As NITEnews publishes our Spotlight: Sydney, we’ve created a field-guide to the organisations, theatre companies, and venues mentioned throughout the series, with some added resources too. All pulled together to help you make the most of your New International Theatre Experience. If you are a member of, or know of, an organisation that is not listed here, please contact us at email@example.com, and we will add it to our Sydney Theatre Guide.
The Belvior Street Theatre was originally the Nimrod Theatre famous for pioneering contemporary theatre in Australia, and was converted when the Sydney arts community came together to save the venue from demolition in the 1980s. The Belvoir is well known for the development of new Australian writers and artists, and for its advocacy of new Australian work on mainstream stages.
The Belvoir Street Theatre has two theatres, Downstairs and Upstairs. Downstairs is often where new work by budding Australian theatre-makers is tried and tested, and Upstairs, world famous actors, writers, and directors make a home, right alongside some of the artists moving from the Downstairs theatre to the larger venue Upstairs. The Belvoir is home to two of our contributors, resident director Anne-Louise Sarks and Associate Director -Literary, Anthea Williams. The Belvoir Street Theatre foyer is houses to the Soup Stone caterers, and is located in the Surry Hills neighborhood in Sydney, near restaurants such as Vini, Bishop Sessa, and MoVida, all perfectly sophisticated options for pre and post show dining in Surry Hills
Belvoir Street Theatre
25 Belvoir Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
The Griffin Theatre Company prides itself on being “Australia’s New Writing Theatre”. Griffin Theatre Company is committed to nurturing new and contemporary australian theatre, shaping the future of Australian theatre. The Griffin Theatre Company serves as a gateway for aspiring writers, actors, designers, and directors, bringing them to a professional stage, and often national attention. The company is committed to outreach maintaining a “low-fi” atmosphere to ensure that its theatre is universally accessible, and to education, with residences for writers and directors and investments in artistic and audience development. The Griffin Theatre Company also makes its residence at the SBW Stables Theatre.
Griffin Theatre Company
SBW Stables Theatre
10 Nimrod Street
Kings Cross NSW 2011
Photo by Scott Morris
Sydney Theatre Company makes it residence in three of Sydney’s most iconic theatre spaces- the Sydney Theatre, the Drama Theatre at the iconic Sydney Opera House, and The Wharf Theatres at Walsh Bay. The Sydney Theatre Company is a leading Australian theatre organisation and the history of the company parallels and celebrates the history and culture of theatre in Australia, hosting some of the biggest festivals of the year including Sydney Festival, Sydney Writer’s Festival, and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. STC partners with artistic practitioners across disciplines to expand theatre performance, as well as major names in theatre and art in a commitment to ensure accessibility longevity of the performing arts in Australia. STC strives to bring theatre and arts education to the community and is a local home to names like Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, and Andrew Upton.
Pier 4, Hickson Road
Walsh Bay NSW 2000
PO Box 777
Millers Point NSW 2000
The largest of Sydney Theatre Company’s homes, the Sydney theatre is also home to Sydney Dance Company and Sydney Writer’s Festival. Designed by Peddle, Thorpe and Walker, Sydney Theatre is situated in Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, at the heart of the city’s cultural district. The Sydney Theatre plays host to renowned touring companies from all over the globe, and constantly boasts some of the biggest names in Australian and international theatre on its stages.
Sydney Theatre is home to The Hickson Road Bistro, which caters its seasonal and traditional Australian menu specifically to pre and post show dining in the beautiful outdoor setting on Hickson Road.
22 Hickson Road
(Opposite Pier 6/7) Walsh Bay NSW 2000
PO Box 777
Millers Point NSW 2000
The Wharf Theatre is the smallest venue of Sydney Theatre Company, featuring two theatres with seating surrounding the stage on three side. The Wharf Theatre is located on Pier 4/5 near its larger counterpart Sydney Theatre.
The Wharf Theatre is also home to The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf. The Theatre Bar is the perfect place for pre, or post-show drinks and plates, or just to spend the afternoon soaking up the glory that is the entertainment and arts capital of Australia.
