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To many Sydneysiders, Sydney Festival is as synonymous with summer as sunscreen and citronella candles. Every January since 1977, the entire city lights up with a vibrant celebration of theatre, dance, circus, music, art and ideas. And this year is no exception, with world-class events being held as far and wide as Liverpool, Killara and Blacktown.


If you’re unsure where to start with this year’s impressive lineup and, like us, are interested in all things planning, architecture and design, here are five shows not to miss.


Orange astronaut sculpture standing in front of the Barangaroo ferry terminal in Sydney

1. Apollo 11 at Barangaroo

When: 9 – 27 January

Why you should go: This installation features artworks and participatory experiences that pay tribute to the diverse and under-appreciated heroes of space travel, from astronauts to mathematicians and beyond. Wander the space at Barangaroo and see larger than life astronauts that celebrate the work of diverse heroes of space exploration.


Actors from the play, 'Home' gathered around a dining table

2. Home

When: 9 – 18 January

Why you should go: What makes a house a home? This show from USA’s Geoff Sobelle and Beth Morrison Projects explores the rituals, relationships and drama of everyday lives as they play out in a two-storey home. Audience members join the party, building their own memories inside this transitory stage dwelling.


Inside of Ian Thorpe Pool, Sydney

3. Seidler Salon Series

When: From 11 January

Why you should go: Music and architecture come together in a series of concerts hosted in and around and inspired by the iconic Sydney buildings of Australia’s most famous modernist architect, Harry Seidler. Performances include harpist Mary Lattimore, pianist Elena Kats-Chernin, percussionist Laurence Pike, guitarist Chuck Johnson and cellist Lori Goldston.


Row of chairs against curved wall lit in blue and yellow light

4. Blak Box – Four Winds

When: From 9 January

Why you should go: In Urban Theatre Projects' Blak Box – Four Winds, elders and future leaders from Blacktown’s Aboriginal community invite audiences into a surround-sound listening pavilion, to hear stories and gain a deeper and broader understanding of contemporary Aboriginality.


The blurred figure of a man inside the T5 tank installation

5. T5 Tank Sound Project

When: 20– 27 January

Why you should go: The T5 Tank Sound Project uses cutting-edge audio technology in the most unexpected of places to create a unique space with extraordinary acoustics. The installation takes place in a massive decommissioned military fuel tank built in 1942, hidden away in Mosman. This site-specific sound and performance project immerses the listener in a moving, sometimes overwhelming, sonic response to this extraordinary site, its dark history and its myriad possibilities.


The 2019 Sydney Festival will run from 9 January 2019 - 27 January 2019 at venues across Greater Sydney.