A guide to Sydney's theatre scene
27 things every Sydney theatre lover knows
Sydney is home to one of the most famous and beautiful performing arts venues in the world (you may have heard of it), but being a theatre lover in this city can be a bit of a mad adventure. At the top end of town, there's slick, glossy and high profile shows, but the theatre in this city runs the gamut of styles, scale and, erm, quality. You really have to get wise to the ways of this town if you want to get the most out of its theatre scene. Here's our list of things you've probably already figured out – and things you really should know – if you're theatre-mad and living in Sydney. 1. If you need to sit in the back row of the Capitol Theatre, you may as well be sitting in the carpark. 2. There’s always at least one audience member at Ensemble who can’t figure out how to silence their mobile phone. 3. You probably see Mitchell Butel on stage more often than you see most members of your immediate family. 4. Helen Thomson could tell you your mother died and you’d probably still laugh. 5. Heather Mitchell makes art out of toast. 6. Heather Mitchell is as convincing as a precocious young boy as she is as a prickly Irish grandmother. 7. Heather Mitchell is who you want be when you grow up. 8. Stage-dooring is not really a thing in Sydney. If you want to be close to spectacular actors, just go to Griffin, the Hayes, Kings Cross Theatre, the Old Fitz or the Old 505. 9. Those boxes on the side of the stage at the Opera House’s Concert Hall are totally fine to sit in. 10
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Sydney Opera House
This Australian icon sits on Bennelong Point and is Sydney’s premiere venue for classical and contemporary music, opera, theatre and dance. As peaceful as it looks now, the House had a controversial beginning: while it was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, by the time the building was completed in 1973 its architect had been fired. Many have pondered the building’s design over the years, comparing it variously to shells, waves and even a family of swans. Utzon never revealed his vision, only that it involved spheres. The Opera House offers different tours that allow you to get intimate with the building, including some hosted in different languages and full ‘experience' packages. If you don't feel like shelling out, it's still free to sit on the steps for a quick lunch and walk by the water and gaze in marvel at those 1,056,000 pearly, self-cleaning Swedish tiles. Where to eat and drink near Sydney Opera House For the ultimate Opera House dining experience, book a pre-theatre dinner at Bennelong, or just pop in for a drink and a snack at the raw and cultured bar. Check out the Opera Kitchen, a harbourfront dining area that features a host of Sydney food identities including John Susman. Meander around to Bulletin Place for cocktails. Later in the evening kick the glamour up a notch at Hemmesphere and enjoy matched cigars and more cocktails into the morning. Backstage tour With access into areas normally reserved for stars and their minders, this tour will have y
Sydney Theatre Company
It’s Andrew’s final season, so one might expect him to throw caution to the winds and get some wish-list i tems out of the way. Overall it’s a rather demure season as far as Big Names, with the exception of Rose Byrne, who will be fronting Andrew’s production of David Mamet’sSpeed-the-Plow. But there’s plenty of top shelf local thesp talent – like Robyn Nevin, Sarah Peirse and Helen Thomson; and there are actors made popular on screen returning to the STC stage – including Lisa McCune, Ryan Corr, John Howard and Lachy Hulme. But there's no William Hurt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman or Steven Soderbergh. And we’ll miss Hugo, Rox and Cate. The big international star of the season is British director Rupert Goold (Enron, Macbeth), now artistic director of London’s Almeida Theatre. He’ll be bringing his hit West End production of Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III to Sydney. Also heading down under from the UK are 1927, with their take on the Golem myth. For an Australian classic, we get Louis Nowra’s Golden Age; for new work, there are premieres by Sue Smith (Kryptonite), Angela Betzien (The Dark Room), and a portmanteau of new works by emerging playwrights Melissa Bubnic, Michele Lee, Nakkiah Lui and Debra Thomas – with a fifth from veteran Hannie Rayson. The Secret River, arguably Cate and Andrew’s greatest programming achievement in their tenure, returns. For new international work: besides King Charles III from the UK, Upton is bringing Pulitzer Prize winner Disgraced, from the
Each year this western Sydney cultural hub hosts an exciting programme of theatre, dance, opera, circus, musicals and solo shows. The theatre is also a NT Live screening venue, so throughout the year you can catch London's National Theatre productions screened live in HD. Visit the Riverside Theatres website for the full 2014 program.
