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Sydney Festival @ Parramatta

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by Irenke Forsyth (subscribe)
A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at
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Find your groove at this dazzling extravaganza
The city festival, that extended to Parramatta a few years back, is once again providing a mix of free and ticketed events in this western suburb that is a city itself. Lots of interesting acts will entertain with a variety of music, dance, theatre and circus performances for the whole family.

Two main locations - Prince Alfred Square and the Riverside Theatres as well as other smaller sites, will play host to this summer's enjoyment. Australian and international artists will light up stages and both adults and children can play together in a captivating fairground.

Highlights include:-

Arquitectura De Feria

A ferris wheel hand cranked with toilet seats and a bicycle-powered carousel with a rocket ship and whirling crocodile, both made from recycled materials, make this a very unusual fairground.

Discover this unique wonderland of rides, created by a European family of artisans, whose purpose is to resurrect the life of old-style fairs. An assortment of amusements use household objects, such as sewing machines, hair dryers, sinks and juicers, to give new life in surprising ways. Rides are operated by adults to get them moving and aim to connect families through play.

The fair can be found at Prince Alfred Square, Tuesdays to Sundays from 2pm and it's free. On opening night plus Friday and Saturday nights there will be even more of a festival feel when Market Street gets closed off, creating a new hub with flavoursome food and beverages, and free live music.

La Verita

Combining circus, acrobatics, clowning, dance and music, La Verita is a thrilling show brought to you by the Swiss Compagnia Finzi Pasca. It pays homage to surrealist painter, Salvador Dali, and lends itself to vaudeville with burlesque comedy and song. A recently rediscovered painting of Dali's serves as a backdrop to fantastic visuals.

La Verita

It's on at Riverside Theatre from 8-17 January -Tues-Fri 7.30pm, Sat 2pm and 7.30pm, Sun 2pm. No performance on Monday. Suitable for ages 7 and over, tickets range from $35-65.


The cypher is a ritual where dancers vie for a spot in the centre ring to perform their set. There's lots of raw energy in this adaptation of traditional conventions and expressions of break dancing.


Born out of the block parties and street gangs of the ghetto youth in New York in the Seventies, break dancing has evolved into acrobatics whilst retaining its wild spirit and energy. Coupled with choreography, Cypher gives the audience a glimpse into this culture.

Celebrate this hip hop with funky footwork and rocking rhythms at Riverside Theatre from 19-24 January. They're pushing the boundaries of movement with booming beats Tues-Fri at 7.30pm, Sat at 3pm and 7.30pm, and Sunday at 3pm. General admission $35 per person.

1000 Bells

Coming to Prince Alfred Square is this large scale installation, 1000 Bells, which embraces the diversity of Sydney's communities through handmade ceramic chimes.

A workshop to create these pinch pot bells will be hosted by Australian artists, Lauren Brincat and Bree van Reyk. The bells and their creators will later reunite for a mass performance and communal musical experience that will be something to behold.

It's on from 8-24 January and it's free. First day from 6.30pm then Tues-Sun from 2pm.

Cosmic Cambodia

At Lennox Theatre in the Riverside complex, for 1 night (17 Jan) you can blast off with the band Cambodian Space Project and rock your socks off to a high energy sci-fi psych take on a Phnom Penh karaoke bar.

The guitars will appear to jump out at you and the songs bring back to life the lost divas and rock legends of Cambodia's golden age of rock 'n' roll, all but wiped out by the Khmer Rouge regime.

With trippy visuals mashing with rock and soul for a groovy revival, this show is something unique. It runs from 6pm for 75 minutes with tickets at $35 per person.

Maru Tarang

Rajasthani folk music and Delta blues come together in this fusion of Australia and India. Guitarist Jeff Lang and tabla (think bongos) player Bobby Singh join forces with sarangi master Asin Langa and khatal virtuoso Bhungar Manganiyar to produce hypnotic grooves, twangy slide guitar around string flourishes and spellbinding vocals.

On 10 January from 6pm at the Lennox Theatre, it is also $35 per person.

The Events

Over at Granville Town Hall, Australian actress Catherine McClements (Water Rats, The Secret Life of Us) is joined by Luke Byrne and local choirs in a moving play centred around the incredible human reactions to trauma, caused by a terrible act of violence.

A mixture of music and theatre, it examines what it is that makes us human, what binds us together and what drives us apart and asks how we live together knowing our lives could be upheaved in any moment.

Written after the massacre in Norway on the island of Utoya, where 77 people died, it evokes memories of our own Port Arthur massacre and the more recent Martin Place siege at the Lindt Cafe. You can see The Events 13-15 Jan at 7.30pm, 16 Jan at 2pm and 7.30pm and 17 Jan at 2pm. Tickets are $50 per person.

Many more shows are on during this festival and multipacks of three or more shows can be purchased, saving you 10-15% off prices. Visit for the full program.

Images courtesy of Sydney Festival Facebook and
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Why? To celebrate a culture of theatrics
Phone: 02 8248 6500
Where: Prince Alfred Sq & Riverside Theatres
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