When I say I’m a giant scaredy-cat, I’m not exaggerating. People need to announce their intentions before walking over to my desk, because otherwise I’ll inevitably jump out of my skin when they say hello. I never watch scary movies. I 100 percent believe in ghosts, to the point that my brain’s first assumption is that ghosts must have done it, whatever ‘it’ is.
So when the Sydney Opera House announced they’d be starting 90-minute ‘After Dark’ tours — taking guests through the famous theatres at night when they’d shut up shop and explaining all the weird ghostly happenings that had been reported — I said absolutely hell no. But then the writer in me said ‘content’ so I went along. I hate the writer in me.
Arriving at the theatre door at 10pm, a small group of us were given head torches and high-vis vests, then led into the building through the back way.
We were taken into a hidden room (apparently the brand new tours venue) behind the Joan Sutherland Theatre to sip cocktails and little cakes in a dim light while we waited for our tour leader to arrive. The cocktails were tart, but sparkly so I was into it, and the mini lemon tart was a dream.
There was definitely a slightly nervous atmosphere amongst the group, but I was lucky enough that it was also just a really fun group of people so we started chatting as a screen that filled the whole room started playing animated images of the Opera House.
From the moment our tour guide Danny arrived, I realised this whole thing might be a bit more theatrical and a little less horror than I’d dreaded.
Danny is a gem. Throughout the tour he revs us up and completely relieves the tension at the same time with his humour and theatrics. We follow him through small corridors, into store houses, around change rooms and into empty theatres, all the while following the story of the ghosts that allegedly roam here.
While some of the additions to the tour are obviously for show — not even I couldn’t be fooled by the ‘bloody’ hand prints left in red paint at the start of the tour — the actual ghost stories are apparently true.
Did I feel anything paranormal while I was there? No, absolutely not, and trust me I was ready for it. But I did have an absolute riot of a time. Even beyond spooky stories, this is the first time any Opera House Tour has taken place after all the performers, patrons and staff have gone home.
Ghosts or no, there is something very cool about seeing these theatres completely empty and in the dark, not to mention all the behind-the-scenes places we get to stickybeak into.
Overall, it was entirely not what I expected it to be — but in a truly amazing way — and I highly recommend buying yourself a ticket.
This exclusive experience will only be on for six weeks, taking place on select Friday and Saturday nights only, between January 22 and March 27.
Tickets are $55, which is totally worth the price, in my opinion. Not all Sydney tourist experiences are, but this is a hard yes for me. You can book them right here.
The author attended as a guest of Sydney Opera House.
(Lead Image: Provided / Sydney Opera House / Daniel Boud)
Kassia is the Editor of AWOL, and a straight-up travel addict. She was born without a sense of direction, yet an intense desire to explore the world. As such, she's lost 90% of the time but she's learned to roll with it. You can catch her latest adventures on Instagram @probably_kassia.