Polite Society’s March Social Diary

Laugh, eat, repeat this month as comedy and foodie delights take centre stage.



Once an industrial powerhouse on the Balmain peninsula, the White Bay Power Station looks set to enjoy a new lease on life as Sydney’s newest art destination. As a key venue of the 50th Biennale of Sydney, this 20th-century brick and iron behemoth hosts the opening night concert on March 8, followed by a 16-week program of installations, events, food vendors and bars, both day and night. Of course, the Art Gallery of NSW and Museum of Contemporary Art are also involved, and for the first time the Chau Chak Wing Museum at the University of Sydney hosts artists from Australia and around the world. We’re looking forward to the array of talks by artist including Kaylene Whiskey and French creator Marie-Claire Messouma. From March 8, various locations.

Melbourne, prepare to be razzle-dazzled – Chicago the musical is coming to Her Majesty’s Theatre this month, with Zoe Ventoura vamping it up as Velma Kelly and Anthony Warlow filling Billy Flynn’s spats in this local version of Broadway’s longest-running musical. From March 23, Her Majesty’s Theatre. 

If you can’t make it to Paris this year, try Bendigo: the regional centre’s Art Gallery will feature more than 170 works of art and artisanal objects from the renowned collection of the Musée Carnavalet, the oldest municipal museum in Paris. Focusing on the period of great social change from 1880 to 1925, when urban development and artistic innovation shaped modern Paris, it’s a must for Francophiles and art lovers alike. From March 16, Bendigo Art Gallery.

 It’s a double bill that has indie music lovers frothing: melancholic rockers The National have teamed up with folk favourites Fleet Foxes to tour together for the first time, making us teary in the process. They’ll hit Sydney on March 1 at the ICC Theatre, before heading to Melbourne and Perth. The National, various dates.  

Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras hits a high note on Oxford Street on March 2, when the parade struts its sequinned stuff to the Hordern Pavilion for a 10-hour party over six venues, featuring headline acts Adam Lambert and CeCe Peniston. Mardi Gras Party, March 2

Ready for a respite from all the usual doom and gloom? Melbourne’s International Comedy Festival is just what the doctor ordered, with guaranteed laughter courtesy of headline comedians such as Hannah Gadsby, Urzila Carlson and Arj Barker, as well as up-and-comers on stages all over the city. From March 27, various locations.

Legendary singer-songwriter Elvis Costello graces the Sydney Opera House stage for the first time in 17 years, performing back-catalogue classics and new tunes from a career that’s spanned four decades and produced more than 30 albums. Can’t wait. From March 31.

Time to your stretchy pants: the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is back and it's offering everything from Indonesian street food to a Venetian masked dinner over 10 days of dining. Pop ups, chef collaborations and long lunches will see the city welcome local and international food luminaries – and the people who love to eat their food. From March 15-24, various locations. 

Image credit: Marie-Claire Messouma Manlanbien, Take Care, 2023. Copper, glass, plants, vegetable, mineral, ceramics, weaving. 300 x 300 x 600cm. Photo courtesy of the artist and Palais de Tokyo.