Tag Archives: Sydney Festival 2019


From his dramatic entry from the rear of the Magic Mirror Spiegeltent to his closing with a singalong version of Whitney Houston’s HOW WILL I KNOW, Le Chateau Chocolat comes up  with a fantastic show. Admittedly, in the singalong he didn’t think the Sydney audience was up to reaching the high notes so he said that he would take it from there. This and similar asides during the concert were performed with charm and humour.

He performs a variety of songs from his musical heroes and links them with stories about his life. Madonna is his number one icon but he also plays loving tributes to various disco artists, David Bowie, Meatloaf, Pavarotti and a few fairly eclectic performers. His interpretations are heartfelt, innovative and make full use of his wide ranging powerful voice.

Le Gateau Chocolat entertains us with his soundtrack from when he completed the London marathon. When the audience laughs at his finishing time he takes them to task, explaining what a herculean task it was and the similarities he now has with Usain Bolt! Continue reading LE GATEAU CHOCOLAT ‘ICONS’ : A FANTASTIC SHOW


The 2019 Sydney Festival has started with a bang and one of the major events is the Australian premiere of La Passion de Simone . Written by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, with a libretto in French by Amin Maaloufit it is presented at Carriageworks by Sydney Chamber Opera in association with The Song Company.

Musically and visually superb, it is a powerful and hypnotic production.Directed by Imara Savage it looks at the life of Simone Weil , who was an intellectual, Marxist and pacifist, philosopher, political activist and mystic whose despair at the course of world events led her to starve herself and pass away in 1943 aged just 34. Weil died of tuberculosis after weakening herself by fasting in sympathy with the starving people of France, having spent the preceding decade travelling through Nazi Germany and revolutionary Spain in an attempt to understand the causes and nature of oppressive régimes.

After involvement in the Spanish Civil War, Weil, a secular Jew, converted to Christianity, fleeing France with her family during World War II and working with the French Resistance from London.

The show is based in the Passion Play tradition with episodes of Weil’s life linked to the Stations of the Cross. One scene includes how she worked for a while in a factory among the oppressed workers then rejected the robotic, virtually forced labour. Continue reading LA PASSION DE SIMONE @ CARRIAGEWORKS


Production images: Brett Boardman

Playing as part of Sydney Festival 2019, THE MAN WITH THE IRON NECK, a powerful new work by leading physical theatre company Legs on the Wall and Ursula Yovich, is about a family embracing life after trauma.  Weaving together a story written by Yovich, with aerial performance and innovative video design, this bold and tender story addresses the issue of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths.

In one of our favourite interviews this year, The Guide had the chance to speak with the deeply humanist and completely captivating writer and performer, Ursula Yovich.

SAG:                      This is a very exciting project.  I gather it began with Josh Bond’s original concept and work some ten years ago. (Bond is co-director with Gavin Robins) Then you came on as an actor before you started to work on the text?

URSULA:              Yes.  I wasn’t available for the initial workshops but I had committed to joining as an actor and I think at that time they were having some discussions around the writing and that’s when they asked if I’d be involved as a writer. Continue reading SUNDAY SERIES: URSULA YOVICH IN INTERVIEW ABOUT THE MAN WITH THE IRON NECK


This image: Bayala. Credit Jamie Williams
Featured image: Blak Box. Credit Barton Taylor
From the Sydney Festival program.  
Sydney Festival's vision for reconciliation is to formally and informally engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and communities, and to positively contribute to closing the gap between Indigenous and other Australians.

The Guide had the opportunity to email some questions to one of the Associate Producers, Georgia Mokak, about 2019’s First Nations program.  Georgia Mokak is a proud Djugun woman from Broome, grew up on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country in Canberra and is now based on Gadigal Country.

SAG:                 Thank you for taking the time to chat with us about the First Nations program for the Sydney festival.  There are so many vibrant activities for Festival goer to immerse in, from First Nations language classes to the campfire feel of Blak Box, aren’t there?

