Sydney's transformed performing arts village
Planning a Sydney weekend away? Well, why not base yourself in Walsh Bay. Tucked just next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge this area of the city is steeped in history and is abuzz with theatre and the arts like the Sydney Theatre Company, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Bangarra Dance Theatre, to name just a few!
The finger wharves lining the Walsh Bay foreshore house the luxurious Pier One hotel, numerous theatres, delicious restaurants and fabulous views around every bend, all within walking distance of Barangaroo, The Rocks, and Circular Quay.
First step, book a show or two!
Walsh Bay is the place to see performances from some of the best actors, musicians and dancers in Australia. It’s home to nine resident companies
Sydney Theatre Company offers audiences an eclectic program of Australian plays, interpretations of the classics, and the best new international shows at their Pier 4/5 venue The Wharf or nearby Roslyn Packer Theatre. With a stellar 2022 season ahead there are plenty of shows to pique your interest.
Sydney Dance Company is one of the world’s strongest forces in contemporary dance. It's not only the training ground for aspiring professional dancers but also offers studio classes to the general public. Enjoy a coffee in their foyer café, surrounded by some of Australia’s best dancers. Or book a show to see them on the stage.
Pier 2/3 is home to the Bell Shakespeare Company specialising in the works of William Shakespeare, as the name suggests. A 2022 season highlight is The Lovers A new musical by Laura Murphy, based on A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The Australian Chamber Orchestra also calls Pier 2/3 home and has lots of shows coming up including There’s A Sea In My Bedroom, An Unauthorised History Of Classical Music, and a Relaxed Performance of Bach.
Photo credit Brett Boardman
In 2022 the Australian Theatre For Young People who are offering a world first, a season of fully professional youth theatre productions. Each play in the season I performed by extraordinary young artists, working in partnership with industry leaders. They are funny, cheeky, joyous, heartbreaking, and bold … but they are not always polite, they are rarely well behaved and they can make you blush.
The Sydney Philharmonia Choirs 2022 season offers favourite masterpieces, thrilling contemporary works, and exciting new commissions to enjoy.
Bangarra Dance Theatre is a company of professional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers. Whose upcoming performances of Terrain and Sandsong: Stories from the Great Sandy Desert will both be performed at the Sydney Opera House (a 30-minute walk from Walsh Bay).
Gondwana Choirs comprises of the most accomplished choral groups of young people in Australia; Sydney Children’s Choir, Gondwana National Choirs, and Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir.
The Song Company is a vocal ensemble, that sings music from all times and places.
Make sure you stop by Vermilion Art Gallery on Hickson Road. This commercial gallery specialises in contemporary Chinese art with many diverse exhibitions throughout the year including emerging artists right through to more established names.
Where to eat and drink
Starting with breakfast. A buffet-style breakfast is available at Pier One Hotel or if that’s not your style wander down to Zupano Espresso Bar or BarCycle where you can enjoy breakfast with stunning views of the Walsh Bay Piers.
Ventuno Restaurant is a mouth-watering option for lunch or dinner, serving a contemporary Italian menu featuring antipasti, pasta, and pizza (including some delish gluten-free options). Sit back at one of their outdoor tables, enjoy the view with an ice-cold Peroni in hand and peruse their menu. I recommend the Italia pizza with San Marzano, fior di latte, cherry tomato, prosciutto di Parma, and basil; and the Pumpkin Ravioli with sage and basil pesto, whipped ricotta, crispy sage to share. Deliziosa!
Within walking distance, there is also Jounieh Walsh Bay with its Middle Eastern fare, Lotus Dumpling Bar, and Walsh Bay Kitchen to name a few. Or if you are after fine dining, then book into The Gantry restaurant within Pier One Hotel.
Finishing the night with beers at the Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel or a nightcap at Pier One’s in-house bar Bar One.
We recommend staying at Pier One, situated right next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the views and location of this hotel are incomparable. It’s pure luxury!
Enjoy more than just a comfy night’s sleep at Pier One. The rooms are stylishly appointed and exude a boutique vibe, all within a wonderfully historic building.
Downstairs, Bar One is a splendid spot to watch the sunset across Walsh Bay. We recommend ordering a cocktail and heading out onto the deck to catch the pink hues as the sun goes down, amid a brisk sea breeze and boats zooming past.
Pier One is also home to The Gantry Restaurant, a fine dining establishment with spectacular views and cuisine. It also has a special pre-show set menu.
Photo credit Anna Kucera.
Writer travelled to Walsh Bay as a guest of Walsh Bay Arts & Commerce.