Here is a list of the main theatres and theatre companies in Sydney.
Q – Why, as an actor, is this list helpful?
1 – You’re wanting to get out and about and watch more live theatre. If you do, after all, call yourself an actor and are keen to perform on the Sydney stage, then it is only logical that you are aware of the stages themselves. Visiting regular theatre shows keeps you accountable and helps to inspire your next performance. You will also become familiar with the actors and actresses (your colleagues) who are doing some wonderful things on stage.
2 – You’re thinking of putting on your own theatre show and are looking for venues to hire. Whether it’s a one-person show, or a full-blown musical, there are different venues available.
Some other common questions:
Q – What is the difference between a theatre and a theatre company?
Think of a theatre company as a group of creatives who produce theatre shows. Think of a theatre as the venue where theatre shows take place.
Some theatres simply hire out their venues for shows whereas some other theatres produce their own plays and use their venue to stage them.
Examples of theatres that house their own theatre companies: Griffin, Belvoir, Ensemble.
Examples of theatre venues: Factory Theatre, Riverside Theatres.
A list of THEATRE COMPANIES that move around between theatre venues (not mentioned in the main list below):
- Mad March Hare Theatre
- Clockfire Theatre
- Outhouse Theatre Company
- Lies, Lies and Propaganda
- Kleine Feinheiten
- House of Sand
- Sport for Jove
- The Leftovers Collective
- Apocalypse Theatre Company
- Actors Anonymous
- Blancmange Productions
- Chalkdust Theatre Company
- New Ghosts Theatre Company
- Little Triangle
- Arrive Devise Repeat
- Jack Rabbit Theatre
- Tunks Productions
- Secret House
Q – I am an actor. How do I get hired by a theatre company?
Some of the major theatre companies hold open auditions a couple of times a year. This is an actor’s chance to showcase their acting in front of the theatre company’s director. More often than not, your Acting Agent will be the one to organise this open audition for you.
The best way to keep on top of upcoming general auditions is to frequently visit the theatre company’s websites and social media channels (which we’ve provided in this article).
Q – What is the difference between Main Stage and Independent/Community theatre companies?
Main Stage theatre companies pay MEAA equity wages to their employees (actors, directors etc) whereas Independent theatre companies don’t always. They may offer some form of payment and may also be referred to as co-op or profit-share. Independent and community theatre companies rely heavily on donations and community support to sustain themselves whereas Main Stage companies have other sources of income (notably government) to sustain them.
Oftentimes, Main Stage productions are perceived as more professional and higher quality. However, this is not always the case. Just because an theatre show may be Independent, it can still be as professional and as high quality as Main Stage performances.
Example of Main Stage theatre companies: Sydney Theatre Company, Belvoir, Ensemble, Darlinghurst Theatre Company.
Example of Independent and Community theatre companies: New Theatre, Old 505 Theatre.
List of Theatres in Sydney
Ensemble Theatre, Kirribilli (+ company)
Founded in 1958, Ensemble Theatre is the longest continuously running professional theatre in Australia.
Glen Street Theatre, Frenchs Forest
The Northern Beaches’ most enduring and loved performance space presenting professional theatre productions, music concerts, kids shows and community events.
The Concourse, Chatswood
An initiative of Willoughby City Council, The Concourse is home to a dynamic range of live arts and entertainment. The Concourse incorporates a Concert Hall and Theatre, as well as Rehearsal Centre, Art Space and a multi-purpose function space.
Riverside Theatres, Parramatta (+ Company – National Theatre of Parramatta)
Located on the banks of the Parramatta River, Riverside Theatres is nestled in the midst of the Church Street Restaurant precinct. Pre-show dining and parking is ample, accessible and affordable.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Penrith
The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre was opened in 1990 and presents the best in music, theatre and dance; with world class performances from artists acclaimed nationally and internationally on the same stages that host community festivals, shows and events.
Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Fairfield (+ company)
PYT | Fairfield is the leading professional youth theatre company in Western Sydney. They create new, innovative and inclusive performing arts opportunities led by collaborative processes and participation. Their work is inspired by their local community and engages with concepts of cultural diversity.
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Casula (+ company)
Funded by Arts NSW, the Casula Powerhouse aims to draw on the strengths of its community, to make work that speaks to people both locally and globally. As both producer and presenter, they highlight the skill and creativity of local residents’ works and high-quality exhibitions, performances and programs from groups outside Liverpool.
Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown (+ company)
Contemporary artists are at the forefront of Campbelltown Arts Centre’s programming and through consultation with communities, they deliver a program that profiles contemporary visual arts, performance, dance, music, live art and emergent practices.
Wharf Theatres and Roslyn Packer Theatre (+ Company – Sydney Theatre Company)
Sydney Theatre Company (STC) has been a major force in Australian drama since its establishment in 1978. The Company presents an annual season of diverse productions at its own venues at The Wharf and nearby Roslyn Packer Theatre at Walsh Bay, and as the resident theatre company of the Sydney Opera House.