GEORGIA:     It’s super exciting to see such a spectrum of Blak arts in this year’s program. It is great to see some works that are really exciting and pushing boundaries around what defines First Nations art and encouraging important conversations and promoting a deeper understanding of Aboriginality today. Continue reading SUNDAY SERIES: INTERVIEW ABOUT THE FIRST NATIONS PROGRAM FOR SF19


This image: Nakhane. Credit Tarryn Hatchett
Featured image: Orquesta Akokan_National Sawdust – credit_Adrien H. Tillmann

Sydney Festival 19 has a Spotify playlist and this week The Guide spent many pleasurable hours listening to a wide variety of music from some of the fantastic artists who will perform at the festival.

Some of our favourites:

Julia Holter: ‘Words I Heard’.  With an eerie voice and an otherworldly feel, this surprisingly meditative song still has brass and power in the music.

Orquesta Akokán: ‘Mambo Rapido’. It’s impossible to stay still when the big band breaks out with those trumpets.  A real pick-me-up of a song.

Nakhane: ‘Interloper’.  There’s a dance feel underneath the haunting themes here but this is one to sit and immerse.

Elena Kats-Chernin: ‘Lullaby for Nick’. The piano is front and centre in this lilting, lyrical offering which calms and smooths out the cares of the day.

Spinifex Gum: ‘Malungungu’. With an unbeatable beat and superb voices raises to the sky, this song speaks directly to Australians who love their country.

And the song on most repeat?

Les Filles de Illighadad. ‘Eghass Malan’  Addictive harmonies and complex musical references with a pulsing Afro rhythm that is head bopping heaven.

Spinifex Gum. Credit Daniel Pockett

All things Sydney Festival:
Sydney Festival Website and Digital Program
Sydney Festival 19 Teaser Video


This Image: One. Infinity. Credit Gregory Lorenzutti
Featured Image: A Ghost in My Suitcase. Credit Stefan Gosatti

In our QUEST FOR THE BEST OF THE FEST we turned our attention this week to preparations. Head of Production John Bayley was very generous with his time  to answer some questions about the the work that gets done before  Sydney Festival 2019.

SAG:     There are so many venues across the festival, 32 by my count from the back of the program. I imagine each would have very specific challenges so as to bring the physical place in line with the artistic requirements?

JOHN:    At the festival we always try to choose the right venue for the show. That’s the ideal. When that’s not possible we work closely with the venue to understand just how far we can push and what we can do to make a show work.

Our aim is to create an environment where an artist can do their best work. Sometimes we create that environment in the space , but also it can be by surrounding the artist with the best people or equipment for their show. All of us enjoy the challenge of making a venue work. Continue reading SUNDAY SERIES: A SNEAK PEAK BACKSTAGE AT THE SYDNEY FESTIVAL.


This image: Silent Disco
Featured Image: Sydney Symphony Under The Stars

Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’

The Sydney Festival has a commitment to Sustainability and their definition as been adopted from the Brundtland Commission’s definition of sustainable development.

You can read the document in full at the Sydney Festival  website.  It covers such areas as power, waste, water and transport.  It also includes information about physical elements such as signage and advertising.

"With an estimated audience of 450 000, over 50 venues with performances by over 800 artists from Australia and abroad, the impact of resource consumption, waste creation, transportation, and greenhouse gas emissions is considerable.

In collaboration with our artists, venues, suppliers, staff, crew, volunteers and, importantly, with our audience together we can meaningfully reduce our resource consumption, waste creation, and our greenhouse gas emissions, so that together we meet our vision for a truly Sustainable Sydney Festival.

We will be enlisting your help to reduce our impact because; we believe that together we really can make a difference." (Sydney Festival Website)

All things Sydney Festival:
Sydney Festival Website and Digital Program
Sydney Festival 19 Teaser Video


This image: Biladurang. Credit Pippa Samaya                                                                                            Featured image: Apollo 11. Credit Tony (Li) Tang

Once again the announcement of  The Sydney Festival 2019 brings a pleasurable nightmare of choices.

Human history on display as the Festival swings from  the moon landing , through Mambo  music  of the 40s & 50s and  Shanghai in the 30’s,  on to Romanian Jews in 1908 Canada, back further to reflect on colonisation and then back, back, back to ancient inspiration from our platypus. Continue reading SYDNEY FESTIVAL PROGRAM ANNOUNCED: TIME FOR CHOOSING.