Festival makes welcome return to Parramatta

SYDNEY Festival will return to Parramatta on January 19 to 26, with a big line-up of local and international artists.

The festival is expected to attract people from all over Sydney.

Local and international theatre, music and films will be presented at the Riverside Theatres and Prince Alfred Park will have it's very own Spiegeltent filled with music and late-night cabaret.

There will also be a program of free events.

Sydney Festival director Lieven Bertels said the Sydney Festival is an event that everyone should experience at least one time in their lives.

"We have really good quality shows that we are bringing to Parramatta," Mr Bertels said.

"I'm really looking forward to the festival and we have something to entertain all ages."

Check out performances happening in Parramatta below or go to sydneyfestival.org.au for further details.

■ Archie Roach

Archie Roach is celebrated as one of Australia's most gifted artists.

Since his 1990 debut he has released many more albums and toured with the likes of Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Patti Smith and more.

At the Sydney Festival, Roach will perform songs from his new album Into The Bloodstream and will be accompanied by a 13-piece music ensemble and a 10-voice gospel choir.

Date: January 26 at The Parade Ground at Old King's. Cost: Free.

■ Briefs

A disorderly line-up of Australia's finest performers and mischief-makers in a circus-infused variety show for the not so faint hearted.

Date: From January 18 to 27 at the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent.

Cost: $40.

■ Lah-Lah

Lovable characters Buzz the Bandleader, Lola the dancing double bass, Tom Tom the drums, Mister Saxophone and Squeezy Sneezy the accordion join their ring leader Lah-Lah in a musical spectacular that will have the kids grinning and shimmying to the beat.

Date: January 26, from 7pm, at The Parade Ground at Old King's.

Cost: Free.

■ Leah Flanagan

Leah Flanagan will sing a collection of songs from her latest album Midnight Muses.

The album was inspire by poet Sam Wagan Watson's award-winning work Smoke Encrypted Whispers.

Date: January 20 at the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent.

Cost: $30.

■ Lianne La Havas

Londoner Lianne La Havas will perform her neo-soul teamed with folk-pop hits which feature off her Mercury Prize nominated album, Is Your Love Big Enough?.

Date: January 22 and January 23, at 7pm, at the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent.

Cost: $35.

■ The New Mendicants

Norman Blake and Joe Pernice, who make up The New Mendicants will have in awe when they perform new material.

Date: January 26 at 7pm and 27 at 5pm, at Salon Perdu Spiegeltent.

Cost: $35.

■ Para Opening Party

The heart of Parramatta will be transformed into an extravaganza that welcomes everyone to experience some of Sydney Festival's best shows.

Bring the kids and enjoy an afternoon of music and activities in and around Riverside Theatres.

Explore The Megaphone Project along Church Street; listen to a symphony of car stereos by composer Matthew Timmis in Car-Cophony and check out the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent in Prince Alfred Park

Date: January 19 in and around Parramatta streets and parks.

Cost: Free.

■ Saskwatch

Melbourne nine-piece Saskwatch take cues from the likes of James Brown and Aretha Franklin, as well as modern soul music.

Leading the pack is singer Nkechi Anele, and she will attempt to take audiences from the depths of heartache to overwhelming joy at the festival.

Date: January 18, at 7pm, at Salon Perdu Spiegeltent.

Cost: $30.

■ The Megaphone Project

Twenty-five bright red megaphones of different shapes and sizes will transform Parramatta into a fun audio playground for both the young and old. Shout, speak or sing into one of these special instruments and listen to voices mysteriously return via a custom-designed wireless audio network.

Date: January 19 to 26 and will be located along Church Street and Riverside Walk.

Cost: Free

■ Urban

Set against the backdrop of Colombian city Cali, URBAN conjures the rhythm and character of dark street life where life and death are linked.

The cast of Urban will perform spine-tingling acrobatic to a pulsating soundtrack.

Date: January 15 to 27 at the Riverside Theatres.

Cost: $58/Group (4+) $49.75.

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