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Sydney Festival 2022

Across 25 days in January, the festival will host 133 events — including at its 1000-seat pop-up space in Cathedral Square.
By Sarah Ward
November 18, 2021
By Sarah Ward
November 18, 2021

Sydney Festival is back with a massive 2022 lineup, so clear your diaries because summer is going to be very very busy (in a very very good way).

The annual arts, music and culture festival is bringing 133 events to spaces all around the city for 25 days. That includes performances, shows, gigs, installations and more across Sydney's stages, screens, parks, ferry rides, the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool and at a new 1000-seat pop-up site in Cathedral Square — because a major citywide arts festival should sprawl absolutely everywhere it can around town.

Festival highlights iclude Airship Orchestra shines brightest — literally. Already a hit in both Adelaide and Brisbane, the installation from ENESS is all about towering, luminous, bulbous shapes that come complete with a choir score.

If you're after jaw-dropping displays that make a statement, however, you'll find that at THAW by Legs On the Wall. It'll lift a 2.7-tonne sculpted block of ice a whopping 20 metres above Sydney Harbour — at the foot of Sydney Opera House, no less — and tasks one daring performer with standing atop it for ten hours a day, all as the ice melts.

Also among the standouts is Floors of Heaven: Submersive Study, a soundscape — or 'sonic tapestry', as Sydney Festival calls it — that's designed by UK producer Leon Vynehall. It'll echo across the Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool and yes, you'll listen to it while you're splashing around.

Musical Girl From the North Country was initially announced back in October, but is still one of Sydney Festival's major theatre billings. If you only take one trip into the history of Sydney's queer nightlife, too, make it the dance party-meets-theatre show that is Qween Lear at Hordern Pavilion.

Other Sydney Festival must-sees include the entire lineup at Cathedral Square, at the 1000-seat pop-up dubbed Speakers Corner. That's where you'll be able to enjoy gigs by Amyl and The Sniffers, Gordi, King Stingray, Jaguar Jonze, Tropical Fuck Storm, Washington and more — plus a Radiohead for Solo Piano performance by Josh Cohen.

There's a contemporary corroboree by Bangarra Dance Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company; Nat Randall and Anna Brecko's Set Piece, a theatre-film experiment that unpacks queer relationships; Darlinghurst Theatre Company's new production of iconic musical A Chorus Line; and a race-conscious Australian reimagining of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by First Nations director and actor Margaret Harvey.

Hoo boy. Now it's just a matter of deciding what to fit in. Godspeed!

Shane Rozario

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