Sydney 2024 Forward Thinking

Rebecca Varidel
1st Jan 2024

2024! Can you feel it? Finally Sydney is getting back to the vibrancy and energy we once knew before lockouts and lockdowns. Stay up late! No looking back. So, for you, here's some of the best of Sydney scoops for the year looking forward.

On 1 January 2024, Lucy Clements and Emma Wright are taking over management of Sydney's iconic Old Fitz Theatre, Australia's last-standing pub theatre. To start the mantle for this exciting new chapter, the first year of programming will consist of three mainstage productions, and a further three late night slots to be announced soon. Kicking off the 2024 season is Martin McDonagh's (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, In Bruges) pitch-black comedy The Lonesome West playing from 13 January to 4 February. Twenty-five years after its smash-hit debut on Broadway, The Lonesome West directed by Anna Houston (Cyprus Avenue), is an uproarious tale of two warring brothers set in the comically improbable wild west of Ireland.

This year, you can set sail on Sydney Harbour for an unforgettable afternoon of rhythm, waves and beats onboard The Jackson as they team up with Veuve Clicquot to bring you the ultimate Summer party series - Veuve Clicquot in the Sun onboard The Jackson. Enjoy sun soaked champagne moments, Veuve Clicquot-inspired canapes and a deluxe oyster bar as you dance the day away to some of Sydney’s hottest DJ’s.  On Saturdays - 13 and 27 January, 10, 17 and 24 February and 2 March 2024 main deck DJs include Jarred Baker + Geo (13 Jan), AROHA + Chux (27 Jan), Troy Beman +Clashé (10 Feb), Sam Jake + Gabriella Spritz (17 Feb), Sax Beatz + Marshes (24 Feb) and Chase Zera + Nathan Zammit (2 Mar). On the entertainment front, there’s something for everyone onboard The Jackson with DJs over two levels. If you’re looking for a quiet moment to recuperate, head up to the Rooftop deck and lounge in the sun with your mates.

Sydney Festival has locked in programming for its full suite of late night sessions this January, with a series of curated club nights, a blistering double bill by two of Australia’s 4/4 trailblazers and an epic closing night set from acclaimed South African DJ, Mo Laudi. Running 5 - 28 January, the festival’s broader live music slate also includes a bevy of special one-off gigs from both local and international talent, plus the opportunity to catch some of the world's hottest music acts in a stunning harbour-side venue normally reserved for classical concertos.

The festival’s full-swing takeover by the water in the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct – renamed The Thirsty Mile< for January in a nod to the original Hungry Mile of Sydney’s working wharves – will prove pivotal to any good Sydney summer’s night out. All month long, the harbour-side precinct will be activated with eclectic live music, immersive installations and vibrant dance works. And from the bowels of Pier 2/3 arises a new late night festival pop-up: the Moonshine Bar. The heritage-listed warehouse space will be brought to life by the literal inhale and exhale of Michael Shaw’s Hi-Vis, a 46-metre-long art installation which snakes its way around the building. Expertly curated by an assembly of Sydney’s top-tier promoters, the Moonshine Bar’s multiple club nights are set to lure out the city’s after hours revellers night after night.

Coogee Rooftop Sessions are sending out free live music and DJs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout Summer. DJs will be playing from midday each day open with free entry to all guests, and the venue will be offering $7 schooners of Byron Bay lager and $10 schooners of seltzer all night.

Kicking off 2024, Moonlight Cinema is starting the new year with a stellar line-up of epic preview screenings, summer blockbusters and some serious nostalgic retro favourites across January, February
and March. Audiences can be first to see some of the most highly anticipated movies including Mean Girls (2024), Ferrari starring Adam Driver and Penélope Cruz and Argylle starring Dua Lipa and Henry Cavill. The January program also features a selection of the most talked about movies of the summer including Wonka (starring Hugh Grant and Timothée Chalamet), Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Plus, a huge line up of retro titles across summer will give guests the chance to see their favourite classics under the stars with titles including She’s The Man and The Princess Diaries.

All You Need Is Love is one of the most popular orchestrated shows on tour, and features Jack Jones (‘Southern Sons’), Ciaran Gribbin, Rai Thistlethwayte (‘Thirsty Merc’) and Jackson Thomas, celebrating the Beatles and some of their greatest songs, performed in front of an orchestra and full band. This year’s show will feature a performance of the new Beatles song Now & Then – one of the first times it will be performed live since its release a couple of months ago. All You Need Is Love was a yearly NY celebration but has not been staged since before covid so makes a popular return on 1 + 2 January 2024 for 3 shows.

