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'Festival Village' Sydney Festival 2017 | © Jamie Williams/Courtesy of Sydney Festival
'Festival Village' Sydney Festival 2017 | © Jamie Williams/Courtesy of Sydney Festival | 'Festival Village' Sydney Festival 2017 | © Jamie Williams/Courtesy of Sydney Festival
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11 Must-See Acts at the Sydney Festival 2018

Picture of Paris Donnatella Callan
Updated: 2 November 2017
Sydney Festival returns to the capital of New South Wales from January 6-28, 2018. Marking its 41st year, the renowned arts festival is once again bursting with creativity and colour, hosting an endless list of events, performances, talks, concerts, installations and celebrations fit for all the family. Here are our top 11 must-see acts at the Sydney Festival 2018.

1. Tree of Codes

This contemporary ballet is a thrilling adaptation of Jonathon Safran Foer’s 2010 experimental art book Tree of Codes. Performed by Company Wayne McGregor, the show has been wowing crowds since its debut; like a wonderful assault on the senses, Tree of Codes combines the work of three creative visionaries across three different media. Fusing music from electronic composer Jamie xx, choreography from world-class Wayne McGregor and set installations from artist Olafur Eliasson, this spectacular is not to be missed. Running January 6-10 at the Darling Harbour Theatre, Sydney. Tickets $89-$169.

Darling Harbour Theatre. International Convention Centre. Sydney. Australia. +61 (02) 9215 7100

‘Tree of Codes’ Manchester International Festival 2015
‘Tree of Codes’ Manchester International Festival 2015 | ‘Tree of Codes’ Manchester International Festival 2015 | © Joel Chester Fildes/Courtesy of Sydney Festival
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2. Model Citizens

The newest show by Circus Oz is certainly a must-see at this year’s Sydney Festival. Heralding the reign of new artistic director Rob Tannion and an all-new ensemble of mind-boggling acrobats, aerialists and sizzling, show-stopping performers, this event packs one hell of a punch. Running from January 2-28 at the Circus Oz Big Top in Prince Alfred Square, Parramatta. Tickets range from $45-$90; family of four ticket bundles range from $110-$170.

Prince Alfred Square. Parramatta. Sydney. Australia

‘Bridge Trapeze’ Model Citizens | © Rob Blackburn/Courtesy of Sydney Festival | ‘Bridge Trapeze’ Model Citizens | © Rob Blackburn/Courtesy of Sydney Festival

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3. AquaSonic

Imagine experiencing a music concert where the musicians are submerged in an aquarium, whilst playing handmade instruments; this is AquaSonic. Ethereal, fantastical and undeniably awe-inspiring, this performance is not to be missed this Sydney Festival. Running from the January 6-9 at Carriageworks in Everleigh, Sydney; tickets $59-$69.

Carriageworks Theatre. 245 Wilson Street. Eveleigh. Sydney. Australia. +61 (02) 8571 9099

Nanna Bech, Aquasonic | © Charlottade Miranda/Courtesy of Sydney Festival | Nanna Bech, Aquasonic | © Charlottade Miranda/Courtesy of Sydney Festival

4. RIOT

Featuring drag legend Panti Bliss, this Irish variety show fuses dance, drag, spoken word, art, comedy, circus and a touch of crazy. As the name implies, this spectacular will be wild, raunchy and downright raucous; tickets will go fast for this Sydney Festival highlight, so get in early. Running from January 5-28 at Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Meriton Festival Village in Hyde Park. Tickets $70-$80.

Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent. Meriton Festival Village. Hyde Park. Sydney. Australia

RIOT
RIOT | RIOT | © Conor Horgan/Courtesy of Sydney Festival
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5. Barber Shop Chronicles

This funny, fresh and frank play explores African men’s relationships with barbershops. From London’s Royal National Theatre, Nigerian-born, UK-based poet Inua Ellams shares the stories and lives of men as they find solace in the safety of the barber chair. A thrill throughout, Barber Shop Chronicles is not to be missed. Running from January 18-28 at the York Theatre, Seymour Centre in Camperdown. Tickets $49-$89.

