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Sydney Opera House backstage tour
Photograph: Prudence Upton

Backstage tours in Sydney

Head behind the scenes of some of the city's best-known theatres in these guided tours

By Rebecca Russo

What happens on stage is only half the story. Step behind the curtain to experience theatre from a different angle in these intimate behind-the-scenes tours of Sydney’s most impressive theatre spaces.

Once you're equipped with the backstage knowledge, check out what's currently on stage. Plus, we've got the scoop on how to get cheap theatre tickets.

Sydney backstage tours

Sydney Opera House backstage tour
Photograph: Jamie Williams

1. Sydney Opera House

Theatre Sydney

The Sydney Opera House Backstage Tour allows you access to areas normally reserved for big stars and their entourage. Guests meet at the stage door for an experience that will have you treading the boards of its illustrious stages and sneaking into the dressing rooms of the Opera and Drama Theatres, Playhouse and the Studio. The Concert Hall is currently closed for renewal works to improve theatre machinery, acoustics and accessibility – so no peeking in there. You’ll be regaled with the secrets and stories that go on behind the curtain, from pulleys to props, sequins to soundchecks. Tours include a hearty breakfast served in the Green Room. Daily, 7am. $175. 

Photograph: Supplied

2. The Opera Centre

Theatre Surry Hills

Opera is one of our most revered forms of culture, so much so that there’s always an element of mystery surrounding it. So here’s your chance to get a backstage look at what all the fuss is about. Opera Australia operates from the Opera Centre, and it’s also where their various set, design and costume workshops are housed. You can take a guided tour of the vast production workshops and rehearsal studios that encompass this Surry Hills building and see first hand how opera is created. It’s recommended you have a good level of fitness for this walking tour, as it includes many stairs. Bookings are essential. Daily, 10am & 2pm. $10-$20. 


3. Capitol Theatre

Theatre Haymarket

This historic theatre in Haymarket is often host to world-class musicals, theatre shows, ballet and concert performers. The building itself began its life in 1892 as the New Belmore Markets, and has undergone plenty of transformations (including being converted into a hippodrome designed for the Wirth Bros circus). In this 1.5-hour backstage tour, guests will be taken on a journey through the Capital’s illustrious history, experience the atmospheric auditorium in all its glory, and learn exactly what it takes to stage a major musical production. Tours are scheduled for non-show days, primarily on Monday mornings. Selected Mondays, 10am, $27.50-$38.50. 

4. State Theatre

Theatre Sydney

Recognised for its architecture and historical significance, the State Theatre is a majestic 88-year-old building that blends Gothic, Italian and Art Deco styles. The two-hour guided tour lets visitors experience the grandeur of standing in a 2,000-seat auditorium that’s framed by 13 hand-cut crystal chandeliers. You’ll get to peek inside the State’s Character Lounges, including the Butterfly Room and the College Room, as well as a up-close look at the original Wurlitzer Organ, known as ‘the voice of silent movies’. Tours run Mondays to Wednesdays, 10am & 1pm. $15-$25. 

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