Genesian Theatre, Sydney (+ Company)
The Genesian Theatre Company celebrated its 70th year as a company in 2014. For over 60 years they have been providing a training ground for young theatre professionals and a place where those who love the theatre can meet, share, and extend their knowledge of the performing arts.
Browse upcoming shows: www.genesiantheatre.com.au/index.php?mode=now
Carriageworks is the largest and most significant contemporary multi-arts centre of its kind in Australia. The Carriageworks Artistic Program provides significant support to leading Australian and international artists through commissioning and presenting contemporary work. The program is artist-led and emerges from Carriageworks’ commitment to reflecting social and cultural diversity.
PACT Theatre, Erskineville
Since 1964 PACT has supported Australia’s most compelling emerging artists to create daring new contemporary performance. They create Australia’s cultural identity by testing new ideas, pushing their practice and engaging with unique methods of audience engagement.
Belvoir, Surry Hills (+ Company)
Belvoir engages Australia’s most prominent and promising playwrights, directors, actors and designers to realise an annual season of work that is dynamic, challenging and visionary. As well as performing at home, Belvoir regularly takes to the road, touring both nationally and internationally.
Capitol Theatre, Haymarket
Lyric Theatre, Pyrmont
Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre , Darling Harbour (+ Company – Monkey Bae Theatre Company)
As resident company at the custom-designed, fully accessible Lendlease Darling Quarter Theatre, Monkey Bae Theatre Company curate an annual season of theatre for young people in school holidays and term time, presenting Monkey Baa plays and work from other Australian and international companies.
Old Fitz, Woolloomoloo (+ Company – Red Line Productions)
Red Line Productions exists to build the best new contemporary theatre and performance practice, building a rigorous community of practice among artists both emerging and established.
Sydney Opera House (+ Company – SOH Presents)
The Sydney Opera House is home to seven flagship Australian performing arts companies two of which are Bell Shakespeare and Sydney Theatre Company. It also houses its own company – Sydney Opera House Presents (SOHP) – which is responsible for a uniquely diverse program spanning Contemporary Music & Performances, Talks & Ideas, Children, Families & Creative Learning, First Nations cultures and Classical Music.
Griffin Theatre, Darlinghurst (+ Company)
Located in the heart of Kings Cross – in the historic SBW Stables Theatre – Griffin has been dedicated to bringing the best Australian stories to the stage for the better part of four decades.
The Eternity Playhouse (+ Company – Darlinghurst Theatre Company), Darlinghurst
Darlinghurst Theatre Company produces professional artists’ theatre production concepts – from concept to major production – and The Eternity Playhouse (opened in November 2013) is the company’s home.
Seymour Centre, Chippendale
Located in the heart of the University of Sydney, the Seymour Centre’s curated programs celebrate the connection between great ideas and great performance. They commission, produce and present major works from Australian and international artists, as well as produce provocative works from independent theatre companies in their Reginald Theatre.
Factory Theatre, Marrickville
As a purpose built, dedicated live entertainment venue, the Factory hosts an array of live music and performances – from international rock concerts to intimate cabaret shows, film and dance.
Depot Theatre, Marrickville
The Depot Theatre collaborates with and hosts an eclectic range of emerging and established independent theatre makers and cultural organisations to develop and stage a wide range of Australian and international works and events.
New Theatre, Newtown (+ Company)
New Theatre is one of Australia’s oldest continuously producing theatres, moving from Pitt Street to Castlereagh Street and then to Kings Cross, until finally settling in its current home on King Street Newtown in 1973. New theatre has played a major role in educating young talent, providing a career springboard for new performers, directors, artists, technicians and playwrights.
Old 505 Theatre, Newtown
The Old 505 Theatre is an artist run performance space focussing on quality performance and community engagement and development. At the heart of what they do is support for original artists.
Kings Cross Theatre, Potts Point (+ Company – bAKEHOUSE)
KXT was established by bAKEHOUSE Theatre Company in late 2015 as part of a plan to help support and grow the arts community in Sydney. bAKEHOUSE has a long history of identifying, engaging, and investing in the risky business of independent theatre, diverse work and new and emerging artists.
Blood Moon Theatre, Potts Point (+ Company)
World Bar in Potts Point has always acted as a sounding board for local and emerging bands, music producers and deejays but they have now recently catered to small theatre companies by opening up Blood Moon Theatre – an intimate 50 seater theatre.
Hayes Theatre, Potts Point (+ Company)
Hayes Theatre Co is a not for profit company governed by a Board of leading industry experts. Named after Australian musical theatre legend, Nancye Hayes AM, the venue is dedicated to honouring the vast history of Australian Musical Theatre and its practitioners and developing the next generation of performers, creatives and producers.
Bondi Pavillion, Bondi Beach (+ Company – Bondi Theatre Company)
Disclaimer: The blurbs above have been taken directly from the specific theatre and theatre company websites.