Powerhouse Late 2023

Thu 24th August, 2023 – Thu 14th December, 2023
Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris Street, Ultimo
Price: Free
Samoan drag queens, Fijian popstars, local filmmakers (and more) are the focus of Powerhouse Ultimo’s weekly after-hours event, Powerhouse Late, which sees the museum transform into a party on Thursday nights.

The Powerhouse Museum occupies the unique space at the intersection of art, design, science and technology. Spread between four buildings in Ultimo, Observatory Hill, Castle Hill and Parramatta, the museum has existed for more than a century and is home to more than 20 permanent exhibitions. These permanent exhibitions display a number of items which were integral to the establishment of modern-day Australia, like the country’s oldest locomotive, Sydney’s last hansom cab (a type of horse-drawn carriage), the first plane used by the Flying Doctor Service, and a timeline of technological advances in computing.

Likewise, Powerhouse Ultimo’s five temporary exhibition spaces allow it to offer an ever-evolving program of displays which pay tribute to Australian pop culture. The museum’s most recent program, Powerhouse Late, offers a sneak peek into the museum after hours with a host of free exhibition tours, music performances, DJ sets and film screenings. Each night has a different theme, from fashion to science, music, writing, food, gaming, photography, and architecture.

August 24: Bertha
Using sound, image and 13 exquisitely robed baby Bertha dolls, Auckland drag superstar Bertha (the alter ego of Harold Samu) takes audiences on a glittering journey across time. The night begins with a Samoan song and prayer, followed by talks with Bertha and interdisciplinary artist Yuki Kihara, and a performance by Bertha and her frenemy Buckweat. DJ Alex Taylor is on the decks all night, and the bar is pouring cocktails curated by Bertha herself.

August 31: Industrial Design
This night dedicated to the “intrinsic and esoteric qualities” of objects kicks off with leading industrial designers reviewing items from Powerhouse’s extensive digital catalogue, before moving into four hours of music, drinking, snacking, drawing workshops and process reviews with top industrial design firms.

September 7: Orígenes
At this vibrant celebration of Latin American culture, there’ll be thrilling capoeira performances, Latin tunes from DJ Oroana and visual artwork from artists Nadia Hernández and Claudia Nicholson. Food and drinks are courtesy of Maíz, Empanadas Che and Frido Cacao.

September 21: Films (Aftrs)
Teaming up with the Australian Film Television and Radio School and Emerge Film Networking, this event will showcase a range of local Sydney filmmakers’ works—including both short films and music videos. To round off the night and in celebration of Aftrs 50th anniversary, films from the school’s alumni (including Jane Campion, Gillian Armstrong, Chris Noonan, Robert Connolly and Sue Brooks) will also be on display.

September 28: Gaming
Local game developers are at the forefront of Powerhouse Late’s gaming night. There’ll be live performances, a tabletop arena and immersive game spaces, followed by deep dive into game music with an Australian composer panel. Big Sand, an innovative science-fiction band, will close the night in a performance dedicated to showcasing the range of game engine software.

October 12: Pawa Late
Fijian popstars VT1S, hiphop and cultural dancers The Pioneers, music producer Thunda and entrepreneur Tix come together at Pawahouse Late in a Pacific celebration. Through music, video, dance and talanoa (“talk”) these performers engage in a multi-sensory experience spanning the past, present and future.

November 3: Korean Culinary
Partnering with the Korean Cultural Centre, Powerhouse Late presents a night dedicated to Korean food and art. A specially curated panel of speakers discusses Korean and Australian fusion food, with an emphasis on sustainable fermenting processes.

November 30: Heaps Gay
Celebrating its 10th birthday, Heaps Gay is set to throw heaps of parties across Sydney this year. Joining in the celebrations, Powerhouse Late is hosting a retrospective night which details the queer party’s history, from its humble beginnings in Gladstone to its establishment as a multi-festival cultural sensation.

December 14: Late
After organising a stellar line-up of events throughout the year, Powerhouse Late’s final event of the year will be the biggest yet. Not only is the museum open extra, extra late (that is, until midnight), the night will feature new works from a mix of Powerhouse Creative Industry residents across every nook and cranny.