This image: PARTY (VERB) Dancing at a rat party – late 1980s
Featured image – MY URRAWAI Photo Credit- David Collins

The Sydney Opera House today announced the program for Festival UnWrapped, a bi-annual celebration of diverse, new and risk-taking works from some of Australia’s most admired contemporary performance makers.

Originally launched in 2018 as part of the Sydney Opera House’s Artist and Sector Development initiative, this year’s first Festival UnWrapped features five critically acclaimed works from 3 –  19 May 2019.


Festival UnWrapped, May 2019 includes:

 – The Sydney premiere of Ali McGregor’s Yma Sumac: The Peruvian Songbird. McGregor brings to life the fascinating story and exquisite music of legendary Peruvian soprano, Yma Sumac, famous for her five-octave range, mambo and exotica albums, and larger-than-life personality;

 My Urrwai, a deeply personal journey into the life stories, family and culture of Torres Strait Island dancer, comic, teacher, TV star and sometime guitarist, Ghenoa Gela. In this rare and intimate performance, My Urrwai explores the interplay of political, social and colonial expectations that Gela dances with daily; (You can read the SAG review here.)

 Party (verb), a joyful celebration of halcyon party nights, revelry and togetherness. Trailblazing performance artist and photographer William Yang traces the effervescent history of Sydney’s iconic queer underground party scene accompanied by live music from celebrated DJs Stereogamous;

THE DIRECTOR Photo Credit – Bryony Jackson

 – The Sydney premiere of The Director. Armed with humour and first-hand experience, charismatic ex-funeral director Scott Turnbull and artist and creator Lara Thoms disclose and demystify the macabre and sometimes playful elements of the ‘death industry’; and

– PYT Fairfield’s frank and powerful work, Playlist exploring the state of feminisms through pop culture and music. Drawing on the lives and perspectives of five young performers from Western Sydney, Playlist unpacks women’s experiences – particularly those of young women of colour – in an adrenaline rush of spoken word, street dance and pop songs. (You can read the SAG Review here.)

There is also Artists Talk: Performing Selves – artist talk with Genoa Gela (My Urrwai); William Yang (Party (verb)); May Tran – Playlist; Lara Thoms (The Director) – 3pm 18 May – FREE (via registration)

See more at the SOH website where all tickets are now on sale.

Yma Sumac: The Peruvian Songbird. Image credit – Rich Hardcastle