Each year, Sydney Festival delivers an exceptional line-up that we can't wait to dive in to. Of course, we highly endorse visiting Cherine Fahd's Ecdysis and catching Nat Randall and Anna Breckon's Set Piece, but here are our other top picks that you should check out now!
Roslyn Oades, Bob Scott & Collaborators
National Art School // $40
12 -23 Jan
Lonely hearts and nightlife fiends. Insomniacs and shift workers. Guardians over restless babies and wide-eyed truckies barrelling down the highway. These are just some of the voices of The Nightline.
Collected anonymously on a special hotline and arranged by pioneering audio theatremaker Roslyn Oades and sound artist Bob Scott, The Nightline is a sonic collage of Australia’s nocturnal soul. You may find yourself seduced by a whisper or a song. You could be party to a confession or confront bottled aggression. All you have to do is pick up the handset and listen...
Carriageworks // $50
Jan 27 - 29
Dance as resistance. Challenging yet joyful, Jurrungu Ngan-ga — meaning ‘straight talk’— is a provocative new dance theatre work by Marrugeku which confronts Australia’s shameful fixation with incarceration. The mesmerising multimedia production is a frank conversation with the Australian psyche, exposing the deep-seated fears holding us back from truth and justice.
Through movement, spoken word, installation and a powerful musical soundscape, the cast draws on intersecting yet distinct cultural experiences (Indigenous, immigrant, people seeking asylum, transgender and settler) to ask: who really is in prison here?
Charmene Yap & Cass Mortimer Eipper. Produced by Performing Lines
Carriageworks // $50-60
Jan 20 - 23
From climate change, to mass extinction events, to the effects of our widening wealth gap, Grey Rhinos are all around us, threatening carnage. A collaboration between award winning choreographers Charmene Yap and Cass Mortimer Eipper, Grey Rhino is an audacious new dance epic which warns us to heed the dangers hidden in plain sight.
Produced by Performing Lines, Grey Rhino is a high-energy combination of dance, music and spoken word that asks questions about apathy, denial and avoidance. It’s an urgent creative statement delivered with high impact – you won’t be leaving your seat unmoved.
Kelly Lee Owens
Speaker's Corner // $59
Hypercolour melodies and arpeggiated rhythms tumbling from a speaker stack. Bass rumbling beneath an ethereal voice from the other side. A swathe of bodies in motion underneath a balmy summer night sky...Kelly Lee Owens at Speakers Corner will take you where you long to be.
In a short time as a solo artist, this talented Welsh musician has carved out a singular niche in the electronic spectrum with a sound that comfortably straddles alternative pop, house and techno. With two acclaimed full-length albums, celebrated remixes for established pop names like St Vincent and Björk, and one of the most raved about live shows in the game, Owens has, without a doubt, crossed over.
Wudjang: Not the Past
Bangarra Dance Theatre & Sydney Theatre Company
Roslyn Packer Theatre Walsh Bay // $80-120
17 Jan - 12 Feb
In the deep darkness just before dawn, workmen find ancestral bones while excavating for a dam. This ancestor is Wudjang, who longs to be buried the proper way.
An epic-scale contemporary corroboree by Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company, Wudjang: Not the Past reveals the power of ancestral stories to reach us through generations. 17 dancers, four musicians and five actors all take the stage in an ambitious performance full of humour and tragedy.
Wudjang reclaims stories from non-Indigenous historians, teaching how to acknowledge, listen and learn from the past. Directed by Stephen Page and cowritten with Alana Valentine, the work uses the Mibinyah language from Page’s Yugambeh country home in Queensland. In every poem chanted, strutted, muttered and sung, dance is alive. This vivid piece of First Nations performance promises to be a benchmark Australian production.