As the smell of freedom draws near, arts and entertainment venues across the Illawarra are scrambling to understand what the Public Health Order will mean for them and organise themselves accordingly, with some choosing to open straight away, others holding off.
Skydive Australia will resume letting people fall out of the sky over North Beach with their Wollongong Drop Zone re-commencing operations on Wednesday October 13.
They have one booking already locked in with one of their regular customers Chloe Crowther, who is set to enjoy her 23rd skydive.
Hoyts Warrawong and Event Cinemas Shellharbour will both open on Monday, with the Gala expected to follow on Thursday.
Performer and event promoter Diana McLaren is excited to perform her first stand-up comedy gig in months on Thursday October 14 at Icon Bar and Cafe in Wollongong.
"Sweet As" will see a slew of local comedians and performers from up-and-coming to well known in a free open-mic style performance, which is also co-organised by Ms McLaren.
"I am so incredibly excited, but so tentative as well," she said. "Over the past two years and two different lockdowns I've had to cancel so many shows, and whenever you cancel a show you lose all the work you've put in to promote it and you don't get paid anything.
"I also know things can still change on the dime, we're still going to put safety of our performers and our audiences ahead of anything else. I'm excited, but I'm also trying to keep the hope down enough in case it doesn't completely work out."
The Breakout Bar and Escape Rooms are gearing up to reopen on Thursday, however with the notable absence of the "Da Vinci's Notebook" room.
Manager Mitchell Bloomfield said it was their least popular room so by the end of the month it will be replaced with their second horror-style mystery for adults only to solve.
"We haven't settled on a name yet but the theme is a backwater motel, like your 'last resort to stay somewhere' for the night - like Bates Motel in [the film] Psycho," Mr Bloomfield said.
"We have 'Asylum' which we've had since we opened and it is by far and away most popular ... this one is with the intention to be much more directly scary, whereas 'Asylum' has more background atmosphere to it."
Karaoke will not be happening at the venue until December, though cocktail classes are currently ready to book for Friday and Saturday nights from next week.
The first major show back at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre won't be until November 5 with the Sydney Comedy Festival Showcase, although their entire 2022 season is nearly nutted out.
Merrigong Theatre Company director Simon Hinton said it's wonderful the government has allowed them to open next week but "in reality, it's not a tap that gets turned on".
"Even though we're allowed to be open, because we are part of national tours of things those tours may not be going ahead ... or they can't travel between states," Mr Hinton said, though noted the public had shown a lot of positivity.
"People are calling the box office and have been brilliant in continuing to buy tickets for future events with the confidence that of course if an event gets cancelled or postponed they are able to get a refund."
Following the comedy showcase, other big shows on the Merrigong program in coming weeks include jazz ensemble Vazesh, independent singer-songwriter Lior, plus many of the end-of-year concerts for Illawarra dance schools.
While the new Shell Cove Marina should be ready to open the foreshore precinct and allow boats to begin drifting in from mid-to-late November.
Meantime, Wollongong's libraries, community centres, art gallery, leisure centres and tourist parks will remain closed for the time being.
Wollongong City Council said it was in the process of weighing up "the benefits of offering a modified service for our community against the risk that the change presents to our staff, their families and our wider community".
Shellharbour City Council said it hopes to welcome visitors to its libraries and community centres in the coming weeks.
What else to look forward to ...
- Freedom Industry Party at Pepe's on the Beach on Monday.
- Bottomless Brunches at Humber on Saturdays.
- Tipsy Tapas at Moominn Bar on Sundays.
- Shanx Mini Golf at the Links Shell Cove
- Kick INXS tribute show at Beaches Hotel Thirroul on October 16.
- Bulli Beats & Eats night market at Bulli Showground, Saturdays from October 23.
- Farmers and foodies market at Corrimal Park, every Wednesday from October 27.
- Bingo Loco with Alex Dyson at UOW on November 5.
- Contemporary art fair at Clifton School of Arts, November 12-21. Email email@example.com.
- Foragers Market at Bulli Showgroundon November 14.
- Faulty Towers dining experience at Centro CBD Comedy Nights on December 10.
- Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at Anita's Theatre on January 26.
Follow the travel rules in your area, and contact the venue to confirm details and make a booking.
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