Worth visiting for the space alone, Carriageworks is the latest incarnation of the Eveleigh Rail Yards. Built in the 1880s, its cavernous interiors are faithfully preserved, giving it a limitlessness very different from the plush cocoons of most theatres. With a program of large-scale theatre, dance and installation works, and as a host of the experimental and cross-disciplinary theatre company Performance Space, Sydney Chamber Opera and Moogahlin Performing Arts, Carriageworks is gaining a reputation as the venue for the most progressive Sydney drama, dance and art.
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Merivale is cutting your evening bar tab by 49 per cent in June
We love a good happy hour here in Sydney. Hell, most evenings the glorious post-work 60-minute drinks special will often last for more like two or three hours. But for the month of June, hospo giant Merivale is cranking it up a notch. For the second year running, they’re offering a 49 per cent discount on drinks from 5-7pm for the whole month, just to give you a fab start to every evening. Photograph: Anna Kucera And you won’t be limited to ho-hum house wine or bulk standard beer. The special covers everything on the drinks list up to $200, so you can splash out without getting all your cash out. The best part? Merivale’s venues stretch from the CBD to the Inner West, the shores of the Northern Beaches and by the sand in the Eastern Suburbs, so you can make your way through the fancy end of menus at 39 very cool bars and pubs across town. But if you’ve got a particular booze experience you’d like to knock over during this month of cheap hacks, you’ll need to study up. If you’re all about complex cocktails with a per-page description and ingredient list, head to Charlie Parker’s in Paddington. This subterranean joint will fix you a fantastical drink filled with seasonal produce and mixed with chef-like dedication. Try the Strawberry, which is a surprising blend of soy sauce, evaporated coffee, bitter orange and tonic water. Photograph: Anna Kucera Whisky hounds should make a beeline for J&M. You can while away the evening sipping smooth, top-shelf single malt pours for so
BoConcept brings chic Danish designer furniture to Sydney
Walking into a BoConcept store is like entering an alternative reality, giving you a glimpse of what your life could be like if you were living the best version of it. If your home were this clean, organised and stylish, surely you would cease to clutter it with unfolded laundry and takeaway menus? (Would you even order takeaway anymore, or would you cook organic meals and host dinner parties around your elegant-yet-functional dining table?) Good design can be aspirational like that. And Danish company BoConcept has been crafting modern, innovative furniture since 1952. You know – the kind of pieces that feel as good to sit on as they are to look at. Or effortlessly stylish interiors that signal the owner has both means and taste – or at least the good sense to outsource their decorating to the interior designers that staff BoConcept Sydney stores. The in-store stylists can guide you towards the furniture and accessories that fit your lifestyle, or the designers that most align with your aesthetic. Some serious names have designed contemporary pieces for BoConcept: Morten Georgsen, Anders Nørgaard, Henrik Pedersen, Frans Schrofer, ARDE, Oki Sato and rockstar designer Karim Rashid are all among their ranks. (Don’t know those names? Don’t worry, their work speaks for itself.) Whether you need to enliven your living space with one outstanding furniture piece, or furnish your entire dwelling with coordinated design, BoConcept's customer-focused interior designers can help. C
Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine have fascinated Sydney since they ruthlessly ruled the Darlinghurst underworld in the 1920s and '30s. Their long-lasting feud was even the subject of Channel Nine's Underbelly: Razor series. Now they're getting the musical treatment in this new show penned by Kate Mulley and Andy Peterson. The show kicks off in 2019 when Kate Leigh's former shop for sly grog is being reopened as a hipster coffee shop. But the ghosts of the past are never far away, and the audience is taken back to the height of the razor gang wars. Amelia Cormack and Debora Krizak star as the two crime queens in this Hayes Theatre Co production directed by Benita de Wit.