Joan Sutherland Theatre Seating Plan – Sydney Opera House

Joan Sutherland Seating Plan
Sydney Opera House

sydney opera house john sutherland theatre

Joan Sutherland Theatre

The second biggest performance venue in the Sydney Opera House, the Joan Sutherland Theatre is a visual delight unlike any other. Housed beneath the second largest sail of the Opera House, this theatre boasts a proscenium arch that adds much to its appeal. Named in honor of legendary Australian soprano, Joan Sutherland, the theatre is the Sydney home of the Australian Ballet and the Sydney Theatre Company. Originally named the Opera Theatre, the venue underwent a name change in 2012 to commemorate Dame Joan Sutherland, who was often described as the ‘voice of the century’, for her gift of powerful performance talent and impeccable voice.

Officially the largest proscenium arch theatre in the Opera House, the Joan Sutherland Theatre has a couple of additional structural changes that set it apart from other theatres. For one, scenery for each performance is moved to the stage from a level below via lifts instead of being moved from the sides. The second is that a net covers the orchestra pit after an actual chicken walked off the stage straight into the orchestra pit! Over the years, the Joan Sutherland Theatre has hosted some truly iconic individuals, musicals, comedy shows and modern music performances. Legends like Deborah Cheetham, Yoko Ono, Joan Sutherland (of course), Sir Robert Helpmann, Kraftwerk, and many others. If you're looking forward to watching a show at the venue, our Sydney Opera House Joan Sutherland Theatre seating plan guide is here to help.

Total Capacity: The Joan Sutherland Theatre has 1,507 seats in total.

Best Seats in the Theatre: Opt for the middle seats in rows D to H of the stalls section if you're looking for a great view of the stage. The middle seats of the first two rows of the circle section are also considered premium since they are not obstructed and offer a clean view of the stage.

Best Value for Money Seats: If you don't wish to overspend on tickets, opt for the value-for-money seats located in the corner of the middle rows in the stalls. The middle row seats of the circle are also great since the view offered is pretty decent for the price that is charged for them.

Joan Sutherland Theatre Seating Chart

Premium Seats

A Reserve

B Reserve

C Reserve

D Reserve

E Reserve

F Reserve

Navigating the Theatre

Housing 1507 seats that are spread across three sections, the layout of the Joan Sutherland Theatre is pretty straight forward. The three sections, stalls, circle and box, all offer a different view of the stage. Let's look at each section in detail to give you a better idea of how exactly the seats are placed and the view they offer.


The first of three seating sections in the Joan Sutherland Theatre is the stalls. Shaped like an inverted U with a jazzed pattern on either side, this section houses some great seats. While the slight curve of the rows leads to the extreme corner seats offering a side view of the stage, the middle seats across all rows are great. There are no aisles separating the seats in this section, with seats available in one block together. With 22 rows, labelled from A to X, the stalls is the biggest seating section in the theatre.

Royal Circle

The second seating section in the theatre is the circle. This section also curves initially but then tapers off into a square-esque shape, forming an inverted T of sorts. The view from the first few rows is great, with no obstructions and a clean look at the stage. There are 13 rows in total, labelled from A to P and the seats fall in the range of 1 to 49, moving right to left.

Box Seats

While not a full-fledged section like the stalls and the circle, the box section houses some great seats. Located on either side of the stage, box B and box Y house 12 rows of two to three seats each. Also called the loge, the box seats are special since they make for a more intimate viewing experience and are especially recommended for date night.

