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  1. A circus act
    Photograph: Supplied/Sydney Festival
  2. A poster lady with a pink dress
    Photograph: Supplied/Sydney Festival

Two big nights out during Sydney Festival 2024

Pick between a saucy cabaret show or a family-friendly circus performance

By Melissa Woodley for Time Out in association with Sydney Festival

If you plan on New Year's Eve being the biggest night of the year, then think again. January is about to go off with an absolute bang thanks to the return of Sydney Festival 2024. It’s set to be one of the biggest events of the calendar year, delivering night after night of outstanding arts, culture and late-night entertainment. With so much to pick from, it can be almost overwhelming deciding what to see and do. We’re here to help with two ultimate nights out:

Smashed: The Nightcap

Award-winning cabaret queen Victoria Falconer and her femme-fronted brunch crew are cruising back to Sydney Festival for a season-long takeover at Sydney Theatre Company, Wharf 1 Theatre. For the late-night edition of their beloved Smashed: The Brunch Party, these salacious spirits will be joined by the sauciest line-up of talents in town. Malia Walsh will blow you away with her fire manipulation and circus tricks, Bridget Rose will impress with her Cirque du Soleil skills, burlesque stars Karlee Misi and Kelly-Ann Doll will make you smile with their fabulous feminine power, and drag queens Tynga and Kween Kong will blow your wigs off with their high kicks and splits. There will also be one different special guest (like Courtney Actand a multi-instrumental dive band at every show from January 6-27.

Jumpstart your night with a pre-theatre banquet at one of Walsh Bay’s waterfront gems and make the most of their limited-time Festival Feasts offers ranging from $30-$50. During Sydney Festival, Jounieh is offering up three spectacular feast menus for $55 per person, with specials for vegetarians, meat-eaters and seafood lovers. You can also sit waterside at Elements Seafood Grillhouse and enjoy a $55 luxe seafood set menu, including ten Singapore chilli prawns; anchovy and herb garlic bread; sesame and shallot guacamole; and grilled pita bread. 

White Gold

For an unbeatable night with the whole family, book tickets to watch the incredible Cambodian ‘circus with purpose’, Phare Circus. Founded by refugees and based in Battambang, this non-profit performance group provides free education and training in circus arts to more than 1,200 students and in turn, fuses their stories into the show. You’ll be amazed by hypnotic dance, mesmerising music, on-stage painting and all your favourite circus acts, including juggling, tumbling and the teeterboard. These class acts will unite to tell a story of healing, joy and rice (aka white gold), with a mix of daytime and evening shows at the Seymour Centre from January 9-21. 

Grab a bite to eat before or after the show with the return of Banyan Nights in the Seymour Centre courtyard. With the lively look and feel of a Southeast Asian market, this is a rare opportunity to try traditional Cambodian, Indonesian, Malay and First Nations food, all in the one spot. As you eat, you can enjoy free live performances by incredible local artists from Southeast Asian-Australian communities, including Maggie Tra, Rainbow Chan and Dyan Tai.

Explore the full Sydney Festival 2024 program and book tickets here.

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