Pier 4, Hickson Road
Walsh Bay NSW 2000
Inside Sydney’s world famous Sydney Opera House, the Drama Theatre is the mid-sized theatre in use by Sydney Theatre Company. The Drama Theatre is located in the cultural district of Sydney, and is near STC’s other two venues
Sydney Opera House
Sydney NSW 2000
The Bell Shakespeare Company, lead by John Bell, is one of Australia’s leading authorities on Shakespeare and his work. The Bell Shakespeare Company works to integrate the works of the bard into modern Australian culture, and to ensure its longevity in the theatre community. The BSC holds workshops for all levels of familiarity with Shakespeare’s poetry, and with roughly one exception each season, maintains a strictly Shakespearean program in its theatre.
PO Box 10
Millers Point NSW 2000
Another Australian leader in Shakespeare, the Sport for Jove Company was founded in 2009 through the creation of an outdoor space for Shakespeare at a local theatre festival, and since has made its mark performing the works of William Shakespeare traditionally and in modern adaptations in non-traditional spaces. Sport for Jove extends its seasonal programming to the classical works of Shakespearean contemporaries, as well as older and more recent writers. SFJ created the Sydney Hills Shakespeare in the Park and the annue Leura Shakespeare Festival and continually works in collaboration with the NSW Trust of Australia to create their work.
1/14-16 Whiting St.
Artarmon NSW 2064
The Tamarama Rock Surfers Theatre Company makes its home in Sydney at the Bondi Pavillion Theatre at the city’s famed Bondi Beach. In addition to being the resident company there, the Rock Surfers also mount productions at The Old Fitzroy, SBW Stables Theatre, and The Sydney Opera House. The Rock Surfers Theatre Company is dedicated to the effort seen throughout the Sydney theatre community to encourage and develop new Australian work to bring to stages all over the country and eventually a global platform. The Bondi Pavillion, because of its idyllic location on Sydney’s Bondi Beach, is situated just a quick walk to the Bucket List Bondi Bar and Restaurant, the perfect compliment for a night at the theatre.
Bondi Pavilion Theatre, Bondi Pavilion
1 Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach
Sydney Independent Theatre Company is the leading independent theatre company in the entertainment capital of Australia, and is committed to creating accessible and approachable theatre for a wide audience. SITCO has taken residence at The Old Fitzroy Theatre, and holds post-show sessions in which the audience are invited to talk with the actors and other members of the company on hand. SITCO maintains a broad range of programming, and has ensured that its residence in the Old Fitzroy will allow for versatility in the performances it hosts.
12/617-623 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
Telephone: 1300 307 264
Located within Sydney’s historic Old Fitzroy Hotel, the Old Fitzroy Theatre is also an iconic Sydney pub and restaurant. The Old Fitzroy is renowned for hosting premier Australian Indy theatre. The Old Fitzroy is home to Sydney Independent Theatre Company (SITCO) which hosts a broad range of cabaret, musical theatre, plays, comedy, and film festivals. The Old Fitzroy offers dinner and drinks with every performance, and is located in the Woolloomooloo area of Sydney.
129 Dowling Street (Cnr Cathedral Street)
Woolloomooloo NSW 2011
Phone: (02) 9356 3848
The Darlinghurst Theatre Company calls the newly restored Eternity Playhouse on Burton Street its home, formerly a Baptist Tabernacle. Darlinghurst is known for its independent programming, and is unique in its assembly of a new creative team for every one of its productions every season. The company collaborates with upwards of 300 hundred artists each year in pursuit of its goal to create a democratic, and vocal theatre experience for its audiences. Eternity Playhouse has its own bar, and is located near the Oxford Street Precinct restaurant The Commons and it’s adjacent Downtown Bar, which is perfect for pre-show dining or after theatre drinks.
