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Performance of SIX The Music, with performers wearing colourful outfits bathed in purple light
SIX Original Australian Cast 2020, in the Studio. Image: James D Morgan for 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

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; Sondheim’s classic Assassins; 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. 

Performance of RENT
RENT, January 2021. Image Credit: Prudence Upton
The Choir of Man, November 2019, in the Studio
The Choir of Man, November 2019, in the Studio. Image: 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 and The Choir of Man, summer entertainment thrills audiences with bold burlesque, captivating cabaret and exciting acrobatics. The program also includes large-scale spectaculars such as The Illusionists, Circus 1903, The Unbelievables and Cirque Stratosphere.

Cabaret was also a fixture in the Opera House’s digital program, From Our House to Yours, with cabaret stars Paul Capsis, Emma Pask, The Tap Pack and Tim Draxl all performing on the Joan Sutherland Theatre stage and broadcast into the homes of audiences around the world while the Opera House’s doors were temporarily closed to the public due to COVID-19.


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



Comedian Hannah Gadsby performing her show 'Nanette' in the Concert Hall, 2017
Hannah Gadsby performing 'Nanette' in the Concert Hall, 2017.

Recent events...

Circus & Magic

The Little Prince

26 May 2021 - 06 Jun 2021

One of the world’s most loved stories transformed into an extraordinary live event. The Little Prince combines dance, aerial acrobatics, and new technologies to create a dreamlike and poetic universe that is almost impossible to describe. A performance not to be missed.
Musical Theatre

American Psycho: The Musical

03 Jun 2021 - 27 Jun 2021

Power. Privilege. Psychopathy. Meet Patrick Bateman, the man with it all; the Wall Street job, the raging ego and, of course, the secret serial murders. Step into his office as this pitch black comedy enters the deranged world of an original psycho killer.

SIX the Musical

04 Jan 2020 - 05 Mar 2020

Introducing the six wives of Henry VIII in the electrifying pop musical that’s taken the West End by storm! Set to raise the roof of the Sydney Opera House this summer, these queens are taking to the mic to tell their story in this rebellious celebration of historical heroines. Be the first to experience this Australian premiere from January. Get tickets for SIX now.
Contemporary Dance

Hofesh Shechter’s Grand Finale

29 Jan 2020 - 02 Feb 2020

We are standing on the edge of the apocalypse. Face the oncoming storm with one of the world’s best choreographers, as this dystopian contemporary dance transforms the stage into a darkly rapturous party for the end of days.
Circus & Magic

Circa’s Peepshow

02 Feb 2021 - 14 Feb 2021

Plunge into a world of fun and temptation as Australia’s most ground-breaking circus company expose your deepest desires. Get tickets for Circa’s Peepshow now.

À Ố Làng Phố

12 Jun 2019 - 15 Jun 2019

À Ố Làng Phố is mesmerising Vietnamese circus, using a unique mix of bamboo cirque, acrobatics, eclectic music, contemporary dance, and theatrical visual art.

Stream, Read, Listen


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.


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?


My love letter to Hofesh Shechter

In the latest Love Letter, Sydney Dance Company's Davide Di Giovanni writes of his admiration for Israeli choreographer, dancer and composer Hofesh Shechter, whose latest work Grand Finale plays the Sydney Opera House this year.


The making of a comedy persona

Myra DuBois brings laughter back from the grave


The Tap Pack (Live)

Dust off your dancing shoes, the modern kings of swing are returning for a special live performance in From our House to Yours.

Ebony Bott, Head of Contemporary Performance.
Head of Contemporary Performance, Ebony Bott. Image: Daniel Boud 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.