The Sydney Opera House is holding its 12th annual All About Women festival, taking place on Sunday 10 March 2024. Marking the week of International Women’s Day, the centrepiece talks festival returns to platform inclusive ideas on gender, justice and equality, both in-person and online. In signature style, All About Women 2024 will be a vibrant forum for panels, conversations and workshops on the big ideas important to women, gender diverse people and their allies. Throughout Sydney there will be loads of other International Women's Day events so mark your calendar, and keep your eyes open.

Sydney Opera House has an ongoing history of providing superb entertainment inside under its iconic sails as well as in the forecourt outside. Beyond traditional house custodians of the arts, Opera Australia, The Australia Ballet and Bangarra Dance Company, the programming has expanded to include contemporary music and performances for all to enjoy. The year 2024 spans it all, from Australia’s foremost improvised music trailblazers The Necks in February 2024 for an intimate two-night residency showcasing their unmistakable genre-bending geniusin the Playhouse through to six-piece Zambian psychedelic rock legends WITCH Sydney Opera House debut in March 2024 and the undisputed queen of African music, Angélique Kidjo returns to the Opera House to celebrate epic 40-year career

The Harry Potter Film Concert Series will be returning to Sydney Opera House this April with fan favourite - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Concert, the third film in the Harry Potter series. On 18 - 20 April, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will perform the magical score while the entire film plays behind them in high-definition on a 40-foot screen. Tickets go on sale 16 January 2024 at 10am via

Musicals continued to be strong for Sydney in 2024. The smash-hit musical West Side Story will return to the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour stage in 2024. This electrifying, larger-than-life production of West Side Story opened in 2019 to rapturous acclaim and remains the most successful of all Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour productions, having attracted record audience numbers, selling more than 65,000 tickets.

After thrilling Sydney audiences since August, WICKED will end its season at the Sydney Lyric Theatre on 4 February. Sydneysiders have only four weeks left to experience “Broadway’s Biggest Blockbuster” before it flies off to Melbourne. WICKED has been captivating Sydney for nearly six months, with ecstatic capacity audience reactions, five-star critic reviews and thrilling praise on social media.

In 2024, Hayes Theatre Co. is inviting their audience to "see musical theatre differently". For the 2024 season, Hayes Theatre Co. (like Sydney Scoop) is celebrating 10 years! and will be presenting not only their first full-year season from inaugural Artistic Directors Richard Carroll and Victoria Falconer, but the first annual subscription season the Hayes has announced since 2019.

Australian icon, political activist and living legend Carlotta AM has led an extraordinary life: good times, bum times, she's seen them all and my dear she's still here. Following two sell-out seasons at Hayes Theatre Co., the star of Les Girls and inspiration for returns to The Cross in her 80th Year to bid a fabulous farewell in this very special Mardi Gras season. Musical direction for Carlotta is by Michael Griffith who will also be starring in his own Hayes show In Vogue: Songs By Madonna.

Yet the most exciting musical news of the year is that Carroll and Hayes are themselves producing a most exciting Australian premiere, the tiktok sensation Riding The Cyclone. Get this cast recording onto your playlist immediately! The showtunes are not only hauntingly addictive and you'll be singing along in no time, but the plot of six teenagers from a Canadian chamber choir each telling their own stories lends itself to various different musical styles in this genre-busting show.

Alliance Française the French culture and language institution, launched its film festival in Australia way back in 1989. Since then, it has grown into the largest festival dedicated to contemporary French films outside of France and one of the largest cultural paid events in Australia with more than 176,000 attendees in 2023. The 35th edition of the AF FFF will screen across multiple locations in Australia from 5 March – 21 April 2024, with the opening night film has been announced as the Australian premiere of The Three Musketeers: D'Artagnan (Les Trois Mousquetaires - D'Artagnan). Alexandre Dumas’s thrilling and beloved classic novel The Three Musketeers has spawned multiple adaptations since its publication in 1844, but none have approached the material with the scope and spectacle of this wildly entertaining, double blockbuster film production from director Martin Bourboulon, who assembles an all-star cast for the first French cinematic treatment in over 30 years.

Riverside’s National Theatre of Parramatta (NTofP) announced a bold program of premiere work for 2024. NTofP’s season includes four works, all written, directed and performed by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour theatre-makers – the first non-Indigenous theatre company to do so – celebrating Sydney’s diverse arts scene. The incredible line-up includes many culturally diverse artists and features new Australian works, alongside acclaimed international productions.