The annual cultural celebration Sydney Festival returns to transform the city from January 6 to 28, 2018, delivering the highest-quality art and big ideas. Festival Director Wesley Enoch follows his inaugural year with a continued strong commitment to Australian and Indigenous work in a program spanning theater, dance, circus, visual art and music, reaching from Sydney’s CBD to Parramatta.
Highlights of this festival include:
- Contemporary ballet Tree of Codes, a unique collaboration between choreographer Wayne McGregor, artist Olafur Eliasson and musician Jamie xx (January 6-10)
- The critically acclaimed Barber Shop Chronicles, direct from London’s National Theatre, exploring the role of the barber shop in the lives of African men (January 18-28)
- Circus Oz’ latest show Model Citizens, featuring an all-new ensemble and new artistic director Rob Tannion (January 2-28)
- Aquasonic, an ethereal underwater concert performed by five Danish musicians on custom- made instruments whilst submerged in aquariums (January 6-9)
- Hyde Park’s Spiegeltent hosting the hottest stars of ‘boylesque’ with Briefs: Close Encounters, a seductive mix of contortion, aerial acrobatics and raunchy comedy, and RIOT an all-Irish variety show starring famed drag queen Panti Bliss
- The Australian premiere of Town Hall Affair which reimagines a raucous 1971 feminist debate. Featuring Maura Tierney as Germaine Greer, the New York theatre company Wooster Group perform in Sydney for the first time (January 7-13)
- The Wider Earth bringing to life Charles Darwin’s five-year journey across the planet exploring new species, featuring an award-winning cast by Queensland Theatre and masterfully-built puppets from Dead Puppet Society (January 17-27)
- The new Village Sideshow presented by China Southern Airlines at Meriton Festival Village containing a virtual reality Ghost Train, double-decker Karaoke Carousel, a Glitterbox, swimming pools and more (January 6-28)
- An expansive plastic toy landscape with towering toy dinosaurs, Jurassic Plastic by Japanese artist Hiroshi Fuji (January 6-28)
- Four Thousand Fish, a large-scale art installation at Barangaroo featuring a giant ‘nawi’ (canoe) and thousands of fish made of ice, to be returned to the harbour (January 5-28)
- A music line-up including homegrown talent Gotye, New Zealand’s gothic folk artist Aldous Harding, Argentina’s latin hip-hop trio Fémina, English performance artist and musician Genesis P-Orridge, America’s indie folk exponents Mount Eerie and Julie Byrne and protest anthems from Tunisia’s Emel Mathlouthi
- A series of talks and concerts in buildings across Sydney designed by Australia’s most famous modernist architect, Harry Seidler, for the Seidler Salon Series (January 9-28)
- Internet sensation and political parodist Randy Rainbow unveiling his live show exclusively at Sydney Festival in his Australian debut (January 18-20)
The festival programming focuses on three key themes this year: finding the intersection of science and art, with particular attention placed on the relationship between how the physical body interacts with the mind in the digital realm; a larger look at human consumption and the effects that can have on local communities and the planet; and how the feminist movement has evolved and its current state across the world.
Sydney Festival 2018 comprises 136 events, 47 of which are free. 702 performances take place across 51 venues, featuring over 700 artists from 22 countries. With 12 world premieres, eight Australian premieres, 14 Australian exclusives and nine new Australian works, the Sydney Festival is not to be missed.