Sydney Festival 2024 Annual Review

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Il Tabarro, photo by Jacquie Manning 2
CONTENTS Director’s Message 6 Snapshot 2024 12 Artistic Vision 14 Access and Inclusion 40 Marketing 44 Publicity 48 Government Partners 53 Corporate Sponsors 54 Philanthropy 56 Community 60 Supporters 62 Special Thanks 64 5


This January more than 1,250 artists gathered across Sydney to share saltwater stories, freshwater stories and tales of Sydney Harbour.

Immersive experiences like Puccini’s Il Tabarro aboard the Carpentaria lightship and choral epic Night Songs at Coney Island, through to eco-friendly contemporary music ship Arka Kinari (Indonesia) and Arc Circus Co.’s performance Living Sculptures: How the Birds got their Colours, hugged our shorelines, beaches and parks.

With 148 events on offer, including 28 world premieres and 58 free events, this year’s blockbuster program proved there is nowhere like Sydney to experience an exhilarating summer of art.

At a fundamental level, art has the power to remind us of what it means to be human – to bring people together for an exchange of perspectives. To learn, laugh, cry and be moved.

Be it thought-provoking political murder mystery with Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World by The Javaad Alipoor Company and the National Theatre of Parramatta, takedowns of the macho artist in Masterclass New York’s Adrienne Truscott and Dublin’s Brokentalkers, or palindromic theatre with Are we not drawn onward to new erA by masterful Belgian theatremakers Ontroerend Goed, our stages were bursting with big ideas and creativity.

The Festival welcomed acclaimed dance innovators from around the world, including Brazil’s renowned Lia Rodrigues Companhia De Danças with Encantado, and a riveting Swedish double bill from GöteborgsOperans Danskompani.

photo by Jacquie Manning

We hope you dove in and experienced all that Sydney had to offer!

This year’s Blak Out program curated by Jacob Nash brought community together with the world premiere of a retelling of the famed Butcher brothers and Warumpi Band story, Big Name, No Blankets, an ILBIJERRI Theatre Company show written by Andrea James with Sammy Butcher, and co-directed and co-written by Anyupa Butcher.

Mutiara by Marrugeku revealed Broome’s confronting history around pearl diving, while Vigil: The Future, co-directed by Jacob Nash and Stephen Page, featured the voices of young people from the Marliya Choir in Far North Queensland, whose power, spirit and strength inspired us to think of Australia’s tomorrow.

In Parramatta, we supported new Australian writing with the NSW premiere of BANANALAND written by Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall (the team behind Muriel’s Wedding the Musical), as well as major event Sydney Symphony Under the Stars: Pictures in the Sky featuring sitar star Anoushka Shankar and Indigenous composer William Barton. Plus, four-course immersive experience A’amar by Palestinian artist Aseel Tayah and fellow musicians Meena Shamaly and Camille El Feghali, who shared poetry, song and storytelling from their homelands.

Sydney Festival’s newest precinct The Thirsty Mile showcased one of the world’s most exciting cultural districts, enabling a full-swing takeover of nine beautifully renovated theatre, dance and music spaces across Pier 2/3 and Wharf 4/5 of the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct.

Thrilling world-class jazz; a celebration and deconstruction of JS Bach featuring Australia’s finest classical music talent; magnetic dance from around the world; electronic music parties; voguing nights; and engaging circus experiences for children and family, were just some of the highlights presented at our dedicated Festival hub.

The lively Banyan Nights took over the Seymour Centre courtyard, bringing the look and feel of a Southeast Asian market, featuring White Gold from Cambodia’s beloved Phare Circus, and exquisite puppetry from Indonesia’s Papermoon Puppet Theatre with A Bucket of Beetles

From our dedicated volunteers who give their time and energy, to the many expert staff whose skills help realise one of the most complex cultural undertakings in the country, through to the ingenuity of the Festival’s participating artists, and of course you our audience – thank you!

I’d like to also acknowledge Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, patron of Sydney Festival, the NSW Government through Create NSW and Destination NSW, City of Sydney and City of Parramatta, as well as our principal philanthropic supporter Peter Freedman AM, and all of our private supporters, corporate sponsors and venue partners.

We look forward to welcoming you back in 2025 on what always was and always will be Aboriginal land.

Blankets, photo by Jacquie Manning


“Artistic Director Olivia Ansell’s third year at the helm exhibits all her trademark sense of fun and an appreciation of some of the quirkier corners of our city, plus a canny range of performances designed to have the broadest appeal to different audiences.”



24 Days

148 Events 424 Performances

Total Festival attendance


261,414 Venues

Ticketed attendance


12 Digital events

Free events & major exhibitions attendance


The Thirsty Mile attendance


Events at The Thirsty Mile




1,250 Artists employed Turnover


1,039 Australian

211 International

Australian exclusives


Exhibition days


27 Sydney Festival commissioned works

21 Australian premieres

16 Countries involved


58 Free events Talks & workshops


New Australian works


World premieres and premiere seasons

Annual state government investment Corporate sponsorships & philanthropy Local government & other investment Operating income Expenditure Marketing & communications Operating costs Programming costs 54% 14% 32% 35% 26% 15% 24% 13


Anoushka Shankar, photo by Jacquie Manning
"A unanimous standing ovation ended a show that I immediately wanted to watch again."
Eloise Fuss, ABC Anoushka Shankar


This year, Sydney Festival found a new home in one of the most spectacular harbourside locations in the world. The Thirsty Mile – a full-swing takeover of the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct – signified the return of the Festival hub with phenomenal theatres, an exhibition space, bars and a thumping club.

Sydney Festival brought arts lovers together in one glorious location and unlocked the space for a broader audience. Conceived as a playful throwback to Sydney’s working wharf history, The Thirsty Mile beckoned those thirsty for culture, thirsty for change and thirsty for world-class art.

