This year, Enlighten is set to transform the Parliamentary Triangle into a magnet for Canberrans and visitors alike. Between the 3rd and 12th of March, and offering activities to delight both young and old(er), Enlighten is an opportunity to see Canberra’s iconic buildings in a different light.
We picked our favourite activities to suit every budget and type of visitor.
The Parliamentary Triangle
3-12 March, from 8PM, free
The main focus of Enlighten (besides having fun) is the projections that light up our National buildings. Take a stroll around the Parliamentary Triangle and be captivated by the feast for your eyes. There will be projections and installations throughout the area.
This year, we have been told that the National Portrait Gallery will have a photo booth to satisfy those that want to truly interact with the projections. Once your picture is taken, it will be projected onto the facade of the building to immortalise you as part of Enlighten. We imagine that this will be popular, so we recommend getting there early to ensure you don’t miss out.
We are looking forward to the Australian premiere of ‘On the wings of freedom’ (on the steps of Questacon) which features 180 colourful butterflies choreographed based on audience interaction. Also, an Australian first is ‘Cloud’ (Queen Elizabeth Terrace), featuring 6000 repurposed incandescent light bulbs and pull chain switches making you the performer, puppeteer and audience.
3, 4, 10 and 11 March, from 8PM, free
Hear some beats at the Enlighten Main Stage. Bring a picnic, sit back and relax with family and friends while listening to emerging and seasoned artists. The line up changes each day so make sure you check the details for when you plan to visit.
3, 4, 10 and 11 March, from 8PM (check the schedule for specific performances), free
Pack a picnic and watch performers at the various stages around the Parliamentary Triangle.
We are looking forward to being captivated by Atomic glow, Pedaleando Hacia el Cielo (Pedalling Towards the Sky) and the Illumination Stilt Series.
10 March, 7PM (films from 8PM), free
Enlighten is showing the top 12 Canberran short films from Lights! Canberra! Action! at the Senate Rose Gardens. The theme this year is ‘Right’ and the films portray twelve different views on what this means.
Lantern making at National Archives of Australia
3, 4, 10 and 11 March, 6 to 8PM, Free
Get the kids to build and decorate a lantern house before you head off to see the Enlighten projections and installations. The activity will provide entertainment for the little ones both during and afterwards, as they light the way around the streets.
For the Record at Museum of Australian Democracy
3, 4, 10 and 11 March, 6:30-10:30PM, free
Each year MoAD delights Enlighten visitors by having an interactive installation for young and old to participate in. This year, ‘For the Record’, captures significant moments in our nation’s history from the Hansard record. You can rearrange, remix and reframe words to create your very own record.
The Night noodle Market at Reconciliation Place
3-12 March, open daily from 5PM (closing times vary depending on the day), free to enter
Grab a bite to eat or something to drink from the Night Noodle Markets. Some festival favourites will be returning this year as well as some new eateries to try. Check their menus for pricing. See the full list of stalls here.
The popular pet show at National Portrait Gallery
3, 4, 10 and 11 March, 5 to 10PM, $8-$10
They say dogs are a man’s best friend, and in this exhibition, the NPG plays homage to our four legged, feathered and furry companions. The exhibition portrays the techniques that artists use to encapsulate the essence of animals and has a playful aspect to it.
Neon Night at the Canberra Glassworks
3 March, 6 to 8PM, $15-$80
Prepare to be dazzled by the techniques of contemporary neon with artists Harriet Schwarzrock and Steven Cole. There will be light refreshments and games, as well as the opportunity to win a Beginner’s Course in Neon with Steven Cole.
Arboretum at Sunset
9 March, 5:30 to 8:30PM, $40-$45
See the sun set from Dairy Farmers Hill, and then return to the Village centre as you see the city come alive at night. There, you walk among the Bonsai while indulging in canapés and a drink. There will be a Japanese Shakuhachi flutist adding to the ambiance.
Luminous Botanicus III at the Australian National Botanic Gardens
2, 3, 9 & 10 March, 7:30 to 10PM, $21-$26
As night falls, the Australian National Botanical Gardens come alive with live music and performances along a 1.4 km walk. Lighting and performances have been set to match each landscape, from a choir in the rainforest, to flames in the Red Centre. The entry price also includes a complimentary beverage or desert, and there will be bar facilities, wood fired pizzas and kransky rolls available for purchase.
$50 and over
Sunset on the roof at Australian Parliament House
3 & 11 March, 6 to 8 PM, $80 (18+ only)
Two hours atop our Nation’s most influential building, this is a unique experience. While seeing the sun set and Enlighten come alive, you will enjoy drinks and food from the APH Catering and Events team.
What you need to know
- Check the full Enlighten festival schedule here
- The Enlighten Noodle Market line up can be found here
- Make sure that you plan your visit as parking will be limited during the festival with road closures
- Please note that the ticketing agency responsible for each paid event may charge additional fees. Please check each event for these.