Welcome to Sydney Festival’s exhilarating summer of art

A message from our Festival Director

26 Oct, 2023    Olivia Ansell

News Guest writer

Welcome to Sydney Festival’s exhilarating summer of art.  

From saltwater and freshwater stories to tales of Sydney Harbour and the weaving of 1,000 local and international artists’ voices. We invite you to discover our city. 

Stretching across the best harbourside location in the world, Walsh Bay and its many theatres and unique spaces will play host to a full-swing Festival takeover. The Thirsty Mile is a cheeky throwback to Sydney’s working wharf history and a fierce commentary on what we’re thirsty to see change.

With large-scale public art, immersive dance parties, contemporary music, sunrise yoga and a dedicated speakeasy for delicious cabaret, this is your new spot this summer. 

Our 2024 highlights include II Tabarro — Puccini’s brooding one-act opera performed aboard Sydney’s Carpentaria lightship, White Gold by Cambodia’s Phare Circus, and Summerground — a brand new three-day music festival presenting the best soul, funk, roots, R&B and indie rock from across the globe. In Parramatta, Sydney Symphony Under the Stars will perform Pictures in the Sky, featuring the masterful talents of William Barton, Aunty Delmae Barton, Iva Davies AM and legendary sitar player Anoushka Shankar, while at Riverside Theatres we’re proud to present BANANALAND, a brand new musical comedy by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall (Muriel’s Wedding The Musical). 

Exquisite dance, spellbinding theatre and free events for the whole family presented right across Greater Sydney will once again move, delight and entertain audiences this January. 

I would like to acknowledge Jacob Nash, Sydney Festival’s Creative Artist in Residence, for curating this year’s Blak Out program, which has three world premieres including rock’n’roll musical Big Name, No Blankets by ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, GURR ERA OP by Torres Strait Islander storyteller Ghenoa Gela and Vigil: The Future, a thought-provoking song cycle about tomorrow’s Australia, performed by First Nations youth. 

My sincere thanks to Sydney Festival’s principal philanthropic supporter Peter Freedman AM and our principal government partners the State Government through Create NSW and Destination NSW, and the City of Sydney. I would also like to thank our community of artists, audiences, staff and supporters who make the Festival possible. 

We look forward to welcoming you in January on what always was and always will be Aboriginal land.

Olivia Ansell 

Festival Director 




Register Interest