Originally started by the Sydney Committee, the NSW State Government and the City of Sydney as a means of attracting more visitors to the city in January, the festival has grown into an artistic representation of Sydney’s vibrancy. This year, the festival runs until January 26 and will feature 104 events (of which 21 are free) and 372 performances, to be brought to life by roughly 722 artists at more than 33 indoor and outdoor venues around the city. The artistic schedule also includes 10 world premieres, 4 Australian premieres and 13 Australian exclusives.
Events of note include Berlin choreographer Sasha Waltz’s aquatic interpretation of Henry Purcell’s “Dido & Aeneas” with dancers submerged in a glass aquarium, a performance by R&B legend Chaka Khan, a play about the role of Aboriginal soldiers in World War One, and a punk cabaret solo show by Amanda Palmer. The noted family-friendly fest also features a particular treat for kids this year: Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller’s lifesize — and thoroughly bouncy — Stonehenge inflatable castle, appropriately titled “Sacrilege.”