3 ways to spend a long weekend at Sydney Festival

Back to
November 9, 2017
Nick Jarvis
It’s never too early to start planning a long weekend in Sydney!

Whether you want to make the most of Sydney in summer, get deep into as much culture as possible, or just chill and have fun, we’ve got you covered. Take Friday off, and spend a long weekend with us in January. Here are three Festival itineraries to help you get planning:

Barber Shop Chronicles. Photo: Marc Brenner

Take a deep dive into culture (12 to 14 January)

Keen for a crash course in as much culture as you can jam into three days? We’ve got your back.

Friday morning: Monroe & Associates at Carriageworks from 10am

This super-fun one-on-one theatre experience places you inside a caravan and in the shoes of a private detective. You have to solve the case using the available clues before they let you out! BOOK NOW 

Friday arvo: Lady Rizo: Red, White and Indigo at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent at 5.30pm

Start your weekend of cultural indulgence with some saucy cabaret courtesy of superstar diva Lady Rizo, whose latest show delivers a soaring and sardonic tribute to her "very bad boyfriend", the USA. BOOK NOW 

Friday night: The Town Hall Affair at Sydney Opera House at 8pm

Revered New York collective The Wooster Group make their Sydney debut with an artful reimagining of a raucous 1971 debate between leading second wave feminists and the priapic author Norman Mailer. BOOK NOW 

Saturday morning: WHIST at Carriageworks from 10am

Don a virtual reality headset and enter a world inspired by Sigmund Freud's real case studies, where each decision you make leads you off in a new direction, deep into the unconscious. BOOK NOW 

Saturday arvo: My Name is Jimi at Belvoir at 2pm

Torres Strait Island superstar Jimi Bani (Mabo, The Straits, Redfern Now) takes you home for an evening of music, dance and stand-up featuring four generations of his family onstage. BOOK NOW

Saturday night: Rhys Chatham's A Crimson Grail (100 Guitar Orchestra) at Carriageworks at 8pm

Minimalist composer Rhys Chatham conducts 100 guitarists in a soaring performance that ebbs and swells with layers of overtones and harmonies. BOOK NOW 

Sunday morning: Katharina Grosse installation at Carriageworks from 10am

An immense, site-specific installation by the renowned German artist, which will take over Carriageworks with a kaleidoscope of colour constructed from 8000 square metres of brightly painted, suspended fabric. FIND OUT MORE 

Sunday arvo: World Without Us at Carriageworks at 4pm

What would happen in the world if humans suddenly stopped existing? Innovative Belgian theatre crew Ontroerend Goed conclude their epic trilogy about existence with a powerful and meditative spoken word piece. BOOK NOW 

Sunday night: The Daisy Theatre at the Seymour Centre at 7.30pm

Wrap up your big weekend of culture with some sharp-witted improvised satire performed with hand-crafted marionettes, by acclaimed Canadian puppeteer Ronnie Burkett. BOOK NOW 

Photo: Jamie Williams

Get your groove on all weekend long (19 to 21 January)

Maybe you just want to chase good times and laughs all weekend? Get involved with the itinerary below.

Friday morning: 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS on Instagram @52ARTISTS52ACTIONS

It's the start of your big long weekend, so we're guessing you were probably out late having it large last night. Stay in bed and check out online art exhibition 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS on Instagram, where each week for a year a different artist is challenged to enact and document an urgent political work. FIND OUT MORE 

Friday arvo: LORDS OF STRUT at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent at 3.30pm

Warm up your limbs and diaphragm with the hilarious and ridiculous stars of RIOT and Britain's Got Talent, LORDS OF STRUT, with an hour of slick dance moves, tight spandex and fist-pumping cheesy hits. BOOK NOW 

Friday night: Jlin at the Carriageworks at 8pm

Melt your mind and your body with the warped future-footwork sound and live AV projections of Indiana's Jlin. BOOK NOW 

Saturday morning: Flying Trapeze Workshops at Circus City from 11am

Feet a little fatigued after Jlin? Treat yourself to a sleep in. But if you're feeling motivated, jump a train out to Parramatta and get a dose of adrenaline with the Flying Trapeze Workshops at Circus City, where you'll learn to swing, flip and soar on a 10-metre high trapeze rig. BOOK NOW 

Saturday arvo: Village Sideshow presented by China Southern Airlines from 4.30pm

You’ll want to dedicate a whole afternoon to the Meriton Festival Village and our new Village Sideshow. Grab some food and drinks, cool off in the Village Pools and explore a whole world of wild attractions. 

