The Sydney Festival has unveiled the first three events of 2018’s program, featuring shows that will take the plunge, travel back in time and let loose, Irish style.

Avant-garde music ensemble Between Music has pioneered the art of performing underwater for its bold and beautiful submerged show, Aquasonic. Five musicians will perform their ethereal, otherworldly score in specially designed aquariums, in a production developed with a unique collaborative effort between musicians, scientists, deep sea diving experts and master craftspeople.

Ireland’s premier drag artist Panti Bliss will be the mistress of ceremonies for RIOT, a variety show melding high art and trashtastic debauchery. Expect cooked Riverdance realness alongside a surprising undercurrent of political commentary.

The 1971 documentary Town Bloody Hall captured one of the seminal moments in the evolution of feminism. A collection of the most important trailblazers of modern feminist thinking, including Australia’s very own Germaine Greer, squared off against the bullish author Norman Mailer in a New York Town Hall, for a debate that would prove a watershed moment for women's liberation. Four decades on, New York-based experimental theatre mavericks, The Wooster Group, under the direction of Elizabeth LeCompte, will restage this historic event for The Town Hall Affair, with TV actor Maura Tierney set to portray Greer. In an age where pussy grabbing presidents have highlighted the rank gender inequality that still exists in our society, this chance to step back in time to experience such an important moment for feminist herstory should be one of the hottest tickets of the Fest.

The rest of Festival Director Wesley Enoch's 2018 program for the 42nd Sydney Festival, which runs in venues across the city from 6 – 28 January, will be announced later in the year.