Sydney Opera House releases its first online guided tour

Tour Guide Declan with SOH SailsThe Sydney Opera House is bringing its popular backstage tour to homes around the world with the release of its first ever online guided tour.

Last year, more than 560,000 people took a guided tour of the Opera House, but while its doors are temporarily closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic, would-be travellers from across Australia and around the globe can now explore the exclusive backstage world of the internationally-renowned performing arts centre online, for free.

“Now is the perfect time for interstate and international travellers to start dreaming about the unforgettable experiences on offer in NSW,” said Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres.

“As a symbol of modern Australia and beacon of creativity, the Sydney Opera House embodies the spirit of innovation and adaptability by launching its first ever virtual guided tour – alongside a wealth of other performances and experiences – to continue to welcome thousands of online visitors beneath its world-famous sails while the icon is temporarily closed.”

In the free, ten-minute virtual experience, charismatic tour guide Declan (pictured) takes online audiences on a private tour of the Opera House’s backstage spaces – from the cavernous scenery dock where up to 20 tonnes of sets and props are loaded onto an industrial theatre lift to the fly tower where up to 80 bars of complex scenery, lights and even performers are suspended over the stage.

There’s even a peek inside the dressing rooms where renowned prima ballerinas, lead sopranos and stars from the world of contemporary music get ready before the show. An Auslan interpretation of the Digital Backstage Tour is available here.

“We’re excited to welcome online audiences, for the first time, to discover the intricate and often surprising backstage world of the Sydney Opera House,” said Sydney Opera House General Manager of Tours, Nicola Brandon. “Taking a tour of this iconic building in person is a truly memorable experience, but while that’s not possible, we wanted to give people around the world the opportunity to see how the magic of performance is brought to life.”

The Digital Backstage Tour is part of the Opera House’s digital offering From Our House to Yoursa new program to connect with, inspire, educate and entertain local and global communities while the venue is temporarily closed to the public.

Each week, the Opera House releases a curated program of full-length performances, talks, playlists, podcasts and written content, as well as new and live-streamed performances from the Joan Sutherland Theatre stage. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Sydney Opera House Tour Guide Declan (supplied)