Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and oiled-up nude dancers writhing around Rodin sculptures. Ros Brennan explains why this year's Sydney Festival line-up is dead sexy

Did you know that seeking newness has a scientific correlation with happiness? Yes, you heard right. Newness - whether it's trying a radical ice-cream flavour or cracking the spine of a new book - sets off the same chemical reactions in your brain as having sex or exercising.

It's interesting then to think that often we resist newness; we slip into comfortable and well-worn routines because they're easier. And because we're tired. And because there are so many options out there, we freeze and just decide we want something familiar, like re-watching your