SYDNEY February 2023 Is BIG!

Rebecca Varidel
29th Jan 2023

Sydney is alive and well and ready to kick up her heels in February. Will you join her?

Ensemble Offspring renew us again this year with their beloved Avant Gardens series presented in Sydney inner-city homes and backyards. The beauty of these intimate concerts is that you can hear every breath of the performers and physically feel every beat of the music – as well as the odd birdcall and leaves rustling in the wind. Feel free to stick around after the show and chat with the musicians and composers over a glass of champagne. Hosted by Ensemble Offspring flautist Lamorna Nightingale, Avant Gardens 1 features soprano Jane Sheldon, paired the music of international giants Toru Takemitsu and George Crumb with brand new music by local artists Brenda Gifford and Courtney Cousins in a unique mash up of sounds in Ashfield (25 February) and Alexandria (26 February).

Sydney Symphony Orchestra opens the 2023 Season with Mahler’s vast, evocative First Symphony. 8 - 11 February Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House. It's a totally exciting follow up to Mahler's 2nd of 2022. Yet we are even more excited about what comes next, Simone Young conducting (one of our favourites) Scheherazade and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand with Cédric Tiberghien the following week 16 - 18 February.

Marvel Studios announced that the stars of upcoming feature film Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), Evangeline Lilly (Hope Van Dyne/Wasp) and Jonathan Majors (Kang the Conqueror) will join Director Peyton Reed at a special Red-Carpet event at Hoyts, Entertainment Quarter in Sydney on Thursday 2 February.

Kicking off Phase 5 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the fast-paced, big-screen adventure features Super Heroes Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) who return and continue their adventures as Ant-Man and The Wasp. Together, with Hope’s parents Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Scott’s daughter Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), the family finds themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures, and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought possible. Jonathan Majors stars as Kang, MCU’s most powerful villain to date.

The sci-fi adventure opens in Australian cinemas on 16 February, 2023.

Europa! Europa returns to Australia for its second year from Thursday 16 February to Tuesday 7 March 2023 with an exciting line-up of 29 films from 24 different countries, including international festival favourites and star-studded blockbusters.

MOPOKE: 24 Hr. Arts and Culture Festival will keep Sydney vibrant all through one night and day in the Macquarie Street East Precinct, The Hyde Park Barracks, The Mint, Sydney Eye Hospital, The Domain, The State Library of NSW. Mopoke Sydney will launch at 6pm on the Saturday 4 February and will run all through the night and until 6pm on the Sunday 5 February. From music to live arts, drawings to paintings, storytelling to poetry, native gardens to gastronomy, and art market to philosophy debates; the programming is not only eclectic but unprecedented and unique.

The Mopoke Festival also includes Flavours From The Fire a luxurious woodland-inspired 3-course dining experience by Chef Karl Patrick Thomas featuring BBQ redefined and luscious flambéed desserts from Four Frogs Creperie with Highland Park’s single malt whiskies and cocktail creations.

La Cage aux Folles is a unique show in that it is a traditional Broadway musical with big, brassy dance numbers and yet it was maverick and revolutionary in many other ways including giving birth to the emotional anthem I Am What I Am. And now La Cage aux Folles is back. After having to pause the production of La Cage aux Folles due to COVID-19, the show will be returning to Sydney with new dates at The Concourse Theatre in Chatswood. With Paul Capsis in the lead role as Albin, Michael Cormick, Zoë Ventoura and more for a limited season commencing 1 February 2023.

As Sydney welcomes WorldPride in February the team at Fruit Box Theatre is presenting six different productions: Big Screen, Small Queen (Everything I Didn't Learn at Film School) Monday 13 February KXT on Broadway, French Letters and Leather Cleaner Wednesday 15 February KXT on Broadway, Comfort, Spin, Travel Wednesday 1 March Meraki Arts Bar, Nails Must Be Kept Short: The Warm Up Thursday 2 March Factory Floor Factory Theatre, Staged reading of 'Back to Birdy' Thursday 16 February KXT on Broadway, Staged reading of 'Act Natural' Thursday 16 February KXT on Broadway.

In a busy World Pride Sydney month (or two) The Lies We Were Told from home of youth arts Shopfront at ARA Darling Quarter Theatre 21 - 23 February offers a point of difference. It was devised and created by fourteen teenagers but is of an incredibly high professional standard thanks to the director Nat Rose. The show explores the lies we grow up being told, from the tooth fairy all the way up to tackling gender binaries, climate change and the lies we tell ourselves.

