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January events in Sydney

It's quite possibly the best month of the year

The first month of the year is packed with summer festivals, outdoor markets, blockbuster theatre shows and long coastal walks. Make the most of January in Sydney with our guide to the biggest events this month.

January's big hitters

Summer Playground

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For the month of January, the Western Broadwalk of the Sydney Opera House will be turned into a vintage carnival-themed pop-up bar and restaurant where you can chill out before and after shows. Summer Playground will kick off every day from 10am with carnival games for kids, and it’ll run late into the evening for outdoor dining with a killer view. 

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Sydney Opera House , Sydney Until Sunday January 29 2017

The Beach

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Remember the rubber duck in Darling Harbour or the Stonehenge jumping castle? This year, Sydney Festival is making a giant ball pit in the Cutaway at Barangaroo with 1.1 million recyclable polyethylene balls. The art installation that will be cropping up all over your Instagram feeds is an Australian exclusive, created by New York-based design collective Snarkitecture. The monochromatic ‘beach’ will be open for everyone to take a swim. It’s free to enjoy throughout the festival, however, there will be kid-free nights and early morning booking slots so you can jump on in without crushing a small child.

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The Cutaway , Millers Point Tuesday January 24 2017 - Sunday January 29 2017

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

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Sydney Festival is making the most of Darling Harbour’s new ICC building by staging two of its music program heavyweights in the 9,000 capacity theatre: first to be announced was PJ Harvey, who is coming to Sydney on January 22 for show that’s receiving rave reviews across Europe, and next up will be a two-date show from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, who will be performing their 16th studio album Skeleton Tree.

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International Convention Centre , Darling Harbour Friday January 20 2017 - Saturday January 21 2017

Sydney Festival

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If you were in Sydney in January, you’d have seen the Flaming Lips play a free concert in the Domain, built a giant cardboard tower in Darling Harbour, watched ferries race under the Harbour Bridge and you’d have ridden a flying fox at Barangaroo – all thanks to Sydney Festival. The annual cultural celebration is the big one in Sydney’s summer must-do list, and the festival’s contemporary programming always manages to surprise.

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Around Sydney , Sydney Until Sunday January 29 2017

Nude Live

As part of Sydney Festival, dancers from Sydney Dance Company will perform in the buff amongst the artworks of Nude: Art for the Tate Collection. Artistic director Rafael Bonachela has created choreography that responds to works by Pablo Picasso, Lucian Freud, Henri Matisse and Louise Bourgeois, among others. Associate artists Dave Mack, Fiona Jopp, Marlo Benjamin, Olivia Kingston, Zachary Lopez, Oliver Savariego and Izzac Carroll will perform in the piece.

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Art Gallery of NSW , Sydney Sunday January 22 2017 - Monday January 23 2017

St George OpenAir Cinema

The most glam of the outdoor cinemas is St George OpenAir. From your seats in the stadium you can watch the screen rise up over the water, with the Opera House and Bridge as the backdrop. There's a bar and restaurant too. This year's program has some unexpected detours fron convention. They are showing David Stratton's new documentary Stories of Australian Film ahead of its ABC TV premiere. They have the extreme sports action of the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival. And they have the Australian premiere of a new documentary about Sydney artist Brett Whiteley. 

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Mrs Macquaries Chair , Sydney Until Wednesday February 22 2017

So Frenchy So Chic

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So Frenchy So Chic is back for a fourth year at new stomping grounds, but with all the fancy trimmings that we’ve come to expect from the wildly popular French-style picnic in the park. The line-up includes the energetic six-piece Deluxe, who blur the lines between hip-hop, soul and pop; the Limiñanas sing in English and French with a sensual 1960s vibe; actor-poet-folk musician Bertrand Belin will bring his catchy tunes from Paris to Bicentennial Park; and festival royalty Nouvelle Vague are back with new songs form their latest album I could be happy plus covers of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and the Clash’s ‘Guns of Brixton’.

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Bicentennial Park - Glebe , Annandale Saturday January 21 2017

Opera in the Domain

Sydney loves its culture served alfresco – and it’s hard to top Opera in the Domain for a starlit experience. Opera Australia’s all-killer-no-filler annual free picnic night features favourite overtures and arias performed by company soloists accompanied by the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.  This year's singers are Russian soprano Elvira Fatykhova, mezzo‐soprano Sian Pendry, Korean tenor Ho-Yoon Chung and charismatic baritone Luke Gabbedy. 

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The Domain , Sydney Saturday January 21 2017

Ladies in Black

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Ladies in Black has won over Queensland and Melbourne already with its big-hearted story of a precocious teen who joins the ranks of the ladies working in a prestigious department store in Sydney during the '50s. The Queensland Theatre Company show was created by a dream team of Australian talent, adapting Madeleine St John’s 1993 novel, The Women in Black: music and lyrics by Tim Finn, book by screenwriter Carolyn Burns and direction by Simon Phillips (Priscilla Queen of the Desert). The resulting show is a breezy, fun exercise in teenage dreams and suburban nostalgia, with strong characterisations and plenty of glamorous costumes to boot.

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Sydney Lyric , Darling Harbour Until Sunday January 22 2017

Carriageworks Night Market

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In celebration of Chinese New Year and to welcome in the Year of the Rooster, Carriageworks is holding an Asian-themed Night Market. Curated by award-winning chef Kylie Kwong and inspired by contemporary Asian food and culture, the January Night Markets will take you on a culinary journey through Asia from the bustling streets of Harajuku to the vibrant road of Shanghai’s AnFu Lu. Enjoy offerings from over 50 of Sydney’s best producers and chefs.

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Carriageworks , Eveleigh Saturday January 28 2017

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