Encounter Sydney’s raw energy hits the Opera House

Artist musician Warren Foster Jr will play the role of “story keeper” in the show, with a monologue that begins: “My body is a story and I can stretch it over to yours.”

The show also features a recorded soundtrack by Jodi Phillis from The Clouds and The Go Betweens’ Amanda Brown, and performed by the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra.

“The music sounds to me like somewhere between an Almodovar film and a hugely cinematic open expanse of sound that’s as big as the impression we get from looking up at the opera house sails,” Saunders said.

Dancer Josh O’Connor said dancing outside the landmark building was “definitely a challenge” for the performers whose backgrounds include Highland dance, samba and musical theater.

“It’s totally different from being on a stage where you know where everybody is, where the light will hit you and where the audience is sitting,” he said. “Hopefully, no one will trip, knock on wood.”

sydney will be performed in the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House from May 18 to 22 as part of the UnWrapped season of shows by independent artists.


Sydney Opera House’s head of programming Fiona Winning wanted to bring the dance show to the city after seeing it performed in Parramatta at the 2020 Sydney Festival.

“A lot of outdoor works build big infrastructure but this work relies on the energy and visibility of the dancers in an urban space,” she said. “Its combination of great music, performed text and physicality is powerful and exciting to watch.”

Winning said the show was “a joy bomb in many ways, an eruption of raw energy and physicality”.

“Emma Saunders’ work with these young dancers uses simple provocations responding to the actual site – the monumental steps, the podium and the expanse of the forecourt back to the city,” she said.


Winning said UnWrapped was designed to support a sector brimming with energy and innovation but few resources.

“We support the creation and presentation of new work and the presentation of recently premiered work that is unique and has something to say about contemporary life,” she said.

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