NAS is proud to present Queer Contemporary from 3 February to 18 March 2023, the cornerstone visual arts program for WorldPride and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Join them for the exhibitions Braving Time: Contemporary Art in Queer Australia, Fulgora and Luke Thurgate: Adore you, as well as a suite of public activities, key community partnerships and site activations. Dance at the opening night Block Party, revisit the ground-breaking Ward 17 South with Qtopia, or make your own anti-Valentines card with artist EJ Son.

Queer in Warrane Hyde Park Barracks, 22 – 26 February, from 5pm celebrate Sydney WorldPride with a series of activations celebrating queer creativity. Set over five nights, Queer in Warrane features light projects by artists Dylan Mooney and Jacqui North, music curated by FBi Radio, and artist talks, plus join us for a live stream of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.

It’s a new dawn, a new day, and a new captain at the help of the ship of the state. And what a state we’re in! Inflation, rising interest rates, conflict in Ukraine, climate disaster, culture wars, COVID 19-20-21-22-23, and a looking World War Three… could it get any worse? Absolutely Neighbours has finished!

Fleurs de Villes PRIDE a floral celebration of joy and inclusivity at The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney from Friday, 17 February 2023 presented as part of Sydney WorldPride Pride Amplified. The 10-day Sydney show is presented as part of Sydney WorldPride Pride Amplified and will feature 15 fresh floral mannequins paying homage to inspirational members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community, all created by Sydney’s top floral artists.

Floral artists will present a colourful, flamboyant and inclusive feast for the senses highlighting the stories of some of Australia’s most cherished culture icons and trailblazers.

Love flowers, PRIDE and dance parties? Join Fleurs de Villes: PRIDE up late for fabulous Floral Discos! We’ll be pumping up the volume from 7pm on 17 and 24 February - book here.

The Wharf Revue is back! Inspired by the new national spirit of optimism that lasted for a week, the team are keen as mustard to once again tackle the big-picture issues.

The Wharf Revue: Looking for Albanese 15 and 16 February The Pavilion Performing Arts Centre Sutherland Shire.

The first Jameson House of Rounds for 2023 is landing in Sydney at St. Jerome's Laneway Festival feat. DJ sets from Tasman Keith, DAWS, Shantan Wantan Ichiban and Sam Alfred (MLB). Jameson will be debuting their Green Dome, an illuminated world of curated light projections and live music performances. While the sun sets over Laneway, Jameson are also celebrating their newest Jameson Orange Whiskey by transforming the Green Dome into an orange oasis in celebration of the Orange Hour. Sunday 5 February.

Two of the hardest working men in show business Ed Kuepper and Jim White return for a short series of duo shows this summer including The Great Club 8 February and The Brass Monkey Cronulla 9 February.

The 50th Anniversary production of iconic Rock ‘N’ Roll musical The Rocky Horror Show kicks off global celebrations at Theatre Royal Sydney on 14 February. Joining the cast as Magenta alongside Australian superstars Jason Donovan as Frank N Furter, and Myf Warhurst as The Narrator, will be Stellar Perry (X Factor, The Voice, Bell Shakespeare’s The Lovers). Rocking the other The Rocky Horror Show leads are Ellis Dolan as Eddie/Dr Scott, Darcey Eagle as Columbia, Ethan Jones as Brad, Deirdre Khoo as Janet, Loredo Malcolm as Rocky and Henry Rollo as Riff Raff.

The ultimate romantic date comes your way this Valentine’s Day when Come You Spirits theatre company presents Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet – at dusk in the Rose Gardens of the Royal Botanic Gardens! The company style is fully immersive, with the action being performed around and amongst the audience. Bubbles, drinks and cheese boxes will be available onsite for a special dose of romance in this iconic Sydney landmark of love. Show starts at 5.30pm to enjoy the magic of dusk.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes tells the raucous and subversive story of Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw – two smart young single women with a burning desire for experiences that aren’t supposed to be available to them within the laws and conventions of the 1920s. Armed with only their vitality, ambition, quick wits, and above all their unshakeable friendship – these thoroughly modern women play the men at their own game, and live life to the full. Champagne? Check. Diamonds? Check. Sex? Check, check, check. And as for the consequences? They’ll worry about those when the ship docks. From 16 February Hayes Theatre.

Blessed Union the lesbian divorce comedy you didn't know you needed is on this month from 11 February at Belvoir St Theatre, Surry Hills. A fine new play from the wicked mind of Maeve Marsden.

