Do you feel like your brain is in a cultural rut? Like you haven’t fed it anything of worth, and it’s currently subsisting on a diet of Love Island Australia, group chat drama and crappy office gossip?

We’re here to assist you. Here’s 10 things to get amongst this July around Australia that’ll a) give you primo date/dinner conversation that makes you seem really, painfully cool and b) gets you in and around some high brow stuff you might have missed if it wasn’t for us.

1. OPERA: Aida (Sydney)

A historic epic about love and betrayal that’s full of complex leads and transcendent music, Aida is also renowned for it’s high-tech sets made of light and shadow, and their immersive, intimate quality.

WHEN: 18th July – 31st August, Joan Sutherland Theatre.

2. ART: MoMA At NGV (Melbourne)

If you haven’t already made it down, you MUST go check out the incredible collection of over 200 key works from the NYC Museum of Modern Art, known for it’s phenomenal collections from artists that have shaped the art world.

WHEN: 9th June – 2nd October, NGV

3. THEATRE: Brother’s Wreck (Adelaide)

It recently had it’s premiere season in Sydney, and now this uplifting and heartbreaking play is beginning it’s Adelaide season at the end of June. Telling the raw story of one man’s grief and the ways in which community can heal us, it’s garnered strong reviews for it’s strength of observation and nuanced look at family and relationships.

WHEN: 27th June – 14th July, Odeon Theatre

4. LITERATURE: Eggshell Skull

Bri Lee’s memoir about beginning her career in law, becoming a judge’s associate, and then witnessing first-hand injustices which ultimately led to finding herself the complainant in her own case is a strong message of female empowerment and speaking out. It’s a look at our justice system – particularly in regards to women – and it’s a powerful message of strength, which is all the more powerful given the current #MeToo movement and conversations around sexual assault and court rulings.

5. EDUCATION: The School Of Life (Sydney)

Founded in London in 2008, The School Of Life is all about developing your emotional intelligence – they host a wide range of workshops, classes and talks that align with our extremely ~millennial~ lifestyle and culture. One major event on the horizon? Instagram darling Mari Andrew’s lesson on turning pain into art, something she’s also making bank on.

WHEN: Ongoing.

6. DANCE: Project NEXT (Perth)

Perth’s Co3 dance company’s annual program that champions their youth ensemble is occurring in the first week of July, and features three new works that are in response to THE ZONE, a performance created by Co3 Artistic Director Raewyn Hill. It’s a cheap ticket and a wonderful way to support the next gen of Australian dance.

WHEN: 6th – 7th July, All Saint’s College

7. THEATRE: The Man In The Attic (Sydney)

This Australian premiere by award-winning (and Aussie) playwright Timothy Daly follows the true story of a Jewish man who, after being hidden by a German couple during the Holocaust, is led to believe the war has been won – by the Nazis. The couple continue to house the man, profiting from his captivity, and the rest – well, you’ll have to go see it, won’t you?

WHEN: 5th – 22nd July, Eternity Playhouse

8. ART: Tony Albert, Visible (Brisbane)

Tony Albert is one of Australia’s top young indigenous artists, and his work ‘Visible’ is a powerful response to issues of race and representation of Australia’s First Peoples in popular culture over the course of history. Albert is known for his amazing appropriations and re-appropriations of kitsch ‘Aboriginalia’, so this is a do-not-miss if you can make it to Brissie (or you’re from there).

WHEN: 2nd June – 7th October, QAGOMA

9. LITERATURE: The Pisces

The patron saint of sad girls on the internet, @sosadtoday aka Melissa Broder, releases her first novel in Australia on July 1, and it’s worth a few hours of your time if you’ve ever become eerily romantically obsessed with someone, or seriously contemplated what it would be like to bone a mermaid. It’s extremely relatable, tracking the break-up and breakdown of love-addicted PhD candidate, Lucy, as she flees to Venice Beach to look after her sister’s dog and get over her ex – but instead ends up falling for a real-life mermaid.

10. HISTORY / MUSIC: Nocturnal (Melbourne)

In celebration of NAIDOC week, Melbourne Museum is holding a night that celebrates indigenous women – featuring live performances from music powerhouses Thelma Plum, Kaiit and Mojo Juju. As well as some excellent tunes, visitors can also check out the new exhibition in Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre launched for NAIDOC week: Because of Her, We Can!. It focuses on twelve Victorian First Peoples women who have achieved extraordinary things, and provides valuable background information about the important history of NAIDOC.

WHEN: 6th July, Melbourne Museum

Image: Lichtenstein / NGV