Shows playing at Joan Sutherland Theatre - Tickets

west side story sydney
West Side Story
from AU$ 48.09
Musical Fans
Fans of Jerome Robbins
Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes
West Side Story is one of Broadway’s greatest musicals of all time. The show features songs, including ‘Maria’, ‘Tonight’, ‘I Feel Pretty’ and ‘Somewhere’, which are popular even today. The story revolves around two young people whose happiness is destroyed by the rift between two rival gangs in New York City's urban jungle. The Jets, sons of previous immigrants to America, battle the new arrivals from Puerto Rico, the Sharks, for domination of the streets.
Director Joey McKneely’s vibrant new staging will feature some of Australia’s most exciting young talent performing Jerome Robbins’ original ground-breaking choreography. The show brings the ideal fusion of dance, music, and theater at one of Australia’s most iconic theatres.
The marriage of figarro sydney
The Marriage of Figarro
from AU$ 99
Fans of Mozart
Duration: 3 hours 35 minutes
This classic by Mozart has been entertaining crowds for centuries with its fast-paced libretto and witty writing. The show tells the story of the Count, who desires Susanna, his valet Figaro’s bride-to-be. She might just be a servant but she refuses to give the Count what he wants. Figaro is outraged, but he’s got bigger problems: he owes money to a spinster who will let his debt go only if he marries her. The Countess, sick of her husband’s wandering eye, takes Susanna’s help to win him back.
They all enlist the help of Cherubino, the lovesick youth who loves the Countess. The music features phenomenal trios, quartets, and sextets, and the story has all the elements for a perfect drama: lovers and liaisons, disguises and tricks, and lust and laughter. Sir David McVicar’s naturalistic staging opens a “comic cauldron of sex and social politics” (Limelight), where the comedy has a dark, sharp edge.
Il viaggio a Reims sydney
Il viaggio a Reims
from AU$ 167
Gioachino Rossini Fans
Fans of Italian Opera
Duration: 3 hours 20 minutes
Il Viaggio a Reims, or The Journey to Reims, was originally written by Rossini to dazzle the aristocracy at the crowning of Charles X. Believed to be lost, the score was found in the Library of the Music Academy of Santa Cecilia in Rome in 1977. The play, set to premiere in Australia this year, has a simple plot but a string of fantastic arias and ensemble pieces.
In Damiano Michieletto’s playful take, the eccentric cast of characters finds themselves in a gallery filled with the masterworks of art history. Velázquez’s enormous dresses jostle for space with Keith Haring’s cheerful murals. It’s a surreal world, where artworks step out of the frame and come to life the moment the lights go out.
carmen sydney
from AU$ 99
Georges Bizet Fans
Fans of Classical Music
Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes
This vibrant production of Bizet's opera features glamorous girls, bull­fighting boys, smugglers in suits, parades and punches, and lust and loathing. Written in 1845, the show includes groovy Spanish tunes, such as the famous Toreador Song and flirty Habanera. But beneath these catchy rhythms, the dark undercurrent of fate pulses.
The play follows the story of Carmen, the femme fatale who teases death with every beat, and Don Jose, a soldier captivated by Carmen despite being engaged. The theme revolves around love, betrayal, outlaws and a crime of passion. John Bell's production is a bold look on the wild love that promises freedom while binding the lovers in an unbreakable web of fate.
la boheme sydney
La Boheme
from AU$ 99
Fans of Romantic Tales
Lovers of Opera
Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes
La Boheme is one of the most famous operas, known for its music by Giacomo Puccini and libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. The story focuses on Rodolfo, a poet, and Mimi, a grisette, as they sort through their emotions while still maintaining their Bohemian outlook to life. Their raw emotions are too deep for words, and only music can truly express their feelings. We also see a parallel liaison between Rodolfo’s roommate Marcello and the beautiful Musetta. This pair both contrasts and mirrors Rodolfo and Mimi’s relationship. Set in 1930s Berlin, the plot is loosely based on Scènes de la vie de Bohème by French poet and novelist Henri Murger.
Great Opera Hits sydney
Great Opera Hits
from AU$ 69
Lovers of Opera
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
The Great Opera Hits are relaxed concerts that take place in the afternoons as the sun sets across the Sydney Harbour, and last around 90 minutes. Listen to famous arias from Bizet, Puccini, Rossini, and Verdi performed by some of Opera Australia’s finest opera singers, accompanied by piano. Some of the highlights include:
• Bizet, The Toreador Song from Carmen
• Bizet, 'Au fond du temple saint' from The Pearlfishers
• Mozart, ‘Non più andrai’ from The Marriage of Figaro
• Puccini, 'E lucevan le stelle' from Tosca
• Puccini, 'Nessun dorma' from Turandot
• Verdi, 'Sempre libera' from La Traviata

Which Seats Offer the Best View

Given the unique structure of the Joan Sutherland Theatre and number of seats on offer, you have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to the best seats in the house. Seats 23 to 27 in the front rows (C to F) are generally considered the best in the theatre and offer the most direct look at the theatre possible. If you like watching shows from a reasonable height,the front row of the circle section should be your pick.

Which Seats Offer the Best Value for Money

Not wanting to spend a big chunk of money on theatre tickets, especially when you're a tourist, is completely understandable. Luckily, there are many value for money seats available at the Joan Sutherland Theatre. These seats don't cost a bomb like the premium seats and offer a serviceable view of the stage. In the stalls section, the middle-rear row seats (M to U) can be considered value for money considering the view offered. Middle seats in rows G to J of the circle are also very budget-friendly and offer a decent view of the stage.

Great Opera Hits - Opera at the Sydney Opera House
AUD 69
Carmen at the Sydney Opera House
AUD 79
La Boheme
AUD 79
La Traviata On Sydney Harbour
AUD 99
Bran Nue Dae
AUD 59
Don Giovanni
AUD 79
AUD 79
AUD 99
AUD 79
Roberto Devereux
AUD 79

Practical Information

Accessibility: The theatre is accessible via a staff-operated lift from the box office foyer. The lift connects to the southern foyer and stalls door 21 and 26.

Wheelchair: The JST has four wheelchair accessible seats. Two of the seats can be accessed from door 26 and the remaining two from door 21.

Restroom : There are two wheelchair accessible toilets on the lower ground level of the Opera House. One is located near the Opera Kitchen and the second at the bottom of the escalators connecting to East Circular Quay. On the western theatre foyer, there are two accessible toilets available. The first one is next to the Playhouse and the second between the Studio and Drama Theatre.

Assisted Listening Systems: To enable all patrons to enjoy the show at the Sydney Opera House, there are two services available. The first is an FM Augmentation System, which can be accessed from the cloakroom. The second is a hearing loop which enhances the quality and frequency of sound inside the theatre. This too can be obtained from the cloakroom. Both these devices are free of cost.

Bars: There are bars available at the Joan Sutherland Theatre and the Concert Hall, which open 90 minutes before the start of a show and during intervals. The Western Foyer Theatre, which houses the Drama Theatre and Playhouse, also has bars that are available pre-theatre.