New Sydney Festival director Wesley Enoch has a message for Sydney: with Parramatta now the fourth-largest city in Australia, with a diverse ethnic make-up and prodigious and vibrant cultural output, it deserves its own unique programming for the January festival.

“As the artistic director my job is to find the science behind things, the reasons. With Parramatta and the whole concept of Western Sydney – the way it’s expanding – you have to ask if it deserves to be considered its own heartland of programming, not just an offshoot of Sydney,” says Enoch.

“The demographic, the cultural diversity – what do you do to pull together what can seem like disparate groups? I’ve been looking for ways to bind them together.”

Enoch held a separate event earlier today to launch the Parramatta and Western Sydney arm of the festival’s program, with a line-up he hopes will reflect and inspire the region’s rich cultural melting pot.

Myuran Sukumaran – Another Day in Paradise
The plight of the convicted “Bali 9” drug smuggler-turned-artist caught the world’s attention. Now, 18 months after his death, friend and mentor Ben Quilty curates the first major exhibition by the artist. It features more than 100 works by Sukumaran, alongside commissioned artworks by leading local artists including Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Megan Cope and Khaled Sabsabi, exploring the transformative power of art, the death penalty and human rights. World premiere

January 13- March 26.

Ich Nibber Dibber
Australian collective Post (Zoë Coombs Marr, Mish Grigor and Natalie Rose) celebrates 10 years of creative collaboration. Ich Nibber Dibber is a self-reflective piece of drama, comedy and political commentary about coming of age in the 21st century and the way we make sense of the world with those nearest to us. World premiere

Finishes Jan 28.

Bayala
In a celebration of the Indigenous heritage of Sydney and the growing movement to reawaken local language, Sydney Festival will present a range of free language classes as part of Bayala (“speak” in the Indigenous Sydney language) working with local Darug and Eora community leaders and language experts.

January 7-29.

Symphony Under The Stars
For the first time, Symphony Under The Stars will be held in Parramatta, alongside the regular Symphony in the Domain – a free outdoor concert with Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Finishes January 28.

Sydney Festival runs from January 7-29, 2017. Multipack tickets (three tickets or more) are on sale 9am Thursday October 27. Single tickets are on sale 9am Monday October 31.

sydneyfestival.org.au

Updated on January 27 2016.