This month we profile Walsh Bay Arts and Commerce’s new marketing co-coordinator, Catherine Franklin.

Joining us in late May Catherine takes on the role from the outgoing Melissa Wilson explaining the position is about building on the momentum gathered over the past few years: “to coordinate and market a range of events with the aim of promoting Walsh Bay as a destination as well as a unique hub of arts and commercial businesses”. Drawing on a wealth of experience, having worked previously for Willoughby City Council to promote The Concourse in Chatswood - home to a concert hall, theatre, function space as well as a number of restaurants, Catherine brings a fresh perspective and a unique set of skills to WBAC.

In this month’s out-of-area feature we look at how Surry Hills Business Chamber are working with Transport for NSW to use hoarding to be erected along the light rail construction corridor, to add rather than take away from the local community.

The Surry Hills chamber has been working with TfNSW to ensure that hoarding that goes up is anything but uninspired. In a bid to reflect the rich artistic tapestry of the area and support local business, the planned hoarding will be used as a creative platform to promote what Surry Hills has to offer through locally designed artworks reflective of different segments in the area.

"A Night of Food, Wine and Song"

Walsh Bay’s annual Arts Table dinner will be held on Tuesday 8 November. Now in its 7th year, this long table dinner offers the unique opportunity to dine al fresco on the water’s edge with the spectacular views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the historic Walsh Bay wharfs as a backdrop. An ideal event for lovers of food and the arts.

Each year the Arts Table dinner is supported by a number of generous sponsors and all proceed from the dinner are donated to one of Walsh Bay’s resident arts companies. This year co-hosts and recipient of the event funds are The Song Company - Australia’s preeminent a cappella ensemble. Thanks to our multitalented co-hosts, a number of exciting performances will take place on the night. The theme for the night in celebration of Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary is “If Music be the Food of Love”.

Adding another casual evening dining option to the Walsh Bay foreshore, licensed café, bar and popular bike riders pit stop, BarCycle, recently announced extended trading hours - taking in evenings on Friday and Saturday nights until 10pm.

Despite the rain, a crowd of 70 strong turned out after hours on Tuesday 31 May for the annual WBAC - Vivid event held in Walsh Bay.

This year guests were treated to three Vivid VIPs; arts event extraordinaire, Adam Lowe – responsible for all aspects of Vivid (light, ideas and music) on behalf of Destination NSW, renowned curator of the light walk, Anthony Bastic as well as artists from mcdermottbaxter (Australia) – the group responsible for this year’s spectacular Underwater Forest in Walsh Bay. Anthony conducted a brief Q&A with the mcdermottbaxter artists to give guests insight into the creative process behind their stunning light installation as well as an idea of how the artists go about pulling together such a project.

It might be called the Sydney Writers’ Festival but there are some events planned a little further afield for book lovers not based in or near the city. This year the majestic NSW country town of Bowral will host three, unique SWF events on Sunday May 22nd and the area is also planning its own literary initiative, Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival on Saturday 16 July.

SWF in the Southern Highlands kicks off at 10 am on May 22nd with a discussion hosted by Aviva Tuffield and author Emily Maguire. The duo will talk about the significance of The Stella Prize - a major literary award first offered in 2013 in honour of the iconic Australian author, Stella Maria Sarah ‘Miles’ Franklin. Next up Petina Gappah, a Zimbabwean writer with law degrees from Cambridge, Graz University and the University of Zimbabwe, will talk about her debut story collection - An Elegy for Easterly, and her poignant latest novel, The Book of Memory. Finally Shirley Barrett, best known as a screenwriter and director, (Love Serenade - her first film that won the Camera D'Or at Cannes Film Festival in 1996) talks about her debut novel, Rush Oh!

Sydney Writers’ Festival returns this month to Walsh Bay and surrounds from May 16- 22.nd This year the theme ‘Bibliotherapy’ will explore literature’s restorative effects in terms of mental health, improved relationships and the ability to empathise.
As always the festival will bring together some of the world’s top writers and influential people, described this year by organisers as; “a week-long extravaganza of ideas and literature”.

As for festival updates in the Walsh Bay precinct, SWF is expanding to Pier 5 with a new venue at the end of the wharf called ‘The Waterfront’ and on the last day of programmed events (Sunday 22nd) the Childrens’ Precinct will incorporate Bangarra’s and Sydney Dance studios and the Pier 5 apron as well as the SWF Library. ‘Russ The Bus,’ will also be parked outside the Shore Shed’s over this final weekend.

Vivid Sydney returns to Walsh Bay along with several new precincts in and around the city from 27 May – 18 June.

Last year 1.7 million visitors attended the world-renowned festival of light and this year’s event, running for a record 23 day duration, is packed full of innovative light shows, art installations, unique musical experiences and a host of inspiring guests, including designer Khai Liew, artist Louis Pratt andThe Daily Telegraph’s crime editor, Mark Morri.

This month we introduce Kate Steinweg, SWF’s Program Manager - a post she has held for the past eighteen months.

“ I work closely with the Artistic Director to select the guests and curate the events for the Festival. I am also in charge of the logistical side of the authors’ experience,” Kate says.

Although SWF’s enduring success is based on the quality and breadth of festival guests, the interesting and challenging topics covered and a whole lot of hard work by the festival team, Kate is smitten with Walsh Bay as a venue. 

The NSW Business Chamber Business Awards program is as an annual celebration of business excellence in NSW across business leadership, business ethics, sustainability, innovation, export, small business, employer of choice and local chamber of commerce.

Last year WBAC Chair, Brigid Kennedy, took out the prestigious award for Sydney Business Leader of the Year and WBAC members aspiring to emulate such success need to start planning now as Sydney City region entries open on May 2.

A special thank you to The Park Hyatt Sydney for hosting the first WBAC networking event of the year on Tuesday, March 15.  

The Bar, set aside for our exclusive use was a luxe location for our arts, business and newest members to meet and share ideas for new possibilities around the precinct.  The total membership was well represented in the 30 who attended, some for the first time.  Many new connections were made and a number of artistic collaborations have resulted.  

The sublime canapé selection included soft shell crab tapas-style, panko tiger prawns with sweet chill, Jamon Iberico La Barrica Decebo cheese selection and decadent Macarons while consistent supporters of Walsh Bay venues and events, Hand Picked Wines provided a delicious preview of their latest releases from their vast selection of wine styles and varietals.

Dance and theatre are two extra curricula activities that top many a child’s wish list. So if you’re in the market to score a few brownie points with junior members of your family over the upcoming holiday period, Sydney Dance Company and the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) are running a number of workshops in April pitched directly at school-aged children.

Sydney Dance Company is running a series of two-day workshops for 8 to 18 year olds from Tuesday 12 to Friday 22 April. Taught by some of the best and most experienced professional dancers in the country, the workshops are offered in a number of dance styles including Jazz, JFH (combining Jazz, Funk and Hip Hop), Hip Hop, Contemporary and Lyrical. At a cost of $165 per participant, the workshops promise to be fun, dynamic and hugely rewarding. The Company is also running a one-day intensive program on Monday 11 and Monday 18 April to give experienced dancers an insight into what to expect from its year-long Pre-Professional course. The intensive will cover yoga, ballet, and contemporary repertoire – suitable for ages 14 to 18 years. www.sydneydancecompany.com.au