Updates and upgrades: here's the latest on our free program

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December 14, 2023
Sydney Festival
Il Tabarro tickets, live choirs, South East Asian markets and more

A Māori choir sings by the water at Te Wheke A Muturangi: The Adversary

The traditional Māori sounds of the Te Aranganui Choir will officially open our Festival, with a special performance and Welcome to Country from Muruwari man Matt Doyle by the waterfront on Friday 5 January at 11:15am.  

Sharing the stories of their ancestors, the choir will herald the arrival of Te Wheke-a-Muturangi: The Adversary, a majestic inflateable octopus by Lisa Reihana whose vibrant tentacles will spread themselves across Watermans Cove for the duration of the Festival. 

Food, drink, performances and activities during Banyan Nights at the Seymour Centre

Good news for those heading to events at the Seymour Centre like the Cambodian circus extravaganza, White Gold! The colourful courtyard will once again become a festive free hub. You'll have plenty of reasons to stick around post-show or come down early, as Banyan Nights celebrates the rich culture of Cambodia and its neighbours.  

The Southeast Asian market square will feature a delicious food truck, tuk tuks, craffting workshops, lanterns and live entertainment from Maggie Tra, Pho the Girls, Suara Indonesian Dance Troupe, Alisha K, Marcus Whale, Blanche, a curated evening with Dyan Tai + friends and Rainbow Chan. 

Il Tabarro free tickets now available

Registrations are now open to select tickets across four performances for the free production of Il Tabarro, staged harbourside aboard the Carpentaria lightship at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Maverick director Constantine Costi transports Puccini’s one-act operatic masterpiece to 1930s Depression-era Sydney, while conductor Simon Bruckard leads a cast of exceptional Australian talent and a live orchestra for an unmissable performance on the water and under the stars. 

Spinifex Gum by Marilya to perform at Vigil: The Future

The fantastic Marliya Choir has joined our annual Vigil event held on the Stargazer Lawn of Barangaroo Headland on 25 January. For this year’s ceremony, the group of young Indigenous singers from Cairns will sing their Spinifex Gum works, performed in traditional language that recognise land, water and communities alongside a brand-new commission for Vigil: The Future.  

Working closely with the Festival, choir members have been asked to reflect on how they see the future Australia they want to live in, with their answers shared in song and in the night sky above Sydney through a captivating drone show. 

Arka Kinari to dock at Campbells Cove

The global seafarers of Arka Kinari are confirmed to dock at Campbells Cove in Sydney Harbour. For three special nights a sailing vessel will be transformed into a stage for a free multimedia performance from duo Grey Filastine (US) and Nova Ruth (Indonesia).

Combining synthy post-folk beats and cinematic visual artistry, the pair explore the potential of a radically different future after the carbon economy, one that promotes resilience and encourages re-engagement with the sea. 

Sunrise Yoga teacher and class outline

Not technically free, but with tickets at the very reasonable $10+BF a pop, we think you'll want to know about this update too. Earlybirds can shake off the night with waterside Sunrise Yoga accompanied by blissed-out beats from the festival’s in-house DJ down at The Thirsty Mile.  

Led by movement artist and teacher Jazz Luna, the classes will take inspiration from each of the main chakras (energy centres), offering a challenging, energising flow in a salute to the new year.

Roving performances locations

Don’t forget there are roving appearances from the cheeky Snuff Puppets’ Seagulls who’ll be wreaking pure summer havoc across Tumbalong Park, The Thirsty Mile, Bondi Beach and Circular Quay.

And the First Nations-led acrobatic storytelling of Living Sculptures: How the Birds got their Colours will see pop-up outdoor performances at Tumbalong Park, Parramatta Square’s Dharug Circle, South Cronulla Beach, South Steyne Beach Manly and Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach. Performances at Tumbalong Park and Dharug Circle Parramatta will also include free Weaving Workshops after the circus show.   

Read more about the free program here. 


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