Dance up a storm in Glitterbox by zin, meet the roving Party Bot, step inside the infinity tunnel Continuum, pack in a micro-sized night of dancefloor action in 10 Minute Dance Parties by JOF, belt out a tune on the Karaoke Carousel and lots more. FIND OUT MORE 

Saturday night: Briefs: Close Encounters at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent at 7.45pm or 10.30pm

While you’re at the Meriton Festival Village, stop into the Spiegeltent to catch the outrageous and fabulous boylesque troupe Briefs, back at Sydney Festival after a big year in London. BOOK NOW 

Sunday morning: Jurassic Plastic at Sydney Town Hall from 9am

Soothe your aching eyes with a sweeping landscape of colour coded plastic toys, dotted with giant ‘Toyasaurus’ sculptures made out of discarded toy parts. Jurassic Plastic is art that appeals to the kid and adult in everyone. BOOK NOW 

Sunday arvo: Fémina at the Spiegeltent at 3pm

This Argentinian trio melds hip hop swagger with Latin folk tradition and powerful feminist lyrics, swinging effortlessly from cumbia, rumba and candombe to funk, reggae and rap. BOOK NOW 

Sunday night: RIOT at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent at 7.30pm or 10.15pm

Wrap up your raging weekend with a quintessential #sydfest experience in the Spiegeltent – a glorious and disorderly cocktail of politics and partying direct from Ireland. BOOK NOW 

Photo: Jamie Williams

See the city at its best (26 to 28 January)

Want to make the most of being in Sydney in peak-summer? Hit up the Festival events below.

Friday morning: Baraya at Barangaroo (7.45am) and then Ferrython (from 9.30am) on Sydney Harbour

What better way to kick off your long weekend in Sydney than with an early start at the beautiful Barangaroo Reserve to experience Baraya: Sing Up Country. A group song will be performed at the WugulOra Ceremony to reawaken and reforge the songlines of Sydney in a performance for country, ancestors and healing.

Follow up that one of a kind experience with the annual tradition of the Ferrython. If you’re on a budget, pack a picnic and barrack for your favourite ferry from the foreshore; or buy a ticket aboard a racing ferry with lunch and drinks included.


Friday arvo: Village Sideshow presented by China Southern Airlines from 4.30pm

The Village Sideshow is our freaky fun park packed with unusual experiences. Grab a drink and something to eat, then rave it up in the Glitterbox or in a shipping container at 10 Minute Dance Parties by JOF, take a ride on the Ghost Train, and much more. BOOK NOW 

Friday night: Barber Shop Chronicles at the Seymour Centre at 8pm

A blockbuster theatre event at next year’s Festival, Barber Shop Chronicles comes direct from the National Theatre in London, with a fresh and funny mix of music, dance and story telling that explores masculinity, the passing of knowledge, and concepts of belonging, in African and immigrant cultures. BOOK NOW 

Saturday morning: Jurassic Plastic at Sydney Town Hall from 9am

Explore a brightly coloured swamp of plastic toys, dotted with giant dinosaur sculptures made from discarded toys, in this immersive artwork about sustainability and waste by Japanese artist Hiroshi Fuji. You can also do an Atelier workshop at 10.30am and learn how to make your own Toysaurus, with instruction from guest artists. BOOK NOW 

Saturday arvo:
Model Citizens at Circus City, Parramatta, at 1.30pm

Take a quick afternoon trip out to explore the demographic centre of Sydney, Parramatta, and catch the jaw-dropping new production from Circus Oz Model Citizens in their Big Top. BOOK NOW 

Saturday night: The Wider Earth at the Sydney Opera House at 7.30pm

No trip to Sydney is complete without checking out a show in the Opera House. The Wider Earth is a stunning production that retells Charles Darwin’s journey on The Beagle with actors and custom-built puppets. BOOK NOW 

Sunday morning: Lisa Reihana Cinemania at Campbelltown Arts Centre from 10am

Cover some ground and explore Campbelltown and its exceptional arts centre, which is hosting the panoramic video work of exciting Aotearoa New Zealand artist Lisa Reihana. FIND OUT MORE 

Sunday arvo: Four Thousand Fish at Barangaroo from 4pm

Check out the beautiful Nawi Cove, take part in an interactive art installation, and learn all about the history of early colonisation and the Aboriginal leader and accomplished fisherwoman Barangaroo. FIND OUT MORE 

Sunday night: Briefs: Close Encounters at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent at 10.30pm

No Sydney Festival is complete without a visit to the Meriton Festival Village to grab a drink and a bite to eat, and see some extremely risqué and funny cabaret in the iconic Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent. Luckily, the boylesque boys of Briefs have you covered – the perfect end to an epic Sydney Festival long weekend. BOOK NOW 

Nick Jarvis is a journalist, copywriter and Publications Editor at Sydney Festival and Sydney Film Festival. He's written for Vice, Time Out, inthemix, Junkee and various other online media and street press over the years.

Related Events

Create an account

Forgot Password

Forgotten your password?

Enter your email below to have your password sent to the address




Update Your Planner




Please Select Performances

(To download all performances, just click the "Download to Calendar" button without selecting anything)

{{form.tinder_selected_previous.title}} {{form.tinder_selected.title}} {{form.tinder_selected_next.title}}