Lake Macquarie's newest arts space will host an 'Ocean Garden' of giant inflatable sea creatures and a big band concert under the stars as part of a week of outdoor fun.
A jam-packed program of family entertainment entitled 'Press Play' will take place at Speers Point's Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima (MAP mima) from Saturday until Friday.
It will kick off with the lawns being transformed into an underwater garden with larger-than-life inflatable sculptures that illuminate at night.
Visitors can wander around the Ocean Gardenand meet colourful starfish, seahorses and a giant pink turtle, created by Goldberg Aberline Studio in partnership with Studio A, a supported studio for artists with intellectual disability.
Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council's Pete Townsend will welcome the crowd with a traditional smoking ceremony to clear negativity and launch the MAP mima as a place of creative discovery.
IN THE NEWS:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
A 15-minute fanfare will echo across Speers Point Park from 5.30pm as internationally acclaimed local musician Andy Firth takes to the open-air stage with his 19-piece big band, joined by Awabakal, Dhunghutt and Biripi man Ray Kelly Junior on yidaki (didgeridoo).
They will perform the premiere of Firth's MAP mima Fanfare, a piece Frith composed to herald the arrival of the new arts venue, as part of 'The Big Bang' concert.
Firth, a renowned composer, director and clarinetist who has played at New York's Carnegie Hall and with some of the world's top jazz musicians, said the piece was designed to take audiences on a 'musical journey' with diverse instruments and influences.
"Musicians and artists need more venues like MAP mima, that allow audiences to relax outside the confines and varying expectations of theatre and art gallery etiquette," Firth said.
"That way, they can just sit back, be themselves and enjoy the magic that music, visual arts and theatre bring to the community."
After Fanfare, Firth will lead his band through a set of swing era favourites, along with music from Star Wars and some classic rock 'n' roll - big band style. The evening finishes with a light show and DJ set.
Most 'Press Play' events are free, but some are ticketed, with bookings essential.