It was a thrill to present 50+ events across nine venues including at ACO, The Neilson; ATYP, The Rebel Theatre; The Studio Theatre at Bangarra; Bell Shakespeare, The Neilson Nutshell; Moonshine Bar; Poster House; Roslyn Packer Theatre; Sydney Dance

Company, Neilson Studio; Sydney Theatre Company, Wharf 1 Theatre and Wharf 4/5.

The Thirsty Mile welcomed a diverse month-long celebration of arts, from decadent cabaret, innovative dance and trailblazing theatre, to three eclectic weeks of music and sweaty Late Nights at the Thirsty Mile. The Moonshine Bar was the social centrepiece of it all – the spot for food, drinks on waterfront deckchairs, and pre- and post-show revelry. It also housed Michael Shaw’s sinuous sculpture Hi-Vis, a monumental installation curling around the wharf’s pillars that brought colour and adventure into the cavernous space.

The Thirsty Mile, photo by Jacquie Manning
The Thirsty Mile, photo by Wendell Teodoro
The Thirsty Mile, photo by Wendell Teodoro
Skid, photo by
Lennart Sjöberg


Every January, Sydney Festival brings the best of international arts to our city. With Festival Director Olivia Ansell at the helm for her third year, the Festival welcomed over 30 incredible international works direct from Asia, South America, North America and Europe.

Encantado opened the Festival with a vibrant flurry of 140 colourful blankets and 11 jubilant dancers from Brazil’s esteemed Lia Rodrigues Companhia De Danças. From Sweden, GöteborgsOperans Danskompani’s miraculous dance double bill of Skid/SAABA pushed creative and technical possibilities on a vertiginous stage and with dancers on demi-pointe.

International theatre provoked ideas and wonder, from the information deep-dive Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (UK), to Belgium’s mind-bending palindromic drama Are we not drawn onward to new erA, to the whip-smart comedy Masterclass from Ireland.

Music legends brought packed houses to their feet with performances from sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar (UK), funkadelic force Judith Hill (USA), jazz piano stars Harold López-Nussa (Cuba), Amaro Freitas (Brazil) and more.

photo by Sammi Landweer
"A joyous celebration of movement and improvised play, the piece had 11 exuberant dancers twirl, sculpt, and wrap themselves in an array of 140 colourful, patterned blankets."
Matthew Westwood, The Australian Encantado


Led by Creative Artist in Residence Jacob Nash for a third year, the Blak Out program platformed remarkable stories from some of Australia’s most talented First Nations artists. Setting the Blak agenda, these works shared past and present truths – and challenged, inspired and moved audiences.

The electrifying rock’n’roll theatre show Big Name, No Blankets raised the roof of the Roslyn Packer Theatre in its celebration of the iconic Warumpi Band. At Parramatta Parklands, the magic of world-renowned composer William Barton soared in Sydney Symphony Under the Stars: Pictures in the Sky

The annual tradition of Vigil: The Future returned on 25 January, illuminating Barangaroo Reserve with a stunning stage and lighting installation that set the scene for the Marliya Choir of young Indigenous women to share their dreams for the future.

World premiere dance works delivered pertinent messages and powerful storytelling – from GURR ERA OP, a call to action by four Torres Strait Islander women in the face of climate devastation, to Marrugeku’s choreographic truth-telling in Mutiara, revealing the lost histories of Broome’s pearl divers. Taking flight across beaches, parks and city squares, Living Sculptures: How the Birds got their Colours was a mesmerising collaboration between Arc Circus Co., Luther Cora and the Yugambeh Aboriginal Dancers, with weaving workshops on-site.

At the Seymour Centre, Faboriginal boy from the bush Dale Woodbridge-Brown served up the interactive circus Camp Culture, while at Belvoir St Theatre, Tiddas put sisterhood and solidarity in the spotlight, and Healing Scars by Warren Mason was an intricate tapestry of First Nations expression.

Vigil: The Future, photo by Wendell Teodoro
Living Sculptures: How the Birds got their Colours, photo by Wendell Teodoro
GURR ERA OPP, photo by Prudence Upton


A key tenet of Sydney Festival’s artistic vision is the commissioning and presentation of new Australian works. These works share the stories, song lines and ceremony of First Nations artists and reflect the rich diversity of cultures across Greater Sydney, Australia and the Pacific. They add to the eclectic identity of our city and write new stories of our country.

The Festival was proud to present the world premieres of Ghenoa Gela’s landmark dance and spoken word work GURR ERA OP produced by Force Majeure and ILBIJERRI Theatre Company; Marrugeku’s Mutiara – celebrating the bonds forged between Malay workers and the First Peoples of the Kimberley; and Emma Harrison’s evocative solo dance work Wolverine, as part of a dynamic double bill.

The world premieres continued with Big Name, No Blankets from ILBIJERRI Theatre

Company, bringing the music of the Warumpi Band from the NT to global stages; A’amar, an exchange of music, stories and food from Palestinian creatives; musical comedy BANANALAND, from the songwriting team behind Muriel’s Wedding The Musical; Night Songs at Coney Island, an immersive celebration of innocence at Luna Park; and Vigil: The Future featuring the Marliya Choir.

Cabaret world premieres sizzled, including the late-night variety feast Smashed: The Nightcap, the showstopper Send for Nellie, and breakthrough jazz talent Alma Zygier’s Premarital Sextet. Across Greater Sydney, Hive Festival brought art and glee to all ages, and Casula welcomed the world premiere of feature film Mood Ring – a love-letter to friendship and Fiji.

Night Songs at Coney Island, photo by Jacquie Manning
Things Hidden
Since the Foundation of the World, photo by Wendell Teodoro
Sculptured Riddims: Afro Fusion, photo by Jacquie Manning


The 2024 program was a lively celebration of Australia’s diverse cultural community, welcoming artists with a broad range of experiences from our own backyard and overseas.

