Opera on a ship, circus shows, dinosaurs, octopus sculptures, cabaret shows and immersive experiences are just some of the highlights of Sydney Festival 2024. The giant arts festival returns this summer for 24 days with over 150 events that feature more than 1000 artists and include 26 world premieres, 29 Australian exclusives and 43 free events. The expansive program is set to hit all the familiar spots including beaches to parks with a particular focus on Sydney harbour. Start marking your calendar and read the highlights below.
Sydney Festival, 2024
Welcome 2024 with some of Sydney’s best artists and cultural offerings. a Puccini opera, a mid-city music fest, incredible First Nations storytelling and theatre are on the menu.
Highlights include Puccini’s Il Tabarro performed aboard the historic lightship, The Carpentaria, transporting the audience to the 1930s. Over at the Opera House, 11 dancers will transform 140 blankets into shape-shifting costumes and spirits of healing through a dance work titled Encantado.
Like every year, theatre lovers can expect a stacked program that spans across Sydney. Catch musical comedy Bananaland at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta which follows Australia’s least-loved punk rock protest band, Kitty Litte who accidentally gain fame on the kids’ music charts, or watch White Gold at the Seymour Centre which combines dance, music and circus.
Blak Out, curated by Sydney Festival Artist in Residence Jacob Nash will bring together First Nations artists for an exclusive program of storytelling, ideas and conversations. Festivalgoers can look forward to the World Premiere of ILBIJERRI Theatre Company’s Big Name, No Blankets, a tribute to the Warumpi Band who broke barriers by being the first rock’n’roll band to sing in Aboriginal languages, The Vigil returns for the sixth time for a night of performance and art. Find the full Blak Out program here.
At the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, a program of theatre, art, dance and more called The Thirsty Mile. See a luminous 46-metre-long installation, Hi-Vis by British sculptor Michael Shaw, attend a yoga session in the wee hours of the morning with Sunrise Yoga and catch a diverse dance program called Sculptured Riddims which bring street, Afro and more dance styles to town.
Music lovers can head down to Tumbalong Park for a three-day music extravaganza called Summerground that brings together favourites like The Teskey Brothers, Courtney Barnett, Grammy-nominated artist Anoushka Shankar and local DJs including Close Encounters DJs, AROHA and Sampology for a late-night party for the books.
Something fun to look forward to for kids and adults is Night Songs at Coney Island which will take place at Luna Park, featuring artists from the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, a children’s ensemble, and chamber orchestra for an immersive experience. Another one for all ages is Dinosaur World Live which makes its Australian debut in 2024 at Parrammatta’s Riverside Theatres.
Festival fixture and favourite Sydney Symphony Under the Stars will also return to Parramatta Park. Find all the performing artists for the free event here.
There’s a lot more on the cards for dance lovers, music and theatre enthusiasts and cabaret fans along with a family-friendly program that includes comedy shows, storytelling, puppetry and more.
The giant event returns from January 5-28. Check out the full program on the Sydney Festival website.