Sydney is the place to be if you’re looking for the best live entertainment around. The city is jam packed with lively and unusual venues that put on a range of performances. From cabaret to pop, dance to opera, Sydney’s live entertainment scene offers something for everyone. Discover 6 of the city’s best venues below.
1. Factory Theatre
Head out to the vibrant suburb of Marrickville to find this performing arts theatre. There’s something on their schedule for everyone, from cabaret shows up to big-name band performances. They’ve also got a packed comedy programme if you fancy something funny. An array of food trucks and bars are on Factory Theatre’s doorstep, so finding the perfect pre-show snack will be a breeze. The Theatre is committed to nurturing emerging performers, so be sure to stop by and discover your next favourite artist. You can view their upcoming shows here.
Image Credit: @factory_theatre
2. Art Gallery of NSW Art After Hours
During the summer months the Art Gallery of NSW opens up for after hours tours, talks, and performances. This free programme of events lets you explore the museum without the daytime crowds. Dance performances, live music, and film screenings are also on offer so there’s something to suit every taste. Make sure to hop on a ‘Mystery Tour’ to find out more about the gallery’s collections, or kick back in the café. You can find the current Art After Hours programme here.
Image Credit: @artgalleryofnsw
3. Enmore Theatre
As the longest running live entertainment venue in Sydney, Enmore Theatre is an institution. Opened in 1912, the venue was originally a silent film cinema, and from the 1980s has hosted live music and other performances. Big-name headliners have included Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and Oasis among others, while comedy nights and gala performances are also on offer. Sit back and enjoy superb acoustics and affordable drinks in this historic venue. A full programme for Enmore Theatre is available here.
Image Credit: @enmore_theatre
4. Open Air Cinema
Sydney is blessed with the perfect climate for outdoor entertainment. From pop-up to permanent cinemas, this is the place to be for fresh air films. Skyline Drive-In is Sydney’s last remaining drive-in cinema, and as such draws huge crowds. The 1950s theme runs throughout the venue, even into the diner-style food on offer. Classic movies and blockbuster hits make up the schedule, while late-night horror screenings turn up the spooky factor. During the summer be sure to check out Westpac OpenAir, a pop-up cinema that claims the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as its backdrop. Plenty of films are on offer throughout the season, as are some elevated cinema-style snacks.
Image Credit: @skylinedrivein
5. Sydney Opera House
No list of live entertainment venues in Sydney would be complete without this icon. Since opening in 1973 it’s played host to some of the biggest names in music, from the operatic soprano Birgit Nilsson to Thin Lizzy. There’s around 40 shows on offer each week, which include dance, theatre, circus performances and, of course, opera. The interior is just as impressive as the iconic exterior, and guarantees an unforgettable experience. Alternatively, tours of the building are available for those pressed for time. You can check out their current programme here.
Image Credit: @sydneyoperahouse
Despite some red tape setbacks, the busking scene in Sydney is as vibrant as ever. Get to know the city while seeking out this free entertainment, which can be found in a number of hotspots. Pitt St Mall is a great place to start, where its tight restrictions guarantee high quality performances. It’s even been likened to the busker’s equivalent of Broadway! Circular Quay offers a range of performers, from painters to magicians, but is also noted for its Aboriginal artists. Stop by to admire the views of the Opera House while soaking up some free entertainment. Take the ferry from the Quay over to Manly, where a range of younger performers draw big crowds on the Corso.