Under a colourful canopy of lanterns and baskets, Banyan Nights brought the look and feel of a Southeast Asian market to the Seymour Centre courtyard, accompanying Cambodian circus gem White Gold, and Indonesia’s utterly charming puppetry A Bucket of Beetles. Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World plunged into the mystery of a murdered Iranian popstar, while A’amar invited audiences to share a meal and heartrending stories with Palestinian artist Aseel Tayah.

The Multicultural Comedy Gala delivered belly laughs, and Sculptured Riddims brought together explosive energy and diverse dance communities – from street to club to Afro.

New Beginnings Festival highlighted the creative works of artists from First Nations, refugee and migrant backgrounds, and Saplings shared stories from young people in conflict with the youth justice system.

At The Thirsty Mile, SPIN was an inclusive dance event led by three Deaf hosts and a DJ; and acclaimed singer-songwriter and accessibility advocate Eliza Hull took the stage with street performing artist roya the destroya.

LGBTQIA+ artists perspectives were front and centre, from the story of Black queer cabaret icon Nellie Small in Send for Nellie, and the powerhouse monologue Overflow exploring trans experiences, to the interrogation of love, excess and Islam in The Chosen Haram, and the hilarious challenge to homonormativity of Ode to Joy (How Gordon got to go to the nasty pig party)

A'amar, photo by Jacquie Manning
White Gold,
by Wendell Teodoro
Arka Kinari, photo by Wendell Teodoro


The Festival is committed to reimagining the city, both inviting Sydneysiders to rediscover familiar haunts and be delighted by new locations. In 2024, the Festival transported audiences beyond theatres and onto boats, beaches, an amusement park, and even the theatre stage.

Honouring our waterways, many stories were set beyond dry land – from the nautical noir Il Tabarro (aboard the historic Carpentaria lightship) and the floating music stage of Arka Kinari, to kayak tours around the majestic Te Wheke-a-Muturangi: The Adversary. Audiences also boarded a ferry with an orchestra set for Night Songs at Coney Island, experiencing an immersive choral experience at Luna Park.

The entire Walsh Bay Arts Precinct was reimagined as The Thirsty Mile, and the Commercial 1 wharf shape-shifted into a club with partygoers dancing amid the sinuous splendour of Hi-Vis. Early risers hit the

pier for Sunrise Yoga and were invited into transformed spaces for Sue Healy’s cinematic tribute On View: Icons, and political poster exhibition Talking Posters: Garage Graphix 1981–1998.

The Brett Whiteley Studio morphed into an intimate gig space for music greats like Tim Freedman, Rizo and Anoushka Shankar. Living Sculptures: How the Birds got their Colours popped up across popular beaches, city parks and Parramatta Square, and audiences enjoyed the awe-inspiring fusion of opera and circus in Orpheus & Eurydice

2024 was a hands-on Festival like no other. In Soliloquy, 40 untrained volunteer participants were woven into music and dance; in A’amar audiences took a seat at the table for food, song and storytelling; and House of Fast Fashun invited everyone to transform fashion waste into wearable art.

A Bucket of
Beetles, photo by Jacquie Manning


The 2024 program was plentiful with child-friendly performances and installations. The harbour’s edges played host to immense, multidimensional (and free) art installations, with Lisa Reihana’s mythical Māori octopus Te Wheke-a-Muturangi: The Adversary in residence at Watermans Cove, as Michael Shaw’s serpentine creation Hi-Vis wound its way around the interior of Pier 2/3.

The Thirsty Mile, Bondi Beach, Tumbalong Park and Circular Quay delighted audiences with popup performances by Snuff Puppets’ squawking, chippie-thieving Seagulls, and dinosaur lovers came face-to-face with wondrously life-like giant reptiles in Dinosaur World Live.

Cambodian circus White Gold brought a spoonful (or chopsticks-ful) of rice magic to the Seymour

Centre, as did Indonesian puppet theatre A Bucket of Beetles, before free music and a Southeast Asian market vibe took over the Seymour Centre's courtyard for Banyan Nights

Clown prince Thom Monckton returned to Sydney Festival with sight gags and pratfalls aplenty in The King of Taking. The Listies entertained little ones with very silly songs and sketches; Korean puppetry and pansori performance Sugung-ga: The Other Side of the World delighted audiences at ATYP; and Saplings, by Yuwaalaraay playwright Hannah Belanszky and Kalkadoon director Abbie-lee Lewis, brought to the stage stories born from workshops with young people in conflict with the youth justice system.



Greater Sydney had plenty to celebrate, with a host of shows in Parramatta, at Blacktown Arts Centre and at Casula Powerhouse. The romping musical comedy BANANALAND brought together an all-star creative team and cast to rock the socks off Riverside audiences, whilst Palestinian culinary theatre immersion A'amar created an intimate space for powerful storytelling. The Multicultural Comedy Gala returned to poke fun at everything that makes us different but yet similar, and the family spectacular Dinosaur World Live had the little ones squealing with glee.

Meanwhile, in Parramatta Square you could find site-specific acrobatics and physical theatre in Living Sculptures: How the Birds got their Colours, a work fusing First Nations dance, storytelling and contemporary circus to create human sculptures before your eyes.

The beloved Sydney Symphony Under the Stars was back at The Crescent in Parramatta Park for Pictures in the Sky, with Anoushka Shankar, William Barton, Aunty Delmae Barton, Véronique Serret, and all the symphonic classics and fireworks you love.

