Movies & TV

New Festival Invites Visitors To “Play Manly”

MACA Awards © Salty Dingo 2022 CG

PLAY MANLY, a new ten-day festival attracting visitors back to Manly, will reactivate the beachside CBD day and night from 21 April to 30 April 2022. 

The free event, which invites visitors from across Sydney and regional NSW to come ‘PLAY MANLY’, will showcase the diversity of experiences on offer for people of all ages through six themes:

  • Light
  • Art
  • Music
  • Food
  • Games
  • Stories

The event will bring the Manly CBD to life as a joyful playground of sensory and interactive experiences. 

Among the activations planned are:

  • Light installations, projections and illuminations to surprise and delight
  • Laneways with hidden gardens, interactive projections and unexpected sound activations
  • A free, beachside, outdoor cinema showing short films
  • Interactive history and storytelling displays
  • Murals and interactive displays
  • Street games for kids of all ages to play – from life size Scrabble to mazes
  • Live music
  • Local food and beverage experiences  

Local businesses are being invited to join the program and extend the fun into their premises and operations.

Northern Beaches Council in collaboration with Experience Manly has secured $850k funding from the NSW Government, as part of Investment NSW’s CBD Revitalisation Program. Council is working  with the newly formed tourism organisation, business and the community to deliver the event.

Manly has been hit hard over the past two years of COVID restrictions, with visitation down by 77% (ref).  

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said PLAY MANLY is a key part of the plan to bring life, and visitors, back to town.

“Manly has always been a playground for kids and grown-ups alike – seven miles from Sydney and a thousand miles from care, as they used to say,” said Mayor Regan.

“This new festival aims to boost economic recovery and social connection by bringing visitors back for day trips and extended stays. We’re encouraging local businesses to join the event program.

“The event aims to reconnect Manly with its community, its local businesses, and visitors, after such a long and challenging period these past few years.

“PLAY MANLY will put the area firmly back on the map, with ten days of entertainment and interactive activities, running day and night.

“Street art, light projections, live music, free family street games and all the best of Manly’s vibrant food and drinks scene will come together in an exciting and fun experience between the wharf and the surf. We’re inviting all of Sydney and NSW to come play, and stay, here at Manly.”

Matt Clifton from Experience Manly is equally excited about the program.

“PLAY MANLY is a great opportunity to reignite Manly and its economy, showcasing family-friendly experiential activations right across the CBD,” said Mr Clifton.

Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Stuart Ayres said he welcomes events like PLAY MANLY as part of efforts to make local CBDs tick again.

“PLAY MANLY is exactly the type of activity we want to support through the NSW Government’s CBDs Revitalisation Program, which is bringing light back to various urban centres across Greater Sydney and beyond,” Mr Ayres said.

“Diverse city experiences, colourful and free activities will help generate more job opportunities and stronger economic activity across the state.”

More details on PLAY MANLY will be announced in coming weeks. 

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