Romeo & Juliet gets queer in Sydney Opera House performance

A same-sex gay male dance couple embrace against the Sydney Opera House in Rome & Juliet Suite

The Sydney Opera House will be home to a uniquely queer retelling of Romeo & Juliet this month. 

Benjamin Millepied’s highly anticipated Romeo & Juliet Suite is set to make its Australian premiere in a strictly limited season at the Sydney Opera House from 5 to 9 June 2024. 

Millepied, choreographer of the Academy Award-winning Black Swan, will make his Australian debut by showcasing his innovative reimagining of Shakespeare’s timeless tale.

Navigating seamlessly between cinema, dance, and theatre, this modern interpretation has already garnered acclaim. 

The LA Dance Chronicle praised the performance saying: 

“This one-of-a-kind interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic allowed me to feel the most empathy I have ever felt for the characters of Romeo and Juliet. It was a complete rediscovery of a familiar tale, which transformed it from overdone to timeless once again.”

Making it queer

Central to this production are the three couples who will perform the pas-de-deux roles of Romeo and Juliet.

 Each performance will feature a different pairing: a male-male couple on Wednesday 5 and Saturday 8 (matinee), a female-female couple on Thursday 6 and Saturday 8 (evening), and also a traditional male-female couple on Friday 7 and Sunday 9 June.

 This approach reflects a universal expression of love, bringing a fresh and contemporary perspective to Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers.

Innovative storytelling 

The production employs a unique blend of dance and live cinema. A film crew follows the L.A. Dance Project ensemble as they perform on stage and move through unexpected spaces within the building. These live performances are broadcast in real-time to audiences inside the theatre, creating a dynamic and immersive viewing experience.

Millepied, co-founder and artistic director of the non-profit L.A. Dance Project, is renowned for his inventive artistry. A former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, later served as the Director of Dance at the Paris Opera in 2014. He made his directorial debut with the 2022 musical film Carmen.

Millepied shared how excited he was to perform at the iconic Australian venue. 

“The opportunity for our company to grace the stage of the Sydney Opera House is a dream realised. This moment holds profound significance, not only because the Sydney Opera House is an emblem of global culture, but also because Australia and its people hold a unique space in my heart,” he said. 

Ebony Bott, Head of Contemporary Performance at the Sydney Opera House, also expressed her enthusiasm.

“We’re thrilled to welcome celebrated artist Benjamin Millepied to the Sydney Opera House for his Australian premiere season. This work speaks profoundly to the spirit of reinvention, taking what is known and pushing our interpretations and expectations further. We’re excited to present this beloved story in such an innovative way, both on and off the stage to showcase our beautiful venue alongside this stunning performance.”

Don’t miss this unique performance

Performances start today 5 June and will finish soon on Sunday 9 June. Details and tickets at

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