Blacktown Arts Centre (and the Art Gallery of New South Wales) hosted hands-on, child friendly creative celebration Hive Festival. Casula Powerhouse was home to the Cambodian Circus Workshop with performers from White Gold, as well as visual art exhibitions Memories of Water (Badu) from Leanne Tobin, Margaret and the Grey Mare – an immersive video installation by Katy B Plummer – and Eddie Abd’s The unbearable right to see and be seen

Sydney Symphony Under the Stars photo by Wendell Teodoro
Smashed: The Nightcap, photo by Jacquie Manning


Phare Circus - Reflecting on the success of Phare Circus, White Gold, Syd Fest “As we bask in the success of our Sydney Festival tour, I extend my heartfelt thanks to the festival team for their hospitality and amazing support. It is through collaborative efforts that we were able to create such a meaningful impact on the intternational stage.”

Getting to take Ode to Joy to the other side of the world, to this gorgeous city, and perform in front of a completely new audience has been an experience I’ll never forget. A huge thank you to Sydney Festival and everyone who came out to see us. It means the world.

Sean Connor, Cast Member Ode to Joy (How Gordon got to go to the nasty pig party)

One of the most gratifying outcomes of our time at the Sydney Festival was the overwhelming sense of pride it instilled in the Cambodian community. Our Phare artists, through their awe-inspiring performances, demonstrated the heights that Cambodian talent can reach on the global stage.

Dara Huot, CEO Phare Circus, White Gold

It was truly one of the greatest gigs of my life. Thank you Sydney Festival.

“ “ “
Alma Zygier, Artist Premarital Sextet

I just wanted to say a big thank you to all for looking after me in Sydney and helping to deliver the project. The whole experience was fantastic and I felt most welcome and well looked after. Having the opportunity to make Hi-Vis, was and is truly appreciated, especially doing it for such an amazing space. So, once again sincere thanks.

From my perspective, one of the most significant achievements of the Festival was the representation of street dance on such a grand scale. It was a monumental moment for the dance community and a significant win for the art form itself. Featuring 40 artists across three nights, ranging from full-time professionals to students and families, a unique and enriching experience was provided for everyone involved. The exposure to such opportunities will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on our community.

GöteborgsOperans Danskompani’s first ever visit to Australia leaves us with countless warm memories. It is always a pleasure and an honour for us to share our work with new audiences around the world, but the powerful response we met at Sydney´s beautiful Roslyn Packer Theatre was truly amazing and beyond our expectations. Such an inspiring event and atmosphere. From the bottom of our hearts – thank you!




It wouldn’t be summer without Sydney Festival’s large-scale, free public art installations, and 2024 was no exception. Michael Shaw’s labyrinthine, inflatable Hi-Vis filled the interior of the Moonshine Bar, while Māori artist Lisa Reihana’s floating tribute to the mythological, majestic octopus Te Wheke-a-Muturangi kept watch over Watermans Cove.

House of Fast Fashun invited closet fashion designers, kids and adults alike, down to Tumbalong Park to create their own fabulous couture redesigned from discarded clothes, blending creativity and commentary on fast fashion waste. New Beginnings Festival at the Australian National Maritime Museum and Hive Festival at Blacktown Arts and the Art Gallery of New South Wales also delivered big days of free family fun.

The Festival’s footprint extended further than ever, with free visual art exhibitions on offer at Bondi Pavilion, Casula

Powerhouse Arts Centre, National Art School, Brett Whiteley Studio, The Thirsty Mile pop-up Poster House and Manly Art Gallery.

A pair of free talks at Artspace saw producer Mo Laudi discussing on Afroelectronica and sound archives, and arts journalist supreme Daniel Browning unpacking First Nations representation with Larissa Behrendt. There was free music by the Harbour and in parks all over, with Vigil: The Future, Il Tabarro, Arka Kinari and Sydney Symphony Under the Stars: Pictures in the Sky

Our affordable ticketing options were back in 2024, with Tix for Next to Nix offering $26 same-day tickets to a wide range of events. Our Black Friday sale was again a huge success, and the Arts Pass offered affordable $36 tickets to arts industry peers.

Te Wheke-a-Muturangi: The Adversary, photo by Victor Frankowski



Free, closed captioned and available to stream anytime, anywhere, our AT HOME digital programming encompassed eight streamable programs in 2024, featuring full performances of Il Tabarro, Vigil: The Future, GURR ERA OP and Living Sculptures: How the Birds got their Colours. There were behind-the-scenes ‘making of’ featurettes: Kulintjaku, Wankantjaku (Listen, Talk) – The Making of Big Name, No Blankets stage show, What happens if our island sinks? and Fast Fashun: Behind the Runway

Two fascinating full-length documentaries featured: Big Name No Blanket (2013), which covered the iconic Warumpi Band, and Cirque du Cambodia, a documentary on Cambodia’s Phare Circus, the creators of White Gold. Also available were three re-booted live music performances from the 2023 Festival: Empty Voices by Hamed Sadeghi, Show Your Heart with Lisa Moore, and Tim Freedman’s Brett Whiteley Studio Session.



32 Relaxed performances

13 Captioned performances

29 Events


6 Audio described performances

6 Auslan interpreted performances

5 Tactile tours

Eliza Hull feat. roya the destroya, photo by Victor Frankowski
Accessible performances
Artists living with disability employed
with Access and inclusion programs 42


Sydney Festival welcomes all visitors, and we strive to ensure that all our performances are accessible to the widest range of audiences. In 2024, all our venues were wheelchair accessible, and all AT HOME digital content had captions available. The program featured six audio described performances and five tactile tours for patrons who are blind or have low vision.

The Festival featured six performances with Auslan intepretations, a BANANLAND performance with live captioning for Deaf and hard of hearing audience members, as well as surtitled performances of Il Tabarro and Orpheus & Eurydice.

Audiences with sensory sensitivities were also catered for, with eight events holding relaxed sessions with accompanying preshow visual stories and venue information. Among these were daily relaxed sessions

at Moonshine Bar's mammoth Hi-Vis installation, informed by an environmental assessment completed by Autism Spectrum Australia.

