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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.