What tickets to get everyone you know for Christmas

November 20, 2019
Sydney Festival
Words
Look cultured + give gifts that’ll actually get used!
Terrifyingly, it’s almost Christmas, which means you should probably start mulling over what thoughtful gifts you’re going to get for your loved ones – instead of leaving it until the week before and handing over a bottle of wine, an airport bestseller and a box of Quality Street.

The good news for you is that we’ve got a way you can gift your closest friends and family with memorable, fun experiences for Christmas: just buy them tickets to Sydney Festival events. You’ll look thoughtful and cultured (plus your gift will actually get used).

Can’t find the perfect show below? Grab a gift voucher and let your loved one pick for themselves!

Otherwise, here are our picks of what Sydney Festival shows to buy for…


Your lovable local Baby Boomers

Put aside the pashminas and hard-cover biographies: whether it's your mum and dad or mates who prefer a fun night on the town to serious theatre or avant-garde dance, your absolute best bet is to score them tickets to Betty Blokk-Buster Reimagined, where they can relive the transgressive joys of Reg Livermore’s 1970s cabaret mega-hit, updated for the 2010s with the creative blessing of Livermore himself.

8–26 January 
Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Festival Garden, Hyde Park


Your favourite cinephile

Opening Night has the legendary French screen icon Isabelle Adjani, live on stage performing a radical revision of John Cassavete’s cult, eponymous 1977 cinema masterpiece, directed by and starring Cyril Teste, a pioneer of performance-filmique in which the performance and audience are filmed, projected and re-edited live on stage in a dizzying and dazzling performance that shifts every night. Get tickets for your favourite French film freak – it’s better than a Truffaut boxset.

21–27 January 
Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House



Your cousins with kids who haven’t had a night out in forever

Get the whole family tickets to Laser Beak Man at the Opera House, a puppetry and comedy spectacular that’s recommended for ages 8+, starring a hyper-coloured superhero with laser beam powers plus over 35 original puppets, an infectious live soundtrack from Ball Park Music’s Sam Cromack and the voice of ABC presenter and journalist Leigh Sales. Or if the kids are really little (ages 4+), nab tickets to artist Justene Williams’ She Conjured the Clouds at Campbelltown Arts Centre, an immersive theatre performance starring preschool superstar Emma the yellow Wiggle!

8–12 January 
Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House
16–18 January 
Campbelltown Arts Centre



Your mates who just want a fun night out

You can’t go past a night of cabaret at the iconic Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent in Hyde Park for the quintessential Sydney Festival good time. In 2020 we’ve got the mad-geniuses behind Sydney Festival 2013, 2014 and 2015 hits Cantina and Limbo back for LIFE – the show, a heady blend of music, dance and cabaret featuring drug references, full frontal nudity, adult concepts and attempted pyrokinesis (aka a good night out).

8–26 January 
Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Festival Garden, Hyde Park



The friend who’s obsessed with Aphex Twin, Akira, Artificial Intelligence et al

Holly Herndon’s music is literally the future: she wrote an AI program called Spawn and taught it how to sing and harmonise using voice patches from a chorus of human singers. On new album Proto, and in her mind-boggling AV live show, Herndon duets and co-writes with Spawn. As our music programmer Tom put it, in the future will be “be referred to as an ‘I remember when...’ moment — especially when robots start ruling us all.” Best get in the good graces of our new robot overlords early.


16 January 
Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Hyde Park North



The tween-agers (and/or overgrown kids of any age)

Air Play is visually spectacular clownery, turning air and gravity itself into playthings using enormous canopies of hovering silk, flying umbrellas, giant kites and larger than life balloons. It’s recommended for ages 6+ but is guaranteed to delight anyone with a sense of aesthetic wonder.
21–25 January 
Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay



The uni student interested in the big issues

Got a woke young adult to buy for? Give them a crash course in the cruelty and divisiveness of neoliberalism and late capitalism with Anthem, a five-part play that reunites the top-shelf writers of 1990s theatre classic Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? to give Australian society in 2019 a litmus test, and test out how truly united we are (hint: not very. At all).

15–19 January 
Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay



The one person you know who’s least likely to be easily shocked

How about some seriously sacrilegious, often-naked performance art from Edinburgh Fringe and UK experimental cabaret favourite Lucy McCormick, recasting the New Testament starring herself as a mayonnaise and peanut butter smeared Jesus – a “trashstep-dubpunk” morality play tackling big topics like power, feminism and queer identity (but doing it in the most hilarious and obscene way possible).

15–19 January 
Carriageworks



That one family member who reads The Daily Mail and quite likes Peter Dutton

The Visitors is 12 Angry Men recast by famed playwright and Muruwari descendant Jane Harrison in 1788, as seven senior law men from the clans of Gadigal land coming together to debate what to do about the strange, tall ships dropping anchor offshore – should the strangers be welcomed, or should the clans rise as one and resist? It’s a powerful and imaginative response to the beginnings of modern Australia.
22–26 January 
Carriageworks


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