The 2024 Preview Guide was available in both mp3 and large print formats, and the website featured a calendar of accessible events and an access toggle with screen reader, text size, contrast controls and other access options. This year Sydney Festival supported the Hidden Disability Sunflower initiative, making Sunflower merchandise available at the Seymour Centre and the Moonshine Bar throughout the Festival, for both patrons and staff to claim as needed and without question.

We strive to improve our accessibility each year, with input from our Access and Inclusion Advisory Panel, comprised of members with lived experience of disability.

photo by Jacquie Manning


In collaboration with Re Agency (M&C Saatchi Group), we reinvented Sydney Festival’s iconic 'S' with new textures that evoke the art of summer. This year's four fabulous S-textures showcased the vibrant splash of culture that is Sydney Festival, referencing the blankets of Lia Rodrigues’ Encantado and paying homage to Australian legends the Warumpi Band in Big Name, No Blankets Huge thanks to Re, our esteemed design partner.

Sydney Festival’s 2024 marketing campaign kicked off in October 2023 with activity delivered locally, nationally and internationally in key markets through

to January 2024.

An extensive marketing campaign delivered over 65 million impressions across broadcast, cinema, outdoor, online, print, radio, social media, street media, collateral and direct mail, generating 2.5 million website views from over half a million website visitors.

Special thanks to our media partners who helped to deliver an impactful campaign: Signwave Newtown, Torch Media, Adflow, ABC, Time Out, Concrete Playground and Limelight Magazine

2024 Sydney Industry Launch, photo by Jacquie Manning


83 million


2.5 million




154,000 Facebook followers

149,000 X followers

59,000 Instagram followers

2.8 million Tik Tok views

2024 Sydney
Festival signage, photo by Wendell Teodoro
janiealbert janiealbert
Free fun @sydney_festival . A special night out to see out the school holidays . #sydneyfestival #cupidkoigarden #darlingharbour #sydney #wifeofanartdealer
Free fun @sydney_festival . A special night out to see out the school holidays . #sydneyfestival #cupidkoigarden #darlingharbour #sydney #wifeofanartdealer
Free fun @sydney_festival . A special night out to see out the school holidays . #sydneyfestival #cupidkoigarden #darlingharbour #sydney #wifeofanartdealer 47


The publicity campaign for the 2024 Sydney Festival garnered extensive media coverage, increasing Festival awareness, championing local and international artists and fostering a palpable sense of excitement amongst audiences.

The campaign effectively conveyed both the specific narratives of the 2024 Festival and the broader brand identity of the Sydney Festival. Prominent features included themes of water and weaving, a new Festival hub, programmatic explorations of historic Sydney and the Festival's status as a high-summer calendar stalwart showcasing premier international and Australian exclusive works.

The campaign also addressed various messaging tiers, including local communications around the Festival’s ongoing presence in Parramatta, an expanded live music offering, First Nations programming, and free and family-friendly events amidst Australia's cost of living crisis.

During the main three-month press period, the publicity campaign achieved

a total of 8,355 media mentions across broadcast, online and print.

Coverage highlights included nine show-specific features in The Guardian, live crosses with Sunrise at Watermans Cove, 15 standalone in-studio artist interviews on major programs like ABC News Breakfast, Sunrise and The Project, extensive evening news coverage on local stations and national programs, daily radio interviews with the Festival Director on ABC Radio Sydney Breakfast, and a prominent front-page feature in the Sydney Morning Herald on the Festival's opening Saturday, accompanied by multiple cover pointer items throughout the campaign.

Media attendance at the Festival remained strong, with 114 formally accredited media guests from over 60 outlets attending at least one ticketed event.

Our sincere thanks goes to Common State for driving a strong publicity campaign.

2024 Sydney Industry Launch, photo by Jacquie Manning 48
Value in ad space $28.1m Total media mentions 8,355 Press 4% Radio TV Online 25% 29% 42% 49

“It is truly a celebration of their uniqueness, their joy and passion. I believe it can only cement their icon status. Bravo ILBIJERRI and Sydney Festival.”



Cassie Tongue, The Guardian

“Here was something to bend the brain and fire off the synapses like so many New Year’s Eve crackers. This was theatre as spectacle, magic, image, poetry, didacticism and even cinema.”

Are we not drawn onward to new erA

John Shand, The Sydney Morning Herald

“Laugh-out-loud hilarious... It just might be the fluid-splattered climax of this year’s entire Sydney Festival.”


Kate Prendergast, Time Out

“There was variety, imagination and reverence in this series, and some of the performances achieved moments of the luminosity one always seeks in Bach.”


Peter McCallum, The Sydney Morning Herald

“It’s gorgeous choreography, heart-stopping athleticism, and deeply touching drama all at once.”


Chantal Nguyen, The Sydney Morning Herald


“This starkly beautiful production, performed by circus artists alongside the singers, feels fresh, modern and exciting.”

Orpheus & Eurydice

Jo Litson, Limelight Magazine

“The Walsh Bay Arts Precinct has plenty going for it as a permanent hub for the ‘summer asset’ Sydney Festival.”

Matthew Westwood, The Australian

“Anoushka Shankar’s music is as mellifluous and luxuriant as her name. She’d barely played two notes when I fell under her spell once more.”

Anoushka Shankar

John Shand, The Sydney Morning Herald

“It’s fun, sexy and charming... Perfect for sharing with friends. It’s a great way to kick off the new year: a reminder that we can find joy in our city, in each other, and what we can create together.”

