12 perfect Christmas gifts for everyone you know

It’s giving-season, and Sydney Festival’s January line-up is giving season.

20 Dec, 2023    Sydney Festival


#1 For the friend that loves a stiff drink and a loose show

There’s a veritable smorgasbord of cabaret shows at the 2024 Festival, starting with Smashed: The Nightcap, returning to Sydney Fest to take over the night with Drag Race alumni like Courtney Act and Kween Kong, burlesque legends Kelly Ann Doll and Victoria Falconer, circus artistes Bridget Rose and Malia Walsh, and more. Also strutting the cabaret stage are Prinnie Stevens, performing the sequel to Lady Sings the Blues, Michael Griffiths doing Pet Shop Boys classics in It’s a Sin: Songs of Love and Shame, and Grammy-winning cabaret provocateur Rizo’s Prizmatism

#2 For the small humans in your life

Entertain the wee ‘uns this summer with Cambodian contemporary circus spectacular White Gold, the magical Indonesian puppetry of A Bucket of Beetles, along with free nightly celebrations of South-East Asian artistry and cuisine, Banyan Nights, in the courtyard of the Seymour Centre. 

#3 For the ecologically-minded green-beans

For the eco-activist in your life, gift tickets to theatre innovators Ontroerend Goed’s award-winning meditation on humanity’s collective destruction of the planet, Are we not drawn onward to new erA. Or send them along to Ghenoa Gela, Force Majeure ILBIJERRI’s celebration of Torres Strait Islander culture and call to fight for a better future, GURR ERA OP

#4 For the relative who likes to try something new

Singular experiences abound at Syd Fest 2024, from immersive choral music performance Night Songs at Coney Island, inside the historic playground of Sydney’s Luna Park, to award-winning musician Genevieve Lacey’s reimagining of the solo recital with contemporary choreographer Stephanie Lake and 32 bodies in motion, Soliloquy

#5 For the relative that loves a giggle

Masterclass is a wickedly funny (and meta) take down of macho artists, exploring questions of privilege and power with biting wit. Meanwhile, the Multicultural Comedy Gala brings six hilarious (and refreshingly diverse) stand ups to Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres to take the mick out of everything that makes us different, but so much the same. 

#6 For the true crime buff relative (who fancies themselves as a detective)

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World is a thrilling interrogation of post-colonial structures, the impossibility of translation and the experience of being very online. The Guardian said it “gleefully mashes up genres, smashing together the quiet authority of the murder mystery podcast, the intimacy of autobiographical storytelling, and the visual spectacle of multimedia performance – while simultaneously deconstructing each of these forms.” A true crime mystery and a spiralling trip down the information rabbit hole, it’s the show for anyone who likes their theatre deep and packed full of ideas. 

#7 For the dancefloor demon/party animal

Eclectic party nights come to Sydney Festival’s late-night Moonshine Bar, with appearances by South African underground Afro-house legend Mo Laudi, Australian alt-soul collective Nu Dialects, the dream-pop meets dancefloor of Nabihah Iqbal, avant-garde queer club night Control’s Euphoria, Tornado Wallace and Fantastic Man going back-to-back from open to close, and more. 

#8 For the rock'n'roll historian

Celebrate the impact of NT icons Warumpi Band in joyful rock extravaganza Big Name, No Blankets, packed with humour, rockstar performances and the bands’ anthems which amplified Blak voices and stories while unifying listeners through the power of rock’n’roll. 

#9 For the playlist curator/new music miner

Crate diggers will geek out on fast-rising Afro-Brazilian jazz prodigy Amaro Freitas, and the delicate, entrancing indie-folk of troubadour Julie Byrne, whose new album The Greater Wings has been one of the most raved-about works of the year. 

#10 For the movement connoisseur

Dance aficionados will adore Brazilian whirlwind of movement Encantado, and Sweden’s GöteborgsOperans Danskompani’s double header of Skid/SAABA, in which 17 dancers battle gravity on a vertiginous, 34-degree slope, before choreographer Sharon Eyal’s SAABA blends the catwalk, the club and classical choreo, pushing movements to unearthly extremes. 

#11 For the musical theatre fanatics

From the minds behind Muriel’s Wedding The Musical, and the songwriting brilliance of Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall, BANANALAND is the delightfully absurd, rollercoaster story of a punk rock protest band that accidentally becomes kiddie-pop heroes. 

#12 For your Kris Kringle/yogi mates

A perfect stocking stuffer for the flexible early risers in your life, Sunrise Yoga is the scenic kickstart to your day, stretching into Warrior pose on the Wharf of Walsh Bay Arts Precinct with Vinyasa classes led by yoga teacher Jazz Luna and beats by our in-house DJ. 

Happy gifting. And don't forget a treat for your sweet self, too!




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