators.Register

> Maxine Beneba Clarke & Omar Musa

Saturday, May 21, 2pm to 3pm
Gordon White Library
Hear from acclaimed Australian artists and writers Maxine Beneba Clarke and Omar Musa as they discuss their electrifying new poetry collections, which upend conventional wisdom about colonial history, climate change and our pandemic-afflicted times. Register

> Rebecca Solnit: Orwells’ Roses

Sunday, May 22, 10am to 11am
Dudley Denny City Library
The renowned author and activist joins host Sophie Black live via video to discuss her latest book Orwell’s Roses, a lush exploration of nature, pleasure and politics inspired by George Orwell’s love of gardening. Register

> Where Angels Fear to Tread

Sunday, May 22, 12pm to 1pm
Dudley Denny City Library
Our panel of brilliant legal and media minds – Hannah Marshall, Chris Masters and Kate McClymont – choose their words carefully with Erik Jensen as they explore why we have the harshest defamation laws in the world, and how this affects good public discourse. Register

> Liane Moriarty & Caroline Overington

Sunday, May 22, 2pm to 3pm
Dudley Denny City Library
In a very special conversation, The New York Times–bestselling author discusses her new novel, Apples Never Fall, the sensation around her TV adaptations, and her broader body of work, with Literary Editor of The Australian and author Caroline Overington (The Cuckoo’s Cry). Register

7) 9th Lane Mural

9th Lane, between Wood Street and Sydney Street
Marvel in the latest new colourful mural in the Mackay city centre, made possible by Mackay Laneway Project. Located
behind 9th Lane Grind café in Wood Street, the mural was completed by visiting artist, HAPPY DECAY, a multidisciplinary street artist and illustrator whose artwork isknown asbeingplayfully colourful with a splash of quirkiness, with the help of many volunteers from the community. Make sure you tag your fun photos #mackaylanewayproject when posting! Find out more by visiting Mackay Laneway Project on Facebook.

8) May Photo Walkabout Workshop – Composing flowers, big and small (CANCELLED)

Sunday, May 22, 9am to 11am
Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens
This month’s focus is about composing flower photos. Bring a macro lens and torch if you have one and meet at the Botanic Gardens Meeting Room (opposite the Café). These workshops are free to attend and suitable for anyone interested in photography and nature, with a smart device camera or DSLR. Workshops are hosted by Friends of the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens and supported by the Botanic Gardens and Mackay Camera Group. Bookings essential as places are limited. Phone the Gardens on 4952 7300 to book your spot.

9) Exhibition: The Art of Ida Rentoul Outhwaite   

Until Sunday, June 19
Foundation Gallery, Artspace Mackay
View one of the first major exhibition of work by a famous Australian fairy tale illustrator in decades. Creator of feminine and enchanting fairy-tale illustrations, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite was one of the first illustrators in Australia to produce luxury published books with coloured illustrations and to transplant the European fairy story into an Australian bush setting. The exhibition is a collection of first edition books and original watercolours dating from 1904 to the 1930s. These are incredibly rare items and many have never been exhibited publicly before. If you can’t attend the exhibition, take a 3D virtual tour online.

10) Exhibition – ‘Where a plant begins’ by Mackay’s Botanical Art Interest Group

Wednesday, May 25 to Sunday, June 22
Open Wednesday to Friday from 9am to 2pm, and weekends from 8am to 2pm
Lagoons Gallery, Botanic Gardens Cafe
Like the old conundrum - Which came first, the chicken or the egg - the same can be said for plants. Which came first the seed or the flower? In their latest exhibition, the botanical artists focus on a particular aspect of ‘where a plant begins’ or have portrayed the entire life cycle of a plant complete with flowers, seeds and features of their chosen plants. The showcase displays how the artists take live specimens and create a “living” piece of botanical art via their sketch books, photos and art materials. Visit Facebook events for more information.

> Meet the Artists – ‘Where a plant begins’ by Mackay’s Botanical Art Interest Group

Wednesday, May 25, 11am to 1pm
Lagoons Gallery, Botanic Gardens Cafe
Meet the artists from Mackay's Botanical Art Interest Group on opening day, to interpret their exhibition 'Where a Plant Begins' which is on display in the Lagoons Gallery within the Botanic Gardens Cafe. If you would like to attend or for more information, please contact Maya on 0436 331 009 or email


Mackay Festival of Arts program has been released

July to Mid-August, 2022
The biggest Festival of Arts program ever has been released and offers a glimpse into an amazing array of arts, entertainment and gastronomy from July through to August. With the iconic festival turning 35 this year, a record 27 events have been jammed packed into the program. View the full program and purchase tickets at the Mackay Festival of Arts website

Sarina Candle Lighting Ceremony

Friday, May 27, from 5pm
ANZAC Park, Sarina
Join in the ceremony to remember those who have lost their lives as a result of domestic and family violence. To keep up to date, visit Sarina Neighbourhood Centre Facebook event.

Positive Pregnancy & Birth Expo

Saturday, May 28, 9am to 1pm
The expo showcases and connects women and families with services that can better their experience during pre-conception, pregnancy, birth and post-partum, while highlighting the many wonderful local businesses Mackay has to offer new and evolving families. There will be up to 30 booths showcasing local services including doulas, physios, photographers, massage therapy, private obstetricians and fertility support services as well as a host of expert speakers. Admission is FREE. Visit What’s On at the MECC to find out more.