Smashed: The Nightcap Cassie Tongue, The Sydney Morning Herald

★★★★★ ★★★★★ 51
Partner logos on street flags Partner logo at Walsh Bay Partner logos on lightboxes around Sydney Harbour foreshore Digital Screens at Watermans Cove Partner acknowledgement at Directors Dinner
The Hon. John Graham, Minister for the Arts at Media Call 52
Partner logos on side of stage banner at Parramatta Park


Sydney Festival would like to thank our two founding partners, the State Government through Create NSW and the City of Sydney. Their steadfast dedication and ongoing support are instrumental in facilitating the curation of a diverse and exceptional multiarts program. Furthermore, their investment provides access to premier venues across the city, including the award-winning Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, managed by Create NSW, which proudly served as the newest Festival hub for Sydney Festival.

In addition to our founding partners, we are grateful for the continued collaboration with our long-standing investor Destination NSW. In 2024, Destination NSW aligned to four Sydney exclusive events: GöteborgsOperans Danskompani, Anoushka Shankar, Il Tabarro, White Gold and the smash-hit BANANALAND in Parramatta. Through their extensive marketing channels, Destination NSW played a crucial role in promoting the Festival, driving visitation from intrastate, interstate and international audiences to Sydney in January. The Festival partnered with Placemaking NSW once again to showcase a series of captivating

works. These included House of Fast Fashun at Darling Harbour; Living Sculptures: How the Birds got their Colours and Seagulls at Darling Harbour and Circular Quay; Te Whekea-Muturangi at Watermans Cove, Barangaroo; Arka Kinarii at Campbells Cove; and Vigil: The Future at Barangaroo Reserve.

Sydney Festival remains steadfast in its commitment to programming in Western Sydney, where we continue to develop and present quality arts and cultural events within the Parramatta local government area. This endeavour is made possible through the generous support of the City of Parramatta. Notable productions included the musical comedy BANANALAND at Riverside Theatres and the Festival favourite, Sydney Symphony Under the Stars, which returned to The Crescent to delight audiences, thanks to the valued partnerships with Greater Sydney Parklands and Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The Festival’s Greater Sydney offerings also featured family fun and free exhibitions at Blacktown Arts Centre and Casula Powerhouse.



Sydney Festival's new hub, The Thirsty Mile, was located in one of the most knockout locations in the world, transforming the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct into a space with theatres, bars, an exhibition space and a thumping club. Patrons enjoyed a selection of beverages offered by Ester Spirits, Bunnamagoo Wines, FELLR, Beerfarm and Strangelove.

United Airlines joined the Festival for the first time, proudly flying artists from the U.S. to Sydney in January. Additionally we extend a warm welcome to new sponsors including HelloRide, the Australian British Chamber of Commerce and Business Partner, BDO.

We are grateful for the creative expertise of Re Agency in evolving our Festival brand into a fresh, captivating look for 2024 spanning print collateral, outdoor, motion assets, website and TVCs. Our media sponsors, including ABC Radio, Time

Out, TorchMedia, Tribal Apes, Concrete Playground, Adflow, Signwave Newtown, Limelight Magazine and the returning IndianLink, provided invaluable promotional support and coverage.

Sydney Festival collaborates with a diverse array of production sponsors who play a critical role in staging the Festival. We extend special thanks to TDC, Chameleon Touring Systems and SafetyCulture. Our artists and crew were graciously lodged by our generous accommodation partners, Four Points, Pier One, Meriton and Accor. We would also like to thank our Festival lawyers Maddocks, our research partners Woolcott Research and RDA Research as well as Wilson Parking, Business Sydney, Committee for Sydney, CloudWave, Ogilvy, Kawai, Artbank Australia and all our venue partners for their invaluable contributions to the success of Sydney Festival.

Sponsor logos on digital screen at the Moonshine Bar
at the ACO 54
Beverage Sponsors Kawai


For the 24th edition of Festival Feasts, a curated selection of nine restaurants and bars offered an elevated dining experience to Sydney Festival ticket holders, driving new business to our Feasts partners Cafe Sydney, Elements Seafood Grillhouse, Henry Deane at Hotel Palisade, Jounieh, LILYMU, Lotus Dumpling Bar, PIER BAR, The Dining Room-Park Hyatt Sydney, and Walsh Bay Crabhouse.

Ester Spirits giveaway at Smashed: The Nightcap performances
Co-branded HelloRide e-bikes
Coney Island ferry from Pier One Sydney Harbour



Our sincere thanks to Principal Philanthropic Partner Peter Freedman AM and all our private donors, whose generosity plays a vital role the Festival’s success. Their contributions have empowered countless artists, ignited creativity, and brought joy to appreciative Festival audiences.

In turn, their Festival is enriched by a series of exclusive events taking their experience to the next level.

I have long been an advocate for Sydney Festival and strongly believe it is one of the world’s most important cultural events – most certainly Australia’s. The Festival has supported thousands of creative artists and behind-the-scenes workers in the industry. These are the people who have supported my career with RØDE, and this is my way of giving back to them.



"Another lovely Festival gathering. What a spectacular setting. One can never get enough of that harbour view from any perspectivebut under the bridge is a favourite.”


Olivia Ansell photo by Wendell Teodoro


“A huge congrats on the Director’s Dinner on Monday evening. It was a stunning venue (that backdrop!), and it rolled out beautifully.”


