Australians are passionate theatre-goers and avid about musicals, which enjoy long, sold-out seasons in our cities. See Australian acting luminaries such as Cate Blanchet and Geoffrey Rush tread the boards at the Sydney Theatre Company or enjoy a blockbuster musical in Melbourne’s opulent theatre district. You’ll find theatre, dance and orchestra under one multi-arts roof in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Watch performing arts in Hobart’s heritage warehouses, join culture-loving politicians in Canberra’s Civic Theatre or discover Darwin’s distinctive dramatic style.
The whole gamut of theatre is on offer in Sydney, from high-brow to commercial to experimental. Catch a high-profile production at the Sydney Theatre Company, which has a picturesque harbourside position near The Rocks. As well as often playing on stages here, acclaimed actress Cate Blanchett oversees the company’s creative program with her husband, director Andrew Upton. Sydney also has a thriving independent theatre scene, starting with the Stables Theatre in Kings Cross, Belvoir Street Theatre in Surry Hills and Newtown Theatre in the inner-west. Catch a mainstream musical at the Theatre Royal on King St, the Capitol in Haymarket or the Lyric Theatre in Pyrmont. You can also see what’s playing at the palatial State Theatre.
If Melbourne makes you feel like bursting into song, it may be because many renowned musicals are staged here. See legendary musical productions such as Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Cats or Guys and Dolls at the majestic 1886 Princess Theatre in Spring Street. It’s just one of the landmark heritage buildings in Melbourne’s central theatre district. You’ll find more smash-hit musicals on offer in Her Majesty's Theatre just around the corner. For quality stage dramas, head to the Arts Centre, the Malthouse Theatre or the MTC Theatre, which all lie in the bustling cultural precinct of Southbank.
Many Australian cities have huge multi-arts centres which house a number of theatres. You’ll find two of Brisbane’s most popular theatres under the one roof at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in South Bank. For independent theatre, try Brisbane’s West End or the Brisbane Powerhouse.
Take your pick of performances at the Adelaide Festival Centre, also headquarters for South Australia’s opera, theatre, dance and orchestra companies. In Perth, the Institute of Contemporary Arts stages many cutting-edge productions. You can also see plays in Perth’s Playhouse and Blue Room Theatres, the Subiaco Arts Centre and the theatres of the University of Western Australia. Or catch a musical in His Majesty Theatre, reputed to be Australia’s only remaining working Edwardian theatre.
In Hobart, the Salamanca Arts Centre is a heritage hub for the performing arts. Get into the drama here or glimpse the rumoured ghost at the Theatre Royal, Australia’s oldest theatre. In Canberra, the Theatre Centre in Civic showcases a range of performing arts, or you can check out the Street Theatre for good local productions.
Darwin has three main theatres where you can see quality Top End productions – the Darwin Theatre Company, Darwin Entertainment Centre and the intimate, historic Browns Mart Theatre in Harry Chan Ave. In August you can get outdoors for the Darwin Festival, an eclectic mix of theatre, comedy and cabaret.
Celebrate your theatrical passions in Australia, where plays and musicals are staged daily in all our major cities.