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24° & CLOUDY ON SUNDAY 29 MARCH IN SYDNEY
By Jasmine Crittenden
April 03, 2013
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The Rocks Windmill

Pop-ups just keep getting bigger, and this four-storey arts centre and wheat grind has to take the cake.
By Jasmine Crittenden
April 03, 2013
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Sydney's first theatre, opened in 1796, was the brainchild of released convict Robert Sidaway. Three shillings and sixpence would buy a front box, and those out of cash could swap flour, meat or spirits for a seat. By early 1800, Sidaway, who'd been transported to Australia for life for committing grand larceny, was presenting  Shakespeare's plays. A few months later, the colonial authorities shut the theatre down for its perceived "corrupting influence".

A hundred years later, the arts are perceived as playing a key role in deepening connections between officialdom and the public. In the eyes of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority CEO, Catherine Gallagher, "The Foreshore Authority is always looking for inventive ways to interpret history, and the arts offer us a way to think and look at the world differently."

The SHFA's latest project is one of its most ambitious and exciting yet. On April 12, a four-storey windmill will pop up in The Rocks, operating for one month as both a wheat grind and an arts venue. The extravaganza of events focuses on The Rocks' history and physical surroundings, incorporating music, art, food, architecture, history, storytelling, science, and technology.

Highlights include Bell Shakespeare's scenes from Henry IV, Penguin Plays Rough's presentation of Rocks-themed stories from new writers, and audio shows from both FBi Radio and artist Jane Ulman. For a hands-on experience, visitors can attend workshops with the likes of The Rizzeria, Make-Space for Architecture, and Craft NSW. Green thumbs will have the opportunity to learn about wheat cultivation with Gardening Australia's Costa Georgiadis and get their hands dirty with the windmill's sustainable garden. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Nearly all events are free; however, spaces are strictly limited. Online registration, available from March 11, is essential.

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