York Theatre. City Road. Camperdown. Sydney. Australia +61(02) 9351 7944

Barber Shop Chronicles | © Dean Chalkley/Courtesy of Sydney Festival | Barber Shop Chronicles | © Dean Chalkley/Courtesy of Sydney Festival

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6. The Town Hall Affair

The Town Hall Affair is a bold and bloody brilliant theatrical adaptation of the 1970’s documentary Town Bloody Hall, the recorded unruly debate between author Norman Mailer and feminists Germaine Greer and Jill Johnston. Performed by New York theatre company, Wooster Group, this is the Australian premiere of The Town Hall Affair. Running from January 7-13 at the Drama Theatre in Sydney Opera House. Tickets $86-96.

Drama Theatre. Sydney Opera House. Sydney. Australia. +61 (02) 9250 7111

‘The Town Hall Affair’ The Wooster Group | © Courtesy of Sydney Festival | ‘The Town Hall Affair’ The Wooster Group | © Courtesy of Sydney Festival

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7. The Wider Earth

This theatrical spectacular explores Charles Darwin’s life-changing five-year journey across the planet in which he explored species and life forms, leading to his theory of evolution. With beautifully impressive puppets by Dead Puppet Society, an award-winning cast by Queensland Theatre and original music by Lior and Tony Buchen, this performance is a definite must-see. Running from January 17-27 at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House. Tickets from $59-$69.

Drama Theatre. Sydney Opera House. Sydney. Australia. +61 (02) 9250 7111

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8. Jurassic Plastic

These installations by Japanese artist Hiroshi Fuji will wow both kids and adults; the impressive plastic dinosaur sculptures are created via unwanted toys and tower high over heads at Sydney Town Hall during Sydney Festival this year. Free to see and running from January 6-28 (closed Mondays), the colourful landscape of Jurassic Plastic is definitely an Instagram-worthy must-see.

Sydney Town Hall. 483 George Street. Sydney. Australia. +61 (02) 9265 9333

Jurassic Plastic | © Keizo Kioku/Courtesy of Sydney Festival | Jurassic Plastic | © Keizo Kioku/Courtesy of Sydney Festival

9. Seidler Salon Series

A poetic fusion of music and inspiring talks held in an impressive list of buildings across Sydney, designed by Australia’s most famous modernist architect, Harry Seidler. From acclaimed Iraqi cellists and Icelandic pianists to Estonian vocalists, Seidler Salon Series will be a key highlight in this year’s program. Running from January 9-28 in locations across Sydney. Tickets are priced at $89 per event.

Exterior Rose Seidler House
Exterior Rose Seidler House | Courtesy of Sydney Festival

10. Village Sideshow

Experience madness and mayhem at the Village Sideshow at Meriton Festival Village in Hyde Park with a virtual reality Ghost Train ($10 per person) for only the bravest of adventurers, the world’s first double-decker Karaoke Carousel ($5 per person), shipping container swimming pools open to the public (free) and heaps more. Running from January 5-28 at Meriton Festival Village, Hyde Park. Open 4.30pm-late; closed Mondays.

Meriton Festival Village. Hyde Park. Sydney. Australia.

Carrousel at Night
Carrousel at Night | Carrousel at Night | Courtesy of Sydney Festival

11. Indigenous program

From the world premier of Ghenoa Gela’s My Urrwai to fellow Torres Strait Islander Jimi Bani in My Name Is Jimi, Tribunal, Broken Glass, and the all-new Australian adaptation of Alice in Wonderland starring the world’s first Aboriginal Alice, Dubs Yunupingu, the indigenous program at Sydney Festival 2018 is plentiful. Additional classes and talks on the Aboriginal languages of Sydney pepper the program making it a diverse and interesting calendar.