Jacob Nash Marita Supplee and Mitchel Martin-Weber Fiona Martin-Weber, Benjamin Skepper and Olivia Ansell Kween G, Tom Hayward and Alana Valentine John Lydon, Caroline Beecham and Con Costi Rebel Penfold-Russell and Benjamin Skepper Andrew Cameron AM, David Mathlin, Alma Zygier, Dennis Cooper and Cathy Cameron Judith and Jonathan Casson, Prinnie Stevens, Alex and Roslyn Hunyor


Popsy Albert, Christopher Tooher, John Barrer and Paddy Carney The cast from Smashed:The Nightcap Christopher Tooher, Olivia Ansell, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley, Dennis Wilson, Kate Dundas Rhae and Chris Shaw, Josh Meader Trio Stephen Fitzgerald and Rio Cuneo
Olivia Ansell
PHILANTHROPY DONOR WRAP PARTY GET INVOLVED IN 2025! Visit or contact Sydney Festival Philanthropy on (02) 8248 6507 or for further details. Enjoy the satisfaction of making a difference and have some fun along the way.
night. Many many thanks.” VICTORIA TAYLOR
David Mathlin and Fiona Martin-Weber Brigit Kirk Leanne Hillman, Olivia Ansell and Jennifer Darin Penelope Seidler AM, Popsy Albert and Suzanne Maple-Brown Ray Wilson, Kate Dundas and Raymond Camillire
David Kirk MBE and Alasdair MacLeod


Almost 200 superstar volunteers gave their time and effort to help ensure Sydney Festival ran smoothly across 148 events over 24 days. Our volunteers devoted 2,325 hours throughout the Festival with a total of 648 shifts attended to meet and greet patrons, answer queries, and provide advice, information, and operational support across Festival venues.

Our cohort includes volunteers who have been giving their time to the Festival for over ten years, and in 2024 several volunteers logged over 20 shifts and 30 hours.

Our volunteer teams were particularly central to the success of large-scale outdoor events like Vigil: The Future and Sydney Symphony Under the Stars: Pictures in the Sky. The Festival simply wouldn’t happen without the energy and skills donated by our fabulous volunteers – a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of them.


Essential to Sydney Festival is the bringing together and connecting with Sydney communities through the art and live performance of each year's program.

In 2024, we teamed up with community group Parents of Deaf Children for SPIN, a guided dance event for ages 10+ with three Deaf hosts and a DJ. We extended invitations to mob to attend Warumpi Band rock-theatre show Big Name, No

Blankets; to the Khmer Community NSW and Bonnyrigg Khmer School to attend performances of Cambodian circus White Gold; and to the Indian Literary & Art Society of Australia, Ekansh Indian Cultural Society, and UTS Indian Society to see virtuoso sitar player Anoushka Shankar perform live.

Participatory workshops for beginners, pre-professionals and early career professionals brought performances to life.


The Torres Strait Culture Sharing Workshop, with performers from GURR ERA OPP, shared the unique art, dance and stories of Torres Strait Islander communities. For professional and emerging professional dancers, The Body as Nature Dance Choreography Masterclass and Marrugeku Workshop: Intercultural Dance Processes shared insights into creating choreography with respected dance institutions Dancenorth and Marrugeku, respectively.

The Cambodian Circus Workshop invited guests to learn juggling, acrobatics and how to form a human pyramid with artists from White Gold. Sunrise Yoga invited everyone to limber up and salute the sun at Wharf 4/5. Weaving Workshops taught participants the First Nations art of weaving using natural elements, with weavers leaving with their own handmade bracelet, coil or other artwork.







Andrew Cameron AM and Cathy Cameron

Hooper Shaw Foundation

Robyn Martin-Weber

Roslyn Packer AC

Jacqui Scheinberg



Antionette Albert

John Barrer

Ashley Dawson-Damer

Lansdowne Foundation

Fiona Martin-Weber and Tom Hayward

Nelson Meers Foundation

Scully Fund


Jonathan and Judith Casson

Doc Ross Family Foundation

Stephen Fitzgerald

Lisa and Mark Jackson Pulver

David Kirk MBE and Brigit Kirk

Anthony and Suzanne Maple-Brown

David Mathlin and Camilla Drover

Julianne Maxwell

Rebel Penfold-Russell

Penelope Seidler AM

Turnbull Foundation


The Arcadia Syndicate

Caroline Beecham and John Lydon

Larissa Behrendt AO and Michael Lavarch AO

Canny Quine Foundation

Anna Cleary

Carol Crawford

Jennifer Darin and Dennis Cooper

Jennifer Dowling and James Hill

Roslyn and Alex Hunyor

Amanda and Andrew Love

Victoria Taylor

Carolyn and Drew Townsend

Villa & Villa P/L

Ray Wilson OAM


John and Helen Barclay

Iolanda Capodanno and Juergen Krufczyk

George El-Khouri OAM

Helena Harris

Kiong Lee and Richard Funston

Lyndall and Trevor McNally

Karen Moses

Mary Read

The Tal Family

Maggie Weiley and Barry Fitzgibbon


Olivia Ansell

Carmel Balogh

Helen Bauer and Helen Lynch AM

Paddy Carney

Ben Franklin

Sandra Kingston

Cheryl Lo

Fiona Long

Clare Sawyer

Nawal Silfani

Christopher Tooher


Andrew Cameron AM (Chair)

Rhae Hooper

David Mathlin

Jacqui Scheinberg

Maria Villa

The Thirsty Mile, photo by Wendell Teodoro



The Australian Government through Creative Australia, its arts funding and advisory body.


Co-commissioned by Melbourne Fringe and Wyndham City Council, Bukjeh would like to acknowledge the support of Doctors and Co & Settlement Services International (SSI).

Are we not drawn onward to new erA

Coproduction with Spectra, Kunstencentrum Vooruit

Gent, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Adelaide Festival & Richard Jordan Productions Ltd.

Financial support provided by The Flemish Government and the city of Ghent.


Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government Initiative.

Big Name, No Blankets

Larissa Behrendt AO and Michael Lavarch AO, Canny Quine Foundation, Scully Fund and all private donors.

Assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by Creative Australia, its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc., commissioned by RISING, Sydney Festival, Darwin Festival, Brisbane Festival and Adelaide Festival.

Brett Whiteley Studio Sessions

The Brett Whiteley Foundation.


