Weekend watch: Our guide to the best days of the week

From an ice-cream festival on the Gold Coast to free public exhibitions in Townsville and Mackay, historic train rides in Bundaberg and a dance studio open day in Brisbane, InQueensland takes a look at some of the best things happening in arts and culture across the state this weekend and beyond.

Jan 15, 2021, updated Jan 15, 2021


Featuring world-class entertainment and sweet treats across eight sessions today until Sunday, SCOOP! will showcase some of Australia’s best circus, cabaret and acrobatic performers as they provide the backdrop to a multi-sensory playground of ice cream delights, pop-up beer gardens with live music and DJs, sideshow rides and refreshing dips in the HOTA lake (BYO flotation devices and sun-safe gear recommended).

More than 30 vendors from across the state will set up shop at Ice Cream Alley for the weekend, including Ungermann Brothers ice cream La Macelleria Gelateria, plant-based Coco Whip and Doughluxe introducing a new ice-cream-filled doughnut for summer.

There will also be an adults-only Ultimate Ice Cream Experience ticket, which will entitle guests to sit down to a five-course chef’s selection of sweet and savoury ice cream-inspired degustation paired with a selection of boozy beverages.

Performances at SCOOP! will include the world premiere of site-specific works by renowned contemporary circus companies including Circa (in a new performance choreographed by Elise May) and Company 2, who will tightrope across the lake in The Wired Moon and the Ice Cream Floor.

Works by Hoopla Clique, Flipside Circus and the Gold Coast Mermaids Synchronised Swimming Club will also be on offer during SCOOP!’s day sessions.

“Theatre companies like Circa and Company 2 usually spend summer touring their amazing performances across the globe,” HOTA chief executive Criena Gehrke said.

“We’re proud to have commissioned some of the world’s best physical theatre companies to create new works for HOTA and seeing them presenting alongside each other here on the Gold Coast will be one of the real treats of the SCOOP! program.”

“Ice cream, circus, sandy feet and family time, SCOOP! is literally everything you love about summer in one very sweet weekend.”

Tonight and tomorrow night, from 6-9:30pm, the site will transform into evening sessions will see the site transform into CLUB SCOOP!, featuring after-dark tunes, plenty of cold brews, boozy ice cream combos and dedicated evening entertainment.

CLUB SCOOP!‘s program will include a SCOOP! Saloon hosted by drag glam squad the Thicc Shake Crew, Collider by, and Voodoo Revue hosted by 55-time Guinness World Record-holder The Space Cowboy.

For more information, visit the HOTA website.


Townsville will shine a light on some of its most prominent public spaces as part of the HALO – Life Below Water exhibition, which starts tonight and runs until January 26.

HALO – Life Below Water will illuminate Townsville through a series of sound and light art installations throughout Queens Gardens and Castle Hill. The sound and light festival includes interactive light and sound displays, large-scale art installations and includes sessions where Townsville locals will share their stories, entitled Northern Stories.

Presented by Townsville City Council and the Australia Day Council, the free community event will run from 6.30pm nightly from tonight until January 26 in Queens Gardens, with Northern Stories sessions starting at 7pm, and the HALO show will run every 20 minutes from 7.40pm until 10pm.

This event will build on the success of the inaugural event and is designed to allow for more interaction and engagement from attendees.

Designed to interweave entertainment and education with the overarching message of preserving and protecting life below water, HALO presents a unique opportunity to deliver something incredible and impactful for the local community.

This project will run in conjunction with Northern Stories and will be delivered in partnership with AGB Events.

For more information, visit the Townsville City Council website.    


Edna AMBRYM Mayi bugaam – sea (detail) 2017, etching on paper, 40 x 40 cm. (Photo: Mick Richards Photography. Image courtesy Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct)

This is the last weekend to catch the Jabu Birriny (Land + Sea) visual art exhibition, which is being held in the Artspace Mackay Foyer gallery.

Jabu (land) Birriny (sea) celebrates the unique environment of Yarrabah and its ongoing importance to culture and people. Located on the shore of Cape Grafton in far north Queensland, Yarrabah is the traditional Country of the Gunggandji People, with a dynamic Aboriginal community surrounded by tropical native bushland and mountain ranges united by sandy coastlines and coral reefs.

The exhibition brings together stories rich in lineal, past and recent histories through vibrant prints, intricately woven vessels and textured ceramics that embody the land and sea.

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Presented by Flying Arts, the exhibition has been co-curated by State Library of Queensland with Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct.

For more information, visit the Artspace Mackay website


Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society’s Australian Sugar Cane Railway is a working museum dedicated to operating, restoring and showcasing the history of sugar cane railways in the Bundaberg region and today and Sunday, visitors will have the chance to ride diesel and steam-powered locomotives at Bundaberg Botanical Gardens.

All of the society’s locomotives worked in the cane fields and mills around the Bundaberg region, with two built locally at the Bundaberg Foundry in 1952.

The ASCR is maintained and operated by dedicated volunteer rail safety workers who are all members of the non-profit Bundaberg Steam Tramway Preservation Society.

Operations take place between 10am and 3:30pm in the Bundaberg Botanical Gardens.

Visit the Australian Sugar Cane Railway Bundaberg Facebook page for more details.  


Maximo Dance Studios at Woolloongabba in Brisbane is holding an open day today, with all kids’ dance taster classes free for the day.

Visitors will have the chance to check out the studios, meet teachers and discuss potential enrolment in regular classes speak to us about enrolment or ask any questions one on one.

Children are welcome to try as many classes as they want free of charge, with no obligation to enrol, and get an introduction to each dance style. Maximo Dance Studios has free onsite parking.

For more information and to register, visit the Maximo Dance Studios website

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