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Joan Sutherland Theatre

You’ll find the Joan Sutherland Theatre under the second largest sail of the Opera House. The great Australian soprano for whom the theatre is named, Dame Joan Sutherland, was dubbed ‘La Stupenda’ and the ‘voice of the century’ for her performances of beauty and power. 

The Joan Sutherland Theatre is our second largest venue with seats for more than 1500 guests. It’s our largest proscenium arch theatre with an orchestra pit accommodating up to 70 musicians. Home to year-round performances from our Resident Companies Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet, the theatre also stages musicals, talks, comedy and contemporary music. Famous faces to take the spotlight in this room include Yoko Ono, Kraftwerk, Sir Robert Helpmann, Deborah Cheetham, and of course Dame Joan Sutherland herself. 

Unusually, the theatre has notably shallow ‘wing’ space (the space out of view on the sides of the stage, where scenery and performers gather prior to moving onto the stage). Rather than the scenery moving in from the sides, it is elevated up onto stage level by to two large lifts in the floor. The net that covers the orchestra pit was installed in 1980s, after a live chicken walked off the stage during a performance and landed on a cellist!

Home of The Australian Ballet, Opera Australia and a stage for music and comedy.

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