The Fondation d'entreprise

Hermès International Relief Fund for Cultural and Educational Organizations, Goethe-Institut and other partners.


Assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by Creative Australia, its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc., commissioned by Sydney Festival, RISING, Brisbane Festival and Ten Days on the Island.

Hope Hunt and the Ascension into Lazarus / Wolverine

Hope Hunt: Supported by Dance Resource Base, Art Council of Northern Ireland, The MAC Theatre - Belfast, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, British Council, Prime Cuts Production.

Living Sculptures: How the Birds got their Colours

Originally commissioned by SWELL Sculpture Festival, with support from Arts Queensland; proudly supported by City of Gold Coast; presented in collaboration with Cluster Arts.

Lost in Palm Springs / ICONIC: Lost in Palm Springs panel discussion

Presented by HOTA, Home of the Arts partnership with Museums & Galleries Queensland. Assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program and is supported by International Art Services.


Brokentalkers would like to thank and acknowledge support from Culture Ireland and funding from the Arts Council of Ireland. CoProduction with Dublin Fringe Festival, Project Arts Centre & Mermaid Arts Centre.

Mood Ring

The creators of Mood Ring would like to thank and acknowledge support from Cement Fondu, with a special thanks to Fiji Film, Australian Cultural Fund, the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, Fiji Airways, and the community of Eora/Sydney for their support.


Commissioned by Perth Festival; funded by the WA State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries: Made in WA program, National Arts Council Singapore and City of Sydney; assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body. Supported by the Western Australian Government through the department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and the NSW Government through Create NSW.

On View: Icons

Supported by: Australia Council and Create NSW; Tobi Wilkinson and Rob Keldoulis; Creative Australia and Create NSW.

Orpheus & Eurydice

Circa acknowledges the assistance of the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principal arts investment and advisory body and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.

The Chosen Haram

Supported by Flora Herberich; Turtle Key Arts would like to thank and acknowledge project funding and support from Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.

The Listies: Make Some Noise

The Listies would like to thank and acknowledge support provided by Waverley Council and Creative Victoria.

Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World Co-commissioned by HOME, Manchester and National Theatre of Parramatta, Sydney


Commissioned and originally produced by La Boite Theatre, Brisbane Festival and the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.


Commissioned by Brisbane Festival and North Australian Festival of Arts (NAFA). This project was made possible by Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund – an Australian Government Initiative. Assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its arts funding and advisory body. Assisted by both the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. Supported by Townsville City Council through their Strategic Partnerships Program, and gratefully acknowledges the Wayfinder Giving Circle, who has supported the making of this work.



Her Excellency the Honourable

Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of New South Wales


Chair - David Kirk MBE

Andrew Cameron AM

Paddy Carney

Angela Clark

Darren Dale

Kate Dundas

Dr Robert Lang

Karen Mundine


Festival Director

Olivia Ansell

Executive Director

Christopher Tooher

Executive Assistant

Bianca Rey

Administration Officer

Thomas Hamilton


Head of Finance and Administration

Dimitri Cachia

Financial Controller

Jennifer Stallard


Finance Manager

Chee-Hsing Pinchen

Accounts Assistant

Julie Crawford

Accounts Assistant

Courtney Lewis

Accounts Assistant

Sarah Mather


External Relations Director

Jane You

Business Development

Mouche Phillips

External Relations Manager

Kelly Malkin

Events and Hospitality Manager

Esther Castell

External Relations Coordinator

Nicole Cadelina

External Relations Coordinator

Sarah Mather

Hospitality Consultants

Fernando Motti, Blake Smith


Head of Philanthropy

Marita Supplee

Philanthropy Assistant

Fiona Jackson


Head of Programming Operations

Ellen Kavanagh

Creative Artist in Residence

Jacob Nash

Producer, Outdoor & Major Events

Andrew Mackonis

Producer, Theatre & Dance

Nick Beech

Producer, Music

Rosa Coyle-Hayward

Producer, First Nations

Ali Murphy-Oates

Producer, Digital

Elena Hattersley

Precincts Producer

Adriana Navarro

Associate Producer

Rebecca Spicer

Associate Producer

Jenny Ainsworth

Associate Producer

Aroha Pehi

Programming Coordinator

Claire Ferguson

Artist Liasion

Mikaela Dix

Volunteer Coordinators

Brady Tasker

Amy Buchanan


Marketing Director

Aimee Ocampo

Media Advisor

Nia Jones

Content Manager

Jordan Rahlia

Marketing Specialist

Michelle Balogh-Gray

Graphic Design Manager

Matthew Sharah

Publications and Content Editor

Winsome Walker

Campaign Manager

Holly Fenwick

Social Media Specialist

Jareth Leslie-Evans

Marketing Coordinator

Elizabeth Elias

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Liam Seymour

Publicity Coordinator

Josie Mura

Graphic Designer

Jeanine Apoderado


Customer Services Director

Tara Easlea

Ticketing Systems Manager

Sarah Toner

Ticketing Systems Assistant

Samantha Atherley

Box Office Coordinator

Mitch Grace


Head of Production

John Bayley

Production Manager

Alycia Bangma

Senior Project Manager

Jesse Hilford

Project Manager

Bridget Hennessy

Project Manager

Gordon Rymer

Project Manager

Cally Bartley

Production Assistant

Abby Dinger

Signage Coordinator

Rae Anderson

Logistics Manager

Rudi Lo

Logistics Coordinators

Jess Dunn

Jessica Summit

Store Supervisor

Madeline Pollard



Re Agency



Common State




Victor Frankowski, Jacquie Manning and Wendell Teodoro


Elissa Blake, Jason Blake, Yvonne Frindle, Luke Goodsell, Nick Jarvis, Lenny Anne Lowe and Jack Tregoning

Seagulls, photo by Wendell Teodoro
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