As the New Year kicks off, the annual cultural celebration has returned to transform the city, delivering the highest quality art, innovative concepts and fresh talent.
Without doubt Festival Director, Wesley Enoch follows his inaugural year with a continued strong focus to Australian and Indigenous work in a program spanning theatre, dance, circus, visual art and music reaching from Sydney’s CBD to Parramatta.
"Artists are here creating more and more ways of celebrating our better angels and questioning the things that are holding us back.”
The Noonuccal Nuugi playwright and director shares big stories through a big space, all the while tapping into the energy of Sydney's story with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australia.
“Recently, we have witnessed the global effect of people feeling disenfranchised or disengaged,” Enoch said.
“As Australians we have been asked our opinion on Marriage Equality but not Climate Change, we have been asked to step up and engage in debates and discussions but only so far."
He says Sydney Festival invites you to keep getting involved.
"The people who live in a country have a responsibility to build the future of that country, to engage in creative re-imaginings and ensure the next generations inherit something better. Artists are here creating more and more ways of celebrating our better angels and questioning the things that are holding us back.”
A powerful exploration of death and mourning rituals in First Peoples communities from the women's perspective. it is an outdoor, onsite performance at St Bartholomew’s Church and Cemetery in Blacktown on Darug country. Lily Shearer has more than 30 years experience in First Peoples' Cultural Development, Arts Management and theatre and performance making. The Ngemba woman works alongside actor, director, academic and dramaturge, Liza-Mare Syron. The cemetery contains the grave of Thomas Willmot, the first shire President of Blacktown and William Lawson, one of the three who found a way across the Blue Mountains in 1813.
Four Thousand Fish
This installation celebrates fisherwoman Barangaroo. On 10 special days across the Festival, Sydneysiders are invited to visit Nawi Cove. Participants walk down a floating pontoon to create your own frozen fish using sea water and a cast mould, to help return the fish to the Harbour. Featuring a giant nawi (canoe) with a fire lit inside and thousands of fish made of ice.
Baraya: Sing Up Country
There will be a free one-hour Aboriginal language class learning a song in local language, which will then be performed at the morning WugulOra ceremony at Barangaroo (Jan 26) - with a mass choir in front of the backdrop of the harbour which could make great visuals!
With the spectacular backdrop of the Sydney Harbour, a mass choir will perform a song in local language at the morning WugulOra ceremony at Barangaroo.
Alice in Wonderland
In a world first never been seen done before, Alice will be played by Indigenous woman. The traditional story of Alice has been rewritten with an empowered female lead and from an Australian angle starring Dubs Yunupingu. The Gumatj woman has been dancing traditional dance from the time she could walk, moving into a fusion of contemporary/traditional learning styles from all over Australia.
A solo theatre piece by Torres Strait Islander dancer, actor, comedian and TV star, Ghenoa Gela, who offers a personal trip inside the life stories of Gela that delves into the complex cultural expectations she navigates every day.
My Name is Jimi
The favourite son of the Torres Strait Mabuiag Island, Jimi Bani, calls back on four generations of his family to take viewers back to his hometown with music, dance with stand-up comedy. He shares stories from a community fighting to protect a unique culture and hold onto what matters in a rapidly changing world.
To check out Sydney Festival's full program click here.