39 Burton Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Established as the Sydney Workers Art Club in 1932, brandishing the slogan “Art is a Weapon”, the New Theatre is continually dedicated to using its political voice to engage its audience both in, and outside of the theatre building for change. Members of The New Theatre are passionately committed to using theatre as social as well as artistic expression, and maintain the theatre entirely on a volunteer basis. The New Theatre, like many of its Sydney colleagues, has made a commitment to creating springboard opportunities for new Australian work and artists of all kinds to gain exposure. The New Theatre makes its home on King Street in the Newtown area of Sydney, after a history of being hosted all over Australia in top venues.
542 King Street
Newtown, NSW 2042
02 9519 3403
Carriage Works is the leading, and largest contemporary arts center in Australia, and creates a wholistic experience for participants. Carriage Works is an artist lead institution, and programs a variety of performing and fine art shows, striving to engage both audience and artist with contemporary topics, and the social and cultural diversity of the city and the nation. In what once was a carriage house and blacksmiths’ workshops, Carriage Works is housed in the Eveleigh Rail Yards in the Redfern Waterloo Precinct and has several well established arts organisations such as Playwriting Australia, Erth, and Stalker and Marrugeku to call its residents. The Carriage Works is home to the Cornerstone Restaurant and Bar, as well as the award-winning Eveleigh Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning which has a huge range of organic food and artisan products from over 70 regular sellers from across New South Wales.
To contact Carriage Works’ resident companies click here
245 Wilson Street Eveleigh
Redfern NSW 2016
Located on the bank of the Parramatta River in Sydney in the Church Street Restaurant Precinct, the Riverside Parramatta Company is dedicated to making quality theatre and arts education accessible to the entire community.The Riverside Parramatta Theatre has three venues ranging in size: The Rafferty’s Theatre, the most intimate and often host of small productions and exhibitions, The Lennox Theatre, and the largest of the three the Riverside Theatre. Riverside Parramatta hosts over 700 performances a season, including music, exhibitions, and hosts some of Sydney’s leading theatre companies every season, such as Griffen Theatre Company, True West Theatre, and Riverside Productions. Additionally, Riverside Parramatta is known for its continued support of new Indigenous Australian theatre, and is often home to the productions of some of the leading Indigenous Australian theatre-makers. The theatre offers several pre, and post-theatre options for drinks and dining, such as Two Forks Restaurant and Bar, and Ribs and Rumps Steakhouse
Corner Church and Market Streets Parramatta NSW 2150
Box Office Telephone: + 61 2 8839 3399
The University of Sydney’s performing arts center, The Seymour Centre is a leader in community arts education, and bringing international art to the city. The Seymour Centre is focused on presenting a wide range of contemporary art, and hosts major festivals, large-scale theatre, and music and dance performances. The Seymour Centre plays host to the Sydney Fringe Festival, The Sydney Comedy Festival, Sydney Festival, and Sydney Children’s Festival, and is home to residents such as Chronology Arts, and independent theatre company Critical Stages.
Corner of City Rd and Cleveland St
Chippendale NSW 2008
Box Office: 02 9351 7940
Contact them here
505 is an artist-lead space for independent artists, musicians and theatre-practitioners to develop and stage new work in Sydney. 505 is constantly advocating for the rights of artists both legally and socially, and actively promotes community collaboration. 505 is a popular host to the Sydney Fringe festival and is dedicated year round to the city’s Fringe art scene. 505 hosts over 400 shows a year, including musical performance, performance art, musical theatre, and plays, and is home to several not-for-profit artist organisations. 505 is home to the 505 Kitchen which is perfect for food and drinks before and after a performance at the venue.
280 Cleveland Street Surry Hills
Located just outside Sydney in Kirribilli, the Ensemble Theatre is Sydney’s longest running professional theatre, and is famous for its premier Australian and international theatre season. The Ensemble Theatre also produce shows out of The Play House, The Sydney Opera House, The Theatre Royale and the Seymour Centre, all within the city. Ensemble Theatre has a strong educational program, and offers work-shops for theatre-makers of all disciplines, both on and off the stage, committed to contributing to continuing generations of Australian theatre. The Ensemble Theatre’s venue in Kirribilli is home to Bayly’s Restaurant, named in honor of longtime company member Lorraine Bayly, which is ideal for pre-theatre dining, but also welcomes and encourage a visit simply to enjoy the waterside views.
