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Six young women of various cultural backgrounds are singing with their bodies posed, they wear multi-coloured bejewelled costumes on a stage bathed with purple light and spotlights directed to the audience
SIX The Musical (2021/2022). Image credit: James D. Morgan Getty Images

Sydney Opera House Presents
Contemporary Performance

Unmissable stories for the stage

Contemporary Performance presents ambitious world-class music theatre, cabaret, circus, magic, contemporary dance, theatre, comedy, immersive theatre and site-specific work from Australia and the world.

Curated by Ebony Bott, the vibrant program elevates the stories and the storytellers that are relevant right now. It champions the reinvention of art forms, contemporary retelling of the classics and the people and productions at the heart of pop-culture.


Recent Program Highlights

Dance, Theatre & Music Theatre

Recent highlights include The Little Prince a reimagining of the French classic by Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s combining movement, music, aerials and an ethereal narration. 

Music theatre presentations include seminal 90s rock musical RENT; global pop hit SIX direct from the West End; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights; Heathers: The Musical; Green Day’s American Idiot; cult classic American Psycho; crowd-pleaser Thrones! The Musical Parody; and cult ‘60s classic HAIR.

The Opera House has 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. 

Two people pictured on stage swing from long aerial ropes, one wears a red dress and the other yellow overalls, pictured against a blue solar system with a large yellowish sun in the centre
The Little Prince in the Joan Sutherland Theatre. Image credit Prudence Upton
A middle-aged white man wearing a tuxedo with curly dark hair is suspended mid-air, his right arm is outstretched towards a very tall microphone. He is pictured on stage in a loungeroom with magic paraphernalia. Behind him James Galea’s Best Trick Ever is written in white on a black wall, with blue spotlights
Raymond Crowe on stage in James Galea’s BEST TRICK EVER. Image credit Prudence Upton

 

 

Cabaret & Magic

From the likes of Peepshow from acclaimed Australian company CIRCA to Limbo Unhinged and Blanc de Blanc Encore!, to Michael Feinstein, to James Galea’s BEST TRICK EVER, and The Choir of Man, entertaining shows thrill audiences with bold burlesque, captivating magic and exciting acrobatics. The program also includes large-scale spectaculars such as The Illusionists, Circus 1903, The Unbelievables and Cirque Stratosphere.

Comedy

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.

 

 

Hannah Gadsby, a white woman with short light brown hair is pictured close up with a microphone, she is looking out to the audience.
Hannah Gadsby performing 'Nanette' in the Concert Hall, 2017.

Stream, Read, Listen

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Stage Direction: The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s poignant tale of a young prince who visits different planets is both a reminder of our common humanity – and a salve for our late-capitalist world. Neha Kale looks at how the classic story lives on in the 21st century.

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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.

Transforming the Tudors: An interview with SIX co-creator Lucy Moss

Ahead of the Australian premiere of SIX, we spoke to co-creator Lucy Moss about the origins and future of the cult show.

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It’s hip to be scared: The terrifying timeliness of ‘American Psycho’

How does American Psycho, one of the most controversial books of the 20th century, hold up in an an era defined by Trump and #MeToo? And what can we expect from the upcoming musical adaptatio?

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Sxip Shirey – The Gauntlet

Performed as part of Antidote in 2018, The Gauntlet is a genre-bending performance work, which combines choirs and vocal ensembles, contemporary choreography and site-specific storytelling. In this newly commissioned documentary film, composer Sxip Shirey and choreographer Coco Karol discuss what it takes to create an immersive piece of this nature.

Natalia Osipova | Artist Profile

Few dancers boast a career as stellar as Natalia Osipova. In this interview, Osipova unpacks the moments that made her — from a mentorship with Alexei Ratmansky, to becoming principal artist at The Royal Ballet. Her new work, Pure Dance, balances the classical and contemporary disciplines, reflecting her unparalleled technique and artistic versatility.

Ebony Bott, a white woman with curly light brown hair, wears a black jacket and jeans in front of one of the concrete foundations in the Joan Sutherland Theatre foyer.
Head of Contemporary Performance, Ebony Bott. Image: Daniel Boud

Ebony Bott, Head of Contemporary Performance

Ebony Bott has 16 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.