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Community centres bring together local stars for Seniors Festival

Older adults in Sydney find a new sense of belonging in our neighbourhood facilities.

Community centre Seniors Festival

As a former cabaret star in Japan and Europe, Itogo is no stranger to the stage. In the thick of rehearsals, she’s about to return to her showbiz roots in the Community’s Got Talent show, part of Seniors Festival.

“It's exciting, I'm back to being a star again,” Itogo said.

“Performing is my natural thing. I’ve always loved to perform. Since I was a child, I have just loved the reaction from the audience.”

Each year, the NSW Seniors Festival celebrates older people in Sydney and the contribution they make to our community with a jam-packed program of events.

Community centres across the city are the hub for Seniors Festival, providing a meeting place for older adults to come together. From fitness and acting classes, to computer workshops and comedy shows, there’s something for everyone.

Seniors Festival Comedy Show 2016 at Sydney Town Hall
Seniors Festival Comedy Show 2016 at Sydney Town Hall

“I love being part of the community centre because you get to meet people all the time. We have good social get-togethers and there are a number of programs to take part in,” Malcolm said, a member of the Cliff Noble Community Centre in Alexandria.

“It gives me something to do and I'm always meeting new people and learning new things.”

A variety of free exercise classes take place at centres across Sydney
A variety of free exercise classes take place at centres across Sydney

This year, ordinary people step onto the stage of Sydney Town Hall to dance, sing and perform magic for Community’s Got Talent. Rehearsals are taking place at community centres throughout the city.

“The show will make people feel like they belong. People will see that our community centres have more fun than they might expect,” Malcolm said, who’s part of the Magic Club.

Ying Shi will also perform in the talent show.

“It’s great that we have the opportunity to perform in this venue,” she said.

With limited English proficiency, Ying Shi is passionate about the cultural exchange opportunities on offer at her local centre.

“I meet new friends here and the place gives me a sense of belonging. We learn from each other and recommend our favourite songs. Those who have better English will teach those who can’t speak English at all,” she said.

Seniors Festival 2019
Seniors Festival 2019

Andrew, also a member of the Cliff Noble Community Centre, is excited about his singing performance at the talent show.

“I love the centre because it’s like home, a real home. There’s a camaraderie going on which I like because I don't have many friends that I get to see all the time anymore.

“Coming here gets rid of the chatter in my brain. It’s a very calm place and helps me to relax,” Andrew said.

Seniors Festival is on during February with various classes and events across the city.

Community’s Got Talent takes place on Tuesday 18 February.

Published 7 February 2020, updated 15 February 2024