78 McDougall Street
Kirribilli Australia 2061
Box Office: (02) 9929 0644
Contact them here
Playwriting Australia is the leading organisation dedicated to the development of Australian writers on every level from beginning, to professional company and dramaturgical development. Playwriting Australia advocates on behalf of Australian artists and audiences conducting essential outreach to minority groups, helping them create and move their stories onto the stage through teaching the art of playwriting. Playwriting Australia plays an integral role in the creation of new Australian work in the theatre community, by sponsoring the creation and production of up to 30 new Australian plays each year. Playwriting Australia is home to our contributor Amanda Macri, who serves as the organisation’s general manager.
Australian Plays is a massive catalogue and database of Australian theatrical work and playwrights. The database and materials are available as a result of continue collaboration between Playwriting Australia, The Australian Script Centre, Currency Press, and Playlab Press. Australian Plays is where the blog of our contributor Cristin Kelly Jovicic, 100 Aussie Plays in 100 Days, can be found.
Contact them here
Performing Arts Hub is an amalgamator of the news and activity taking place within the Australian theatre community. News about theatre work throughout Australia, as well as theatre listing, casting calls, editorials, and very importantly grant opportunities for theatre-makers can be found here.
Contact them here
The Sydney Festival is an annual arts festival held each January, hosting world class theatre, dance, music, and art from around the globe with more than 400 performances of over 140 events, bringing over 1000 artists into its tents. The Sydney Festival prides itself on being indicative of the city’s unique identity, a leader of the national artistic scene, and inclusive of all who wish to partake in inclusive and often free programming.
Level 5, 10 Hickson Road
The Rocks NSW 2000
Sydney Writer’s Festival is held annual every May, and attracts audiences upwards of 80,000 people to over 300 events (more than half of which are guaranteed to be free). The festival brings together leading Australian writers and international “public intellectuals” of every genre to give talks, masterclasses, and conduct discussions. This year, our contributor Lachlan Philpott, also a Fulbright Scholar, was part of a playwriting workshop at the Sydney Writer’s Festival.
Ground Floor, 10 Hickson Rd
The Rocks NSW 2000
Contact them here
The city’s annual Fringe Festival held every September (right now!) is now in it’s 5th year, and seems to be thriving, shaping up to be on par with other international “Fringe institutions”. The Sydney Fringe Festival is dedicated to celebrating the cultural heart of the city, and the art “bubbling underneath the surface of the city”. The Sydney Fringe is set up in five cultural villages across the city, and creating over 600 hundred events in created venues as well as established theatres, including public forums, family events, workshops, and street activations.
Phone: (02) 9550 6087
Post: 5 Eliza Street, Newtown 2042
Office Hours: Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm
NIDA is Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art, a centre of excellence in education and training for theatre, film and television, offering higher education and other courses in a range of disciplines. They offer courses in a range of disciplines, including acting, directing, writing for performance, design, music theatre, production, costume, properties and staging. After opening their doors in 1959 – with two staff members and an enrolment of just 23 students – they have grown to become one of the world’s leading dramatic and performing arts institutes. Their graduates have gone on to work in the arts and entertainment industry throughout Australia and the world.
Telephone: +61 2 9697 7600
215 Anzac Parade
Kensington NSW 2033 Australia
ATYP has been bridging the divide between young people and professional theatre practice since 1963. Australia’s oldest and largest youth theatre company, we are driven to create work that impacts the way young people engage with theatre nationally. Australian Theatre for Young People specialises in integrating professional theatre practice with supportive youth theatre process. We love working with all levels of the arts industry, from the most celebrated national companies to the smallest youth theatres. Our work supports young people from their first theatre experience to their first professional production.
Telephone: +61 2 9270 2400
Pier 4/5 Hickson Road
NSW 2000 – Australia
This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.