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Six-Week Music and Arts Festival Pleasures Playhouse Will Breathe New Life Into an Abandoned Chinatown Cinema

Curated by Heaps Gay and Summer Camp's Kat Dopper, this inclusive creative festival is bringing stacks of events to a long-abandoned Harbour City Cinema.
By Ben Hansen
September 05, 2022
By Ben Hansen
September 05, 2022

A six-week music and art festival with an absolutely stacked lineup is taking over an abandoned Chinatown cinema across September and October. Running between Thursday, September 22 and Monday, October 31, Pleasures Playhouse has been pulled together by influential Sydney party-starter Kat Dopper of Heaps Gay and Summer Camp.

Dopper has curated a vibrant, varied and inclusive program of gigs, parties, film screenings and yum cha that will reactivate the Harbour City Cinema. Originally a space for showcasing Chinese films, the longstanding cinema will be given a new life throughout the festival after laying empty for the last 15 years.

"This is one of the most exciting projects I've been able to work on, literally a dream. Collaborating with all my favs to take over an unused space in Sydney to bring together some of the best of our arts scene to create a new cultural destination that promotes artistic excellence," said Dopper.

So, what can you catch across this 35-day lineup? If you're in search of live music, the program has plenty on offer. New Sydney hip-hop supergroup BBGB Worldwide consisting of B Wise, Kwame, Manu Crooks, BLESSED and Lil Spacely will be performing, and Haiku Hands and Chela will be taking to the stage at the Ur-Asian Haven program alongside Marcus Whale and Anso.

Hiatus Kaiyote's Nai Palm will be also be popping up with Billy David for an intimate show, and Donny Benet will be hosting a night of sultry synth-pop with a bunch of special guests.

B Wise

If you're looking to hit the dancefloor, there's a range of parties popping up on the program. Ranging from underground electronic music to big pop sing-a-longs, dance music collectives and record labels including Heaps Gay, Nina Las Vegas' NLV, BYPASS, Athletica, AM//PM Emo Night, Monster Children, Leak Your Own Noods and Show Us Ya Tips will all be running parties boasting some of Sydney and Australia's best DJs.

Other exciting additions to the festival include the Send Noods Cinema's weekly arthouse movies accompanied by P&V's natty wines and noodles from Biang Biang; yum cha pop-ups, record nights and yet-to-be-announced events curated by Maurice Terzini (Icebergs, Ciccia Bella, RE-) and The Preset's Julian Hamilton.

Dopper and co are collaborating with local Haymarket restaurants for the space's food offerings, while P&V's Mike Bennie and Rosebery's Archie Rose Distilling Co are leading the charge behind the bar.

You can explore the full program at the festival's website. A range of events are free, and no event is charging more than $30 for entry.

Anna Hay

Pleasures Playhouse is taking over the Harbour City Cinema, Haymarket from Thursday, September 22–Monday, October 31.

Top image: Anna Hay

Published on September 05, 2022 by Ben Hansen
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