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Sydney Festival 2017 Program Announced

October 27, 2016 Whats On No Comments Email Email

Sydney Festival is an annual cultural celebration that transforms Sydney every January, delivering the highest quality art and big ideas.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE by Shakespeare,             , Writer - William Shakespeare, Director - Declan Donnellan, Designer - Nick Ormerod, Lighting - Sergei Skornetsky, Paris, 2015, Credit: Johan Persson/

Wesley Enoch’sinaugural program as Festival Director is bursting with free and ticketed events across theatre, dance, circus, opera, visual arts and contemporary and classical music.

From internationally renowned UK theatre company, Cheek by Jowl and Pushkin Theatre Moscow, comes a topical production of Shakespeare’s brew of laughter and high seriousness, Measure for Measure. The recent recipient of a lifetime achievement prize at the Venice Biennale, Declan Donnellan directs 13 Russian actors in a piercing production that delves into the depths of an unpredictable city to dissect the nature of government, love and justice.

Nude Live is a unique collaboration between Sydney Dance Company and the Art Gallery of NSW, drawing on their summer exhibition Nude: Art from the Tate collection. Six dancers choreographed by Rafael Bonachela dancers respond to works including paintings, sculptures, photographs and prints by renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Lucian Freud, Henri Matisse and Louise Bourgeois.

This summer, for a cool change, hit The Beach – a joyous monochromatic installation of 1.1 million recyclable polyethylene balls at The Cutaway, Barangaroo Reserve. A quintessential Australian experience is reimagined by New York-based art and architecture collaborative practice, Snarkitecture.
Hyde Park’s much loved festival hub Meriton Festival Village is a public space where everyone should feel welcome. This year, Sydney Festival is doubling its free offering at the Village, with 21 nights of free entertainment. There will also be a variety of circus, comedy, cabaret and contemporary music ticketed events, headlined by male burlesque/cabaret company Briefs, described as the love child of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and an Aussie version of Cirque du Soleil.

Sydney Festival 2017 is comprised of 150 events, 73 of which are free. 454 performances will take place across 46 venues, featuring 1021 artists from 15 countries. With 16 world premieres, 9 Australian premieres and 14 Australian exclusives, summer in Sydney is not to be missed.

Direct from Broadway, the Australian premiere of The Encounter is an award-winning and technologically ground-breaking work from UK Company, Complicite directed by Simon McBurney .

From internationally renowned UK company, Cheek by Jowl, and Pushkin Theatre Moscow , Declan Donnellan directs Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure in Russian.

Winner of the Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work, Ladies in Black is Queensland Theatre’snew musical directed by Simon Philips featuring original music from Tim Finn (Crowded House).


Music headliners include Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and PJ Harvey . Other highlights include 1967 Music in the Key of Yes, a special Sydney Opera House concert to mark the 50th anniversary ofAustralia’s 1967 Indigenous rights referendum.

Bayala is a series of events and exhibitions celebrating Sydney’s Indigenous heritage and reawakening local language.

Hyde Park’s much loved festival hub Meriton Festival Village is doubling its free offering and features a variety of circus, comedy, contemporary music and cabaret acts, headlined by male burlesque/cabaret outfit, Briefs.

In Sydney’s famous outdoor venue The Domain, crowd favourites Symphony under the Stars and Opera in the Domain return.

Coming to Sydney Festival as an Australian exclusive, The Beach is a joyous monochromatic installation of 1.1 million recyclable white balls by US design studio Snarkitecture .

Sydney - January 18, 2014: Sydney Festival Village, Hyde Park (Photo by Jamie Willams/Sydney Festival)

Artist Ben Quilty co-curates the first major exhibition of Myuran Sukumaran s  artworks, painted during his incarceration at Bali’s Kerobokan jail. Sydney Dance Company responds to powerful artworks spanning two centuries from Art Gallery of NSW’s exhibition Nude: Art from the Tate collection.

A spotlight on Canadian artists includes  Inheritor Album from Company 605 ; Gabriel Dharmoo ‘sAnthropologies Imaginaires ; Huff from Native Earth Performing Arts ; and iD from Cirque Eloize .

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