BY EDWINA STORIE
Unleash your delegates from the confines of the conference room and into the fresh air at Sydney’s open-air cinemas. Not only can they enjoy a movie and a much-needed break, but they’ll be experiencing a favourite Sydney pastime.
Sydneysiders are a lot like Londoners in a way. As soon as the sun comes
out they’re frolicking in parks, jogging through the CBD and sacrificing their stripped-off bodies to the sun’s rays.
The difference is that Sydney gets a lot more summer sunshine than London does. When the heat beats down on the coastal city, Sydney folk flock to beaches and open spaces like they do to the launch of a new restaurant to soak up the office-free atmosphere. And with that, outdoor cinemas – whether beachside or rooftop – have become a favourite pastime as much as barbecues and blow up pools when the evenings get balmy. One of the best things about Sydney’s
open-air theatres is that they’re located around the city’s beauty spots.
For the event sector, an outdoor cinematic experience can give your corporate group some relaxed reprieve from tightly scheduled meetings and seminars, allowing them the opportunity to experience the electric vibe that radiates from Sydney on steamy days once the sun goes down. The upcoming four suggested spots each cater for small to medium groups, with some even allowing entire private venue hire for larger groups.
opel moonlight cinemas
You wouldn’t think there are many places in the centre of the city where you can escape the urban vibe, but being surrounded by towering trees at the Moonlight Cinema in Centennial Park has that exact effect. Fashionable young things from nearby hotspots Bondi and Paddington set up picnic blankets on the sloping hill which makes for the perfect angle to recline, relax and watch the the silver screen. Moonlight allows you to BYO food and alcohol but it also has some good menu options, including dumplings, wagyu steak sandwiches with Swiss cheese on Turkish bread, and baby sand whiting with chips and fresh lime. Book out the PayPal Gold Grass section so your group can enjoy the best position and get settled into the beanbag beds. It’s also not far from Centennial Parklands Dining where groups can enjoy a more formal dinner beforehand, a meeting, or a nightcap. Moonlight offers discounts on bookings for 20 people or more.
For more information go online to moonlight.com.au/sydney
ben & jerry’s openair cinema bondi
With the spirit of summer rolling in with the waves of iconic Bondi Beach, Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema buzzes with good vibes, perhaps also attributed to the happy high that comes from free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (on weekends). There’s a real holiday feel here that makes a movie and a cider all the more enjoyable. The spacious amphitheatre looks spectacular at sunset while local bands play to warm up the audience. Ben & Jerry’s Openair exceeds at hosting corporate groups, allowing you to bring delegates out of the conference room and into the sunlight. They’re welcomed in VIP style by local Bondi waiters and recline on the deckchairs of Star Class, or mingle on the grass. Groups of 10 or more enjoy a discount of $10 each, and when Star Class is booked for groups exceeding 10, Ben & Jerry’s takes 20 per cent off. Groups can bring food but not alcohol or glass. Alcohol can be bought onsite or arranged with the events team.
Go online to openaircinemas.com.au/bondi
While many may believe the outdoor cinema is a fairly recent trend, it actually dates back to 1909 in Australia. After much local lobbying, North Sydney Oval was the first to host outdoor screenings. Years on, it will celebrate its 10th anniversary of being branded the Starlight Cinema this year. It’s all stars and sparkling city skyline out here where moviegoers and groups spread their picnic blankets out on the colonial-style oval. The Starlight Cinema welcomes corporate groups and has a range of drinks and catering packages that include Crust Gourmet Pizza, antipasto and cheese boxes, warm wraps, canapés, or custom menus. Tickets are $17 but Starlight offers groups of 10 or more a saving of $2 per ticket and can cordon off a private area for groups of 25 people or more. Starlight welcomes guests to bring their own food but not alcohol or glass.
Visit the official website to view the program starlightcinema.com.au
st george open air cinema
Already popular with corporate groups, St George Open Air Cinema serves up the outdoor cinematic experience with a little more polish. Nestled into Mrs Macquarie’s Chair at the Botanic Gardens, it’s perfect for getting all of Sydney’s iconic landmarks packed into one experience. The venue looks to the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House prior to the screen being erected and taking centre stage. This venue is a little more luxurious than others, offering dining tables, a Chandon bar, and restaurant. The seasonal menus may include anything from lemon and thyme roast spatchcock with warm braised leek, to red wine-braised beef cheeks with cauliflower puree. St George Open Air Cinema doesn’t offer function packages and prefers picnics are held outside the event venue. It doesn’t allow patrons to bring glass or alcohol. But why would you when there are glasses of Chandon and Belvedere cocktails to be enjoyed?