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Contemporary Performance presented by Sydney Opera House

Unmissable stories for the stage

Contemporary Performance at the Sydney Opera House offers audiences entertainment in all its forms. From jaw-dropping circus and spectacular magic to side-splitting comedy, stories that capture the imagination told through dance or sung by powerful voices, to immersive experiences and cabaret that will get the heart-rate racing – the program guarantees a great night out for any occasion. 

Curated by Ebony Bott, the vibrant program presents boundary-pushing performances, contemporary retellings of the classics and the productions and icons at the heart of popular culture – all brought to life by the crème-de-la-crème of artists, performers and directors from Australia and around the world.  

Theatre & Music Theatre

Recent highlights include the gripping production of Peter Shaffer’s Academy Award®-winning masterpiece Amadeus starring Michael Sheen, the smash-hit meta theatrical comedy from rising star Liz Kingsman One Woman Show and The Little Prince, and a breathtaking reimagining of the French classic by Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s combining movement, music, aerials and an ethereal narration. 

Music theatre presentations include the electrifying musical phenomenon SIX direct from the West End; the smash-hit sensation Fangirls; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights; and Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award®-winning musical thriller Sweeney Todd.

Cabaret & Magic

From legendary magic duo Penn and Teller redefining popular magic with their unusual mix of mind-blowing magic tricks, comedy and blunders to world-renowned mentalist Scott Silven’s Wonders challenging audiences to reconsider the powers of the mind, these entertaining shows thrill audiences with bold burlesque, captivating magic and exciting acrobatics. 

The program also includes spectacular cabaret performances such as immersive theatrical experience L’Hotel which dazzled audiences with its provocative combination of cabaret, burlesque and circus, and Velvet Rewired, a glittering extravaganza of circus, cabaret and a love-letter to disco.


The latest dance works presented include playful and intimate tribute to hip hop’s origins, Deejay x Dancer, as well as the upcoming season of dance theatre production Message In A Bottle, from award-winning choreographer Kate Prince and set to the iconic music of Sting. 

The Opera House has also presented leading international productions from pre-eminent dance companies and choreographers including Akram Khan, Michael Keegan-Dolan, Michael Clark Company, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Ballet Preljocaj, Sharon Eyal’s L-E-V Dance Company, Natalia Osipova and Hofesh Shechter OBE. 


Contemporary Performance celebrates Australia’s world-class comedians, presenting Hannah Gadsby’s comedy phenomena Nanette and Douglas in the Concert Hall, and Body of Work in the Joan Sutherland Theatre, as well as comedy heroes Celia Pacquola, Sam Simmons, Wil Anderson, Tom Gleeson, Kitty Flanagan, Lano & Woodley, and Judith Lucy.

A woman with short hair and glasses standing in front of a microphone, looking into the distance.

Stream, read & listen

Read Dance

RENT’s powerful message for now: love and hope, 25 years on

RENT is a distinctively 90s musical that has retained its relevance a quarter century later. Lenny Ann Low discusses the latest incarnation of the cult musical with its just-announced cast and crew.

SIX cast image.
Read Musical Theatre & Cabaret

Rosie Waterland's Six Things to Love About SIX

Rosie Waterland counts down the six reasons you must see this “Beyoncé concert disguised as a musical”.

Stream, read & listen to more at the Opera House

Ebony BottHead of Contemporary Performance

Ebony Bott has 18 years’ experience as a festival director, programmer, and creative producer in Australia and New Zealand, working across a variety of senior curatorial, marketing, and audience development positions. She was most recently Creative Director of Cabaret and Commercial at Adelaide Festival Centre (Jan 2018-Oct 2020) where she curated and delivered the award-winning Adelaide Cabaret Festival and the broader musical theatre and commercial program. 

Prior to this, she was the Creative Producer of Families and Young People at Arts Centre Melbourne. She has worked in many leading Australian theatre companies in a range of marketing, producing, and directorial roles including Arena Theatre Company, Back to Back Theatre, Circus Oz as well in festival focused roles at the Australian Festival for Young People (Come Out) and New Zealand’s National Theatre for Children and Children’s National Arts Festival in Wellington. She has also worked as a freelance producer for Yana Alana & Tha Paranas; Dee & Cornelius; and contemporary dance artist Alison Currie.

At the Opera House, Ebony has recently established the Contemporary Performance Industry Development Initiative, implemented to provide pathways in the commercial performing arts sector. Recipients will be offered the opportunity to work alongside established creatives to develop their skills and increase their profile within the industry.

A woman with blonde curly hairs in a black dress.
Head of Contemporary Performance, Ebony Bott.