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Essential night-time events for your diary

The nights might be getting cooler but that’s no reason to start staying indoors of an evening. We’ve found some of the best after-dark activities for this time of year in Melbourne.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

There is always so much to see when the sun goes down at Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Catch traditional stand-up, drag variety and surprise guest comedians at Stand Up Comedy at Empire Theatre. See who is crowned the winner of Australia’s largest comedy competition, as the nation’s best new talent compete in the RAW Comedy Grand Final.

Catch a huge line-up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander comedians in the Deadly Funny National Grand Final. For one-night only, each of the finalists will battle it out on stage in the hope of taking out the grand final prize. Or pop into the Festival Club for unpredictable performances and spontaneous comedy genius.

An ornate building with a tall spire lit up at night

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is on from Wednesday 25 March to Sunday 19 April

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince in Concert

Potter fans of all ages will be pleased to know tickets are still available to Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince in Concert. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra bring to life a film based on the sixth-instalment of J.K Rowling’s classic series. Watch Harry soar across the big screen at Hamer Hall, Thursday 21 to Saturday 23 May.

Billy Elliot the Musical

Billy Elliot the Musical has returned to Australia and is now showing in Melbourne. Follow Billy’s journey from boxing to ballet, featuring music by the legendary Elton John. Now in its tenth year, and seen by over 12 million people worldwide, the award winning production is on at the Regent Theatre until Saturday 30 May.

Shrek the Musical

See Shrek, Fiona and Donkey when they hit the stage in Shrek the Musical. The story of everyones favourite ogre comes to life, as he makes his journey to rescue a feisty Princess Fiona. Supported by a cast of other unlikely fairytale misfits and starring Ben Mingay, Lucy Durack and Todd McKenney. It’s on at Her Majesty’s Theatre until Sunday 3 May.

Europa Night Market

A European-style street party is hitting the Queen Victoria Market. Celebrate traditions, cultures and cuisines from across the continent at Europa Night Market. Over 40 food stalls, specialty shops and entertainment celebrating Melbourne’s diverse European roots. Wednesday nights from 8 April to 13 May.

A market at night with sparkling lights hanging over a walkway

Europa Night Market

Cirque du Soleil’s Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities

Cirque du Soleil are back under the big top with Kurios: Cabinet of Curiosities. Time comes to a standstill, and a fantasy world where anything is possible is created. Your perception of reality will be challenged and your curiosity will be sparked. At Flemington Racecourse until Sunday 10 May.

Gardens by Twilight

For one night only, Gardens by Twilight will come to life at Carlton Gardens and the Royal Exhibition Building. Taste botanical cocktails in the Gin Garden, and enjoy gourmet food in this twilight wonderland. Enjoy performances by fire artists and LED hoop artists, live music and life-size sculptures. You’ll experience everything the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show has to offer, plus a whole lot more. On Friday 27 March.

Ella Safari

Take a journey through one of Melbourne’s hottest food precincts at Ella Safari. In this choose-your-own-adventure tour, safari tokens unlock secret menu items from Ella’s eateries. Sample food and drink from across the globe, from Korea and Thailand, to Japan and the Middle East. From Tuesday 24 to Sunday 29 March.

Thai food on a pale pink table

The Pad at Ella

Seasons in Blak Box

Explore the integral role of plants in the seasonal Kulin calendar through the practice of deep listening. Seasons in Blak Box is a multi-part sound work developed by Aboriginal broadcaster and journalist, Daniel Browning. Experience music, spoken word and song from First Nations artists. Suitable for those who are blind or vision impaired. Until Sunday 5 April.

Lightscape

Save the date for Lightscape, a light filled journey of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Weave your way through trees, waterside reflections, glowing tunnels and a fire garden. From Friday 19 June to Sunday 19 July.