Statement from the Board of Sydney Festival
“Sydney Festival’s first show of 2022 will open on Thursday 6 January. It marks the commencement of a Festival comprised of over 118 events, 30 world premieres and 48 new commissions spanning 25 exciting days.
The evolving COVID-19 dynamics across 2021, and now 2022, have presented many challenges for the Festival, covering everything from the way shows are produced to how we engage with venues, artists and audience safely.
COVID-19 Safety Plans are in place for all Festival events and venues and Department of Health regulations, including compulsory face masks for all ticketed events and audience registration, will be followed.
Given the evolving nature of the current COVID-19 outbreak, changes to some performance schedules are expected. COVID-19, of course, remains an ongoing challenge, however, it’s one that the Festival is prepared for, with over 50% of the program taking place in an outdoor setting.
The Board is also conscious of the calls for artists and audiences to boycott the Festival in relation to the Israeli Embassy’s financial support of a performance by the Sydney Dance Company of a work, Decadance, by world renowned Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin. The Sydney Festival Board wishes collectively to affirm its respect for the right of all groups to protest and raise concerns. We spent time with a number of groups who have concerns about this funding and welcomed the opportunity to engage with them. All funding agreements for the current Festival – including for Decadance - will be honoured, and the performances will proceed. At the same time, the Board has also determined it will review its practices in relation to funding from foreign governments or related parties.
We see it as the core role of the Sydney Festival to present art and to provide an inclusive platform for all artists. We aim to profile a diverse representation of work by artists and companies locally, nationally and internationally. We respect the right of any artist to withdraw from the Festival and hope that they will feel able to participate in future festivals.
We likewise respect the many artists who continue to look forward to their participation in this year’s Sydney Festival and welcome them, and audiences to view the art they will present and its myriad of perspectives.
As a Board we ask for respectful dialogue by all individuals and organisations when engaging with artists, especially for the personal decisions that artists make.
We hope you will enjoy the works presented in this year's Sydney Festival and if you are unable to attend, we hope very much to see you at a Sydney Festival event in the near future.”
On behalf of the Board of Sydney Festival