Sydney Festival Starts Tomorrow

Rebecca Varidel
4th Jan 2023

“We’re beyond thrilled to present an exhilarating summer of art right across greater Sydney, kicking off with blockbuster experience Frida Kahlo: The Life of an Icon and hugely popular Afrique en Cirque at Riverside Theatres Parramatta. With over 100 events and 1000 Australian and international artists, this year’s festival, which features 18 world premieres and 14 Australian exclusives, will attract visitors and Sydneysiders to a huge array of immersive theatre, opera, cabaret, visual art, dance and family entertainment alongside a range of free and low-cost events, including our dedicated music club – The Weary Traveller. We invite you to rediscover this city differently” exclaimed Sydney Festival Artistic Director Olivia Ansell on the eve of the 2023 festival opening.

Sydney Festival’s high-summer program of spectacular art and culture lands in the city from tomorrow, 5 January, with an expansive line-up of touring artists, world premiere works, new commissions, Australian exclusives, local talent and an extensive free events program.

Exclusive to Sydney – and commencing a day ahead of the festival’s official opening – Frida Kahlo: The Life of an Icon explores the life and work of one of history's most influential artists: Frida Kahlo. Taking over Barangaroo’s The Cutaway with nine rooms of multi-sensory experiences, the exhibition features historical photographs and original films, captivating holography, 360º projections and a virtual reality system that will literally transport attendees inside Kahlo’s most famous works. Traditional Mexican musicians and dancers will also perform live within the space, providing further sights and sounds from Frida’s world. Co-created by the Frida Kahlo Corporation and the renowned Spanish digital arts company Layers of Reality, this Australian premiere is set to be a summertime showstopper.

And, in a coup for Sydney-siders and visitors alike, there are now even more opportunities to experience this Sydney-only showcase with the announcement today of the extension of Frida Kahlo: The Life of an Icon through to 7 March.

“This extraordinary exploration of one of the greatest cultural icons of the 20th century is the perfect way to open Sydney Festival,” Minister for Tourism and the Arts Ben Franklin said.

“Frida Kahlo: The Life of an Icon provides audiences with a uniquely immersive experience through interactive spaces, incorporating photographs, films, digital environments, collector’s items, music and live performance."

Running through to 29 January, Sydney Festival’s program of art, theatre, live music, dance and performance will engulf the city at large.

The festival’s Tix for Next to Nix initiative returns once again in 2023, with limited same day tickets available for select shows for just $26.00 (plus booking fee). Every morning during the festival, between 9am and 10am, an exclusive number of tickets for limited performances later that same day will be made available for next to nix. Plus this year, punters won’t need to queue, with the program now operating digitally via the Sydney Festival website.

And the Sydney Festival at Home digital programming will bring the festival to audiences everywhere, with special festival content accessible online and from home, including a livestream of aerial dance work The Air Between Us, in conversations with the artists behind Tracker and Sun & Sea and a special live recording of Holding Achilles available on demand for a limited time, following the season at Carriageworks.

Highlights include the award-winning opera performance, Sun & Sea from Lithuanian artists Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė; the world premiere of the immensely powerful Tracker from Wiradjuri director-choreographer Daniel Riley and Australian Dance Theatre; the ferocious talents of Spain’s formidable queen of flamenco, Sara Baras in Alma at the Sydney Opera House; ROOM, the latest surreal work from Swiss-born auteur James Thiérrée some of Australia’s most beloved female performers bring their vocal prowess to the festival’s Women in Cabaret series at the Wharf, including Ursula Yovich, Christie Whelan Browne, Katie Noonan and Prinnie Stevens.

and read Our Sydney Scoop Top Five Picks for Sydney Festival 2023