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Contemporary Performance

Extraordinarily daring and spectacularly entertaining

Contemporary Performance at the Opera House offers the latest in contemporary dance, theatre, circus, magic, comedy, musicals, cabaret and special screen presentations. Creating a heady-mix of arts & entertainment, bawdy nouveau-cabaret and pop-culture happenings. Programming the best Australian and international productions, Contemporary Performance champions brave, genre-straddling work, the mavericks that make them and the reinvention and reinterpretation of classic art forms.

In recent years the Opera House has featured preeminent international contemporary dance companies - including Akram Khan, Sylvie Guillem, DV8 and the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and most recently, Michael Keegan-Dolan’s Swan Lake/Loch na hEala. The Opera House has staged musical theatre productions including Heathers: The Musical, Sweet Charity, Miracle City and the forthcoming Sydney premiere of Green Day’s American Idiot. Summer is the season for circus, magic and cabaret. Large-scale spectaculars such as The Illusionists, Circus 1903 and The Unbelievables fill the Concert Hall, while late-night variety shows like La SoiréeBarbu, Blanc de Blanc and Limbo Unhinged play before packed houses in the Studio.

Contemporary performance presents pop and screen culture events throughout the year including the podcast trailblazer Brian Reed of S-Town; the Sydney premiere screening of Jane Campion’s critically-acclaimed Top of the Lake: China Girl; and the Australian premiere of Stranger Things 2. Culminating in pop-culture the pop- and screen-culture festival BINGEFEST – a 24-hour celebration of performance art, video games, pop culture icons and internet art. The inaugural BINGEFEST included the participatory performance artwork #ANDINTHEEND by artists Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner.

Swan Lake / Loch na hEala in the Drama Theatre, 2017. Image: Prudence Upton.

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