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Day to night: The Studio

From pirate cabaret to nightclub, a quick history of the Studio, the Opera House's most flexible room

Isabella Phillips

The Studio is one of the most versatile spaces housed under the Opera House's sails. Intimate and unique, the 300-seat theatre is designed to bring exciting, challenging and inspiring experiences to audiences of all ages. It can transform from pumping underground superclub to an arena for ideas and discussion. This summer it flexes its versatility and becomes something even more.

During the day Peter Pan, Wendy and Hook leap off the page and into song and acrobatics at Captain Cook's Pirate Party. When the curtain falls and the sun sets, the stage shifts from pirates to purgatory and into the seductive world of fire-breathing, airborne acrobatics and sword-swallowing with Limbo Unhinged.

From 2011, the Studio became Sydney’s unlikely home to underground music culture during Vivid LIVE. It was a rare meeting of sonic worlds: international DJs like Kindness, Tyler the Creator's rap collective OFWGKTA and Detroit native rapper Danny Brown were pitted against inner Sydney electronic music crews like Mad Racket, Future Classic, Astral People and Goodgod. They seized the Sydney winter with a sound system bigger than most rooms in the city. 

Take the subwoofer out and fill the Studio stage with couches and a lectern and you get All About Women,  the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and the new festival of ideas and action, ANTIDOTE. The topic tilts to feminism, climate change, gender identity and mental health as some of the world’s brightest minds shared their ideas and debates with our city.

The Funatorium: Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Photo: Anna Kucera
Limbo Unhinged in the Studio, 2017. Image: Prudence Upton
Life on Mars at All About Women 2017. Photo: Yaya Stempler
DJ Harvey at Goodgod Super Club, Vivid LIVE 2017. Photo: Tim da-Rin

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