Ruth and Judith have been together for a long time. Long enough to have seen Australia change, for better and for worse. They have two bright and enquiring kids and a manageable mortgage in the Inner West. With love and hard work, they made the political personal and built a family of which they’re fiercely proud. They re-wrote the rules, and their life together is a progressive success story. Why should breaking up be any different? But even the loftiest ideals can come undone when pesky human emotion gets involved.

FELLR presents free evening A Land of Fizz an initiative that empowers creatives through the exploration of Australia’s natural landscapes at Pleasures Playhouse Wednesday, 8 February. The public event will showcase exhibitions from highly regarded artists Elliott Routledge (Funskull) and Matt Cherubino, and a short film screening by Sam Brumby inspired by the unfamiliar environment of the Worimi Conservation Lands. There will also be a string of DJs performing from 7pm-12am, to bring high-energy sets. FELLR will also be shouting a drink on arrival and slinging $6 tins all night. RSVP free on Humantix

House of Absolut in partnership with Merivale, is throwing open the doors to the Ballroom-dedicated House of Homes at The Alex in Alexandria, which will launch with a Housewarming Party. Alongside this will be the Rainbow Routes queer history bus tour, the Rainbow Routes Express shuttle and more during Sydney WorldPride 2023.

Absolut and Merivale have enlisted Xander Khoury - Father of the House of Silky - to curate and transform the upstairs of the beloved community pub into an immersive and educational "museum" and hub in homage to Ballroom in Australia. In hazy bedrooms bathed in ethereal glow, to bathroom tiles flecked by the iridescence of glittering disco balls, immerse yourself in work from community members across Australia, including Joshua Taliani - Father of Meanjin’s House of Alexander - visual artist Blu Jay and more. House of Homes will be open to the public, with free entry from 22 Febuary.

Griffin Theatre Company’s world premiere Sex Magick in association with WorldPride, a wildly funny (and just plain wild) exploration of queerness, masculinity and South Asian-Australian identity from the brilliant brain of playwright Nicholas Brown is playing at the SBW Stables Theatre from 17 February.

When Ard Panicker begins to shake and shudder with mysterious full-body seizures and waking visions of an all-powerful deity, he travels to the village in South India where his father was born, desperate to find a cure. Instead, he finds an enlightened tantric guru who cracks open his sense of identity, sexuality and his grip on reality.

Artistic Director Declan Greene teams up with Brown to co-direct a tantalising mix of live video and ancient Indian Kathakali dance theatre in an experience that will be like nothing else on Sydney Stages in 2023. Guaranteed.

Musica Viva Australia’s first tour of 2023 features classical guitarist Karin Schaupp and the Flinders Quartet. The centrepiece of their carefully curated program is the world premiere of a work by Carl Vine, MVA’s previous Artistic Director of two decades and one of Australia’s most venerated composers. Commissioned by a longstanding subscriber in memory of her late daughter, Endless is a lyrical, intimate piece that communicates joy, community, and longing.Sydney Saturday 18 and Monday 20 February (2pm, 7pm); Newcastle Wednesday 22 February, 7.30pm.

The Opera and Song Collective presents its first concert of 2023, Opera Queens celebrating the lives of legendary Queens portrayed in Opera. Sunday 12 February 4 pm at the Mosman Art Gallery. Whether beloved or betrayed, feted or feared, triumphant or tragic, the magic and mystery of the great Queens, the Lady Monarchs, remains. Immortalised in song: Anne Boleyn - Queen of England - Donizetti / Anon; Clytemnestre - Queen of Mycenae - Gluck / Massenet; Cleopatra - Queen of Egypt - Handel / Massenet; Dido - Queen of Carthage - Purcell / Berlioz; Lady Macbeth - Queen of Scotland -Verdi / Pasitieri; Mary Stuart - Queen of Scotland, Queen Consort of France - Donizetti / Wagner; The Queen of Sheba - Handel / Gounod; Elizabeth the First of England - Rossini; Angelica - Queen of Cathay - Handel; Titanyia - Queen of Fairies - Purcell / Britten.

The Other Side (pictured) is an explosive antidote to stagnant pasts, igniting a fuse of experimental dance, music and light 23 - 25 February Campbelltown Arts Centre. In a mind meld of genre-blending action, audiences are treated to the curious effect of time travel through layered repetitions of movement, light and sound. Part music gig, part state-driven dance, this gritty and raw new work seeks to expand artistic genres by pushing physical boundaries.  Combing the talents of dancer and choreographer, Brianna Kell and experimental music duo, Party Dozen (Kirsty Tickle and Jonathan Boulet) with Jodie Whalen’s immersive light installation.