A legacy of new Australian works

The Sydney Festival new commissions that spread far and wide.

03 Jun, 2024    Sydney Festival


Sharing Australian stories is central to what we do at Sydney Festival, and we're extremely proud of the fantastic new Australian works that the Festival has commissioned over the years. 

The Australian performing arts industry needs platforms to innovate, experiment and grow, and we're honoured to be among those who provide it.   

Whether for one festival alone or in collaboration with others across Australia, commissioning new work is vital in enabling Australia’s best artists to create truly ambitious productions – the kind of big ideas that only major festivals can fully realise. 

Many of Australia’s most memorable productions have resulted from Sydney Festival commissions and premieres; high-quality, award-winning Australian works that promote awareness of the calibre of Australian artists on a national and international stage.  

Help us to continue to showcase Australian stories on the world stage. 

Three Furies (2005). Image by Branco Gaica.

Shows such as Cloudstreet (1998), the beloved and enduring stage adaptation of Tim Winton's award-winning novel which is still staged around Australia to this day, and Three Furies (2005), the impassioned theatre/cabaret work on the artist Francis Bacon.  

The Secret River (2013) was an immensely popular adaptation of Kate Grenville's novel which toured Australia followed by a return season in 2016/2017 and a tour of UK in 2019. Whilst Black Diggers (2014) uncovered the contribution of WW1 Aboriginal Diggers in captivating fashion.  

Black Diggers (2014). Image by Jamie Williams. 

Manifesto (2023). Image by Wendell Teodoro. 

Contemporary circus ensemble Circa's thrilling physical theatre work, Humans (2017) spent five years touring North and South America and Europe after its premiere, whilst Stephanie Lake’s playful dance work Manifesto (2023), featuring nine dancers and nine drum kits on stage, toured nationally after its premiere at Sydney Festival. It went on to tour Germany and New Zealand, and is currently touring in Spain and France, with numerous invitations from venues and festivals around Europe.  

BLACK TIES (2020). image by Yaya Stempler.

Big Name, No Blankets (2024). Image by Brett Boardman.

Ilbijerri Theatre Company gave us the theatrical hit BLACK TIES (2020) and most recently Big Name No Blankets (2024), the touching story of the influential Warumpi Band, which heads to RISING Melbourne this month and to Darwin later this year.  

Multi-award-winner Counting and Cracking (2019) travelled to Edinburgh Festival and Birmingham Festival in 2022 via the British Council’s UK/AU season, and this winter will be playing again in Sydney then at RISING Melbourne, before heading to US in September. 

The legacies of commissions like these carry well beyond their premiere season at Sydney Festival, becoming part of Australia's cultural footprint for years to come.  

Help us to continue to showcase Australian stories on the world stage.

Counting and Cracking (2019). Image by Brett Boardman




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