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Sydney Festival 2017

Expect giant ball pits, art in unexpected places and a tonne of local and international artists.
By Tom Clift
October 26, 2016
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Sydney Festival 2017

Expect giant ball pits, art in unexpected places and a tonne of local and international artists.
By Tom Clift
October 26, 2016
  shares
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Sydney Festival has revealed its massive 2017 program, with a renewed focus on dance and theatre along with bold new works from Australian artists. Running from January 7-29, the lineup is comprised of 150 events, almost half of which are free. From sensory installations to shows in Parramatta Lebanese restaurants and performances by iconic musicians, your dose of summertime culture is basically sorted.

Most visually, the city will also play host to a number of major installations, including The Beach by Snarkitecture at Barangaroo — a ball pit made up of 1.1 million recyclable polyethylene balls that you can jump into — and House of Mirrors in Hyde Park, which comes from Hobart's Dark MOFO (and most recently Brisbane), and and is more or less what it sounds like.

Treading the boards at this year's festival are some of the country's most celebrated stage companies, including Brisbane's La Boite Theatre Company — who'll present the four-time Helpmann nominated play Prize Fighter — and Australia's longest running Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander theatre company, who've teamed with writer-performer Katie Beckett on her play Which Way Home.

They'll be joined by an impressive international contingent, including the London-based Complicite company, whose play The Encounter arrives direct from Broadway; Pushkin Theatre Moscow, whose co-production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure with the UK's Cheek by Jowl also stands out as another surefire festival highlight.

Immersing you further in this year's festivities are a number of works that play upon the senses. Cat Jones' Scent of Sydney is a free immersive exhibition based on — you guessed it — smell, while Imagined Touch, by deafblind artists Heather Lawson and Michelle Stevens, lets audiences experience the world without vision or sound.

Musical highlights include live performances from PJ Harvey and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, as well as an Opera House performance of 1967 Music in the Key of Yes, a concert of remembrance on the 50 year anniversary of the Indigenous rights referendum. You'll also be able to catch free tunes every night at the Meriton Festival Village in Hyde Park.

Sydney Festival also revealed its complete program for Western Sydney, which includes an interactive 'Circus City' and the first posthumous exhibition of works by Myuran Sukumaran.

Image: The Beach, Snarkitecture. Shot by Noah Kalina. 

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