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Sydney Festival

Sydney Festival

8:00am 6th January 2021 - 5:00pm 26th January 2021

Event Details

Event Type: Festival

From 6 – 26 January, the Festival returns with a huge program of over 130 events. 

From Chippendale to Parramatta, Sydney will provide the canvas for 24 days of engaging and immersive events, exhibitions, workshops and talks. After a year hallmarked by uncertainty, the 2021 program reflects an unwavering commitment to, and celebration of, the very best Australian art, artists and the audiences who love them.

H.M.S. Pinafore is a highlight of the season. Director Kate Gaul’s wild reimagining of Gilbert and Sullivan’s masterpiece puts a 21st-century spin on the song-strewn mockery of class, patriotism and the rise of unqualified people to positions of power.

Elsewhere in The Headland program, Sydney Symphony Orchestra will premiere The [Uncertain] Four Seasons – a work where climate data is harnessed to reimagine Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in an ambitious collaboration between composers, designers and scientists.

After their sold-out 2020 Sydney Festival show, didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton and powerhouse violinist Véronique Serret return with Heartland – an invitation into landscape, culture, language and Country. Based on the poetry of Aunty Delmae Barton (William’s mother), Heartland blends traditional songlines and modern storytelling to create a meditative work inspired by the Australian landscape and the power of connection to place.

Rewired: Musicals Reimagined by Hayes is the latest production by award-winning musical theatre and cabaret ensemble Hayes Theatre Co. Directed by Richard Carroll Rewired sees Genevieve Lemon, Toby Francis, Sheridan Harbridge, Ryan Gonzales, Max Lambert and Elenoa Rokobaro rework a selection of classic musicals like you’ve bever heard them before.

In Universal Woman, the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra celebrates the remarkable creative achievements of Hildegard von Bingen, the twelfth-century polymath whose life story and body of work continue to resonate through the ages. A Sydney Festival exclusive, Universal Woman takes place amid the spine-tingling acoustics of St Mary’s Cathedral Crypt, with five performances led by Brandenburg musicians on period instruments as well as singers from the Brandenburg Choir.

In a virtuosic kaleidoscope of music, 12 Hands 6 Grands will see audiences experience six of Australia’s best pianists playing six grand pianos at Sydney Town Hall. Here, Piers Lane, Artistic Director of the Sydney International Piano Competition, has invited six of Australia’s best female pianists to join in this rare collaboration. Beginning with the genius of Bach, the program also features past and present Australian composers and a generous helping of Latin dance rhythms. This collaborative performance of duos, trios and quartets will culminate in an astounding, musically complex performance by all six pianists – unleashing the sheer power and sublime expressive beauty of concert grand pianos.

Musical Microparks invites audiences to step outside for a pop-up musical and performative walking tour of Erskineville, with guest artists from Somalia, China and Australia. In parks, courtyards and unexpected pockets of green, Ensemble Offspring (Birdsong at Dusk ‘20) has paired up with diverse special guests for six unique, cross-cultural duets – sharing universal stories told from the heart. Join the musicians of one of Australia’s most imaginative and innovative ensembles as they transform inner-city landscapes into one-off sonic wonderlands.

Future Remains presents an exquisite double bill by Sydney Chamber Opera featuring Leoš Janáček's Diary of One Who Disappeared and the world premiere of Huw Belling's Fumeblind Oracle. Belling's composition continues the story of the dangerous woman at the heart of Janáček's work – a partner piece in which the lone woman moves from love poetry to god-guided violence.

Struggle, exertion…where do they first show up in the body? In the breath. And that’s how Jane Sheldon’s poem for a dried-up river begins: in summer darkness with the sounds of breathing floating over chirping cicadas. Gradually, two sopranos emerge from the soundscape, their labour divided – instrument and words.

Presented in conjunction with Sydney Chamber Opera, Sheldon’s beguiling performance melds opera, poetry, physical theatre and art installation in a mesmerising, unique combination.

Sydney Festival’s treasured Salon Series will also return for a fourth year, bringing together music and architecture for a series of intimate concerts in unique spaces, including the Vestibule of Sydney Town Hall and historic Vaucluse House. The full line-up of musicians and venues will be announced on 26 November.

To see the full program, head to 

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