Christmas may be in the air, but that’s not all. It’s business as usual on stages and in galleries across the city this month, with stand-up comedy, new exhibitions and musicals all on the calendar. Here are the highlights of what’s on in Brisbane this month.
Mao’s Last Dancer
Known for his talent that took him to the world stage against all odds, Li Cunxin’s story is as captivating as his ballet career. This exhibition, Mao’s Last Dancer, traces his remarkable journey from an impoverished childhood in China to world-famous artist. It features interviews of Li’s family and ballet colleagues, as well as personal artefacts and footage of Li at the height of his on-stage career.
From 1 December at Museum of Brisbane
Arj Barker: Organic
Round out the year with a hearty laugh as comedian Arj Barker settles in to Brisbane Powerhouse for Wonderland Festival. His new show, Organic, promises free-range topics, wholesome hilarity and 100% goat-approved jokes.
1–17 December at Brisbane Powerhouse
Picasso: The Vollard Suite
Queensland Art Gallery is showing a celebrated body of Picasso’s work this summer. Titled Vollard Suite, this collection of etchings has recurring motifs of the Minotaur and Pygmalion. Picasso identified with both of these figures, most notably through depictions of his alter ego. The creation of Vollard Suite coincided with Picasso’s exploration of surrealism in the 1930s. Next door, GOMA is showing Gerhard Richter and Yayoi Kusama (pictured).
From 2 December at Queensland Art Gallery
Topology @ Twenty
Brisbane quintet Topology is celebrating 20 years of music with a milestone two-night concert series. Since they first teamed up to make music, the band has released 14 albums, toured the world and been nominated for ARIA awards. Topology@Twenty dedicates one evening per decade of music, revisiting the composers that brought Topology together, fan favourites, key collaborations and career highlights.
2 and 9 December at The Old Museum
If you missed Matt Okine at the Brisbane Comedy Festival earlier this year, you missed him tackle the big issues, like which flavour of chips is best and why no-one eats potato salad. Now it's the end of the year and you've earned a cry-laugh, so catch him when he returns to The Tivoli.
7 December at The Tivoli
The Boxties: Bound Away to Leave You
The ocean is the inspiration for this evening of music by emerging local singers and instrumentalists, The Boxties. Their first season sold out at QPAC last year, and now they’re returning with a new show that celebrates the mystical link between humans and the ocean. It features songs from Sting’s musical The Last Ship, as well as other pieces inspired by the sea’s allure.
7–9 December at QPAC
Can you name any of the inventions that were made in Queensland? SLQ’s new exhibition Magnificent Makers celebrates the spirit of invention that ripples across Queensland. From education to sport, medicine and clothing, there’s a host of pioneering creations that have come from our state’s remarkable thinkers.
From 9 December at State Library of Queensland
The Human League
An iconic piece of the musical landscape of the 1980s, The Human League has earned a place in pop music history. Catch their upcoming gig to see out the year dancing to hits including ‘Don’t You Want Me’, ‘Mirror Man’ and ‘Love Action’.
17 December at The Tivoli
If you think that ABBA and the Greek Islands is a winning combination for a night of theatre, you’re not alone. From ‘Take a Chance On Me’ to ‘Dancing Queen’, MAMMA MIA! weaves many of ABBA’s biggest songs into a musical that’s loved the world over. The Brisbane season kicks off on Boxing Day, keeping the feel-good vibes flowing long after Christmas.
From 26 December at QPAC
From naughty to nice: What’s on in Brisbane this Christmas