Dance & performing arts

The performing arts scene in Sydney is as dynamic as it is diverse, offering theatre-goers a wide roster of shows ranging from Aboriginal dance and ballet to opera, original choreography and contemporary takes on classics. And yes, the Sydney Opera House sees its fair share of events, but a host of other venues provide the perfect backdrop for all manner of shows.  

 

What’s on & coming soon

  • L'Hotel, Sydney Opera House, 12 October-12 November 2022
  • La Traviata, Sydney Opera House, 22 October-4 November 2022
  • Resound, Sydney Dance Company, 28 October-5 November 2022
  • Attila, Sydney Opera House, 29 October-5 November 2022
  • Instruments of Dance, Sydney Opera House, 10-26 November 2022
  • Hallberg in Conversation, Sydney Opera House, 12 November & 3 December 2022
  • I Knew Then, Sydney Opera House, 23 November 2022
  • Carmen on Cockatoo Island, Opera Australia, 25 November-18 December 2022
  • New Breed 2022, Sydney Dance Company, 30 November-17 December 2022
  • Romeo and Juliet, Sydney Opera House, 1-21 December 2022
  • Medee, Pinchgut Opera, 1-7 December 2022
  • Storytime Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty, Sydney Opera House, 22-29 December 2022
  • Velvet Rewired, Sydney Opera House, 22 December 2022-5 February 2022
  • Alma, Sydney Festival, 27-28 January 2023
  • Madama Butterfly by Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, 24 March-23 April 2023

Dance in Sydney

The Harbour City is a magnet for creative types, drawn not only by the natural beauty (it’s hard not to be inspired by the beaches and national parks) but also the dynamism of the performing arts scene. The city has become a base for Australia's leading dance companies, including Sydney Dance Company, The Australian Ballet and Bangarra Dance Theatre, the latter an internationally acclaimed Indigenous contemporary dance troupe.

Dance performer, DeejayxDancer, Sydney Opera House

DeejayxDancer, Sydney Opera House - Credit: Jordan Munns

The Australian Ballet puts on a number of productions each year at Sydney Opera House, while The Sydney Dance Company is based at waterside studios in Walsh Bay. Innovative and inspirational, the troupe is headed up by artistic director Rafael Bonachela, a bastion when it comes to creating contemporary choreographies. 

Bangarra Dance Theatre is also based in Walsh Bay, and is Australia's leading First Nations performing arts company, drawing on more than 40,000 years of culture, embodied in contemporary movement.

Bangarra - Image Credit: Daniel Boud

Bangarra Dance Theatre, Barangaroo - Credit: Daniel Boud

Opera in Sydney

The Sydney Opera House hosts everything from rock gigs to comedy. But arguably the best way to test its acoustics is by watching, well, opera. Opera Australia is the resident theatrical company, and presents an extensive season of works each year, from classics to contemporary. Make sure you arrive early to enjoy drinks or dinner at one of the bars and restaurants on site or tucked into the base of the sails, with view over Sydney Harbour. If the latter is what you are after – incredible views, that is – be sure to check out one of Handa Opera’s outdoor extravaganzas, which enjoy backdrops such as the Royal Botanic Gardens (look out for Madama Butterfly in 2023) and Cockatoo Island (which is hosting Carmen later this year).

Meanwhile, Pinchgut Opera is Australia's only company dedicated to Baroque opera and vocal music. Taking rare and often undiscovered masterpieces from the 17th and 18th centuries and recreating them in a modern frame, the jam-packed line-up for 2023 includes Giustino by Giovanni Legrenzi, Pleasures of Versailles by Marc-Antoine Charpentier and Rinaldo by George Frideric Handel.

Carmen performance on stage, Cockatoo Island

Carmen on Cockatoo Island - Credit: Opera Australia

Cabaret in Sydney

For those interested in an evening of razzle and dazzle, a number of bars and clubs host cabaret acts among their line-ups. Sydney’s queen of burlesque, Porcelain Alice, makes repeat appearances at The Vanguard in Newtown, and Lazybones Lounge in Marrickville has regular burlesque shows accompanied by a live band.

Vintage fan dance burlesque pin up Eva Devore performs in Sydney's best burlesque dinner show

Bamboozle Room, Darlinghurst - Credit: Etienne Reynaud

In Darlinghurst, The Magician’s Cabaret is an intimate, Paris-inspired venue known for its dinner theatre – settle in for a candle-lit meal with a side of dancing. The Bamboozle Room in Kings Cross opens its cabaret acts to the public on Fridays and Saturday. Meanwhile, book a ticket to L’Hotel or Velvet Rewired at the Sydney Opera House before the year is out – both shows are an intoxicating mix of burlesque, cabaret, circus, acrobat and vocalist performances.

L'Hotel performers, Sydney Opera House

L'Hotel performers, Sydney Opera House - Credit: Daniel Boud

 

Upcoming performances & shows in Sydney

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