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Five essential highlights of Sydney Festival for your diary

Not sure where to start with January’s smorgasbord of shows? We’ve selected five top events as a taster

By Time Out in association with Sydney Festival |
Dodecalis Luminarium
Photograph: Alan Parkinson Dodecalis Luminarium

January in Sydney is set to be magical again with the announcement of the program for Wesley Enoch’s fourth Sydney Festival (January 8-26, 2020). 

It’s another ambitious line-up spanning eye-opening art installations, boundary-pushing drama and dance, gravity-defying circus, and thrilling musical performances. There are 75 events happening across the city, from new Australian work through to blockbuster international shows. 

Not sure where to start? Try these five essential events. Tickets are on sale now.

Want more? Read Time Out’s 20 top picks of Sydney Festival.

Life the Show Sydney Festival 2020
Photograph: Mik Lavage
Theatre, Circuses

Life – The Show

Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Sydney

One of the biggest shows at Sydney Festival comes from the company behind Limbo, Blanc de Blanc, and most of the biggest hit alt-cabaret shows that have toured Australia in recent years. But Strut & Fret’s latest, ambitiously titled Life – The Show, takes a slightly more serious approach. Through circus and comedy, it traces the trials of one man’s often mundane life, seeking to pose some existential questions. Expect a dazzling soundtrack, plenty of comedy, adults-only clowning, and even an aerial act in a giant, condom-like plastic tube. Did we mention this isn’t one for the kids?

Dodecalis Luminarium Sydney Festival supplied 2020
Photograph: John Owens
Art, Sculpture and installations

Dodecalis Luminarium

Tumbalong Park, Sydney

From the outside, the spectacular luminaria created by UK company Architects of Air look a little like retro spaceships landed from an alien planet. If you venture inside the Dodecalis Luminarium, which is popping up in Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour from January 8, you’ll discover a labyrinth of uniquely curved and beautiful tunnels lit in dazzling colours. As you move from cathedral-like dome to dome, you’ll experience the calming effects of this environment – you’re even encouraged to sit and just take in the ambience. You can explore the Dodecalis Luminarium for free, or instead pre-book online for $20 to ensure you don’t have to wait in line. It’s open from 10am to 6pm on Monday to Wednesday, and 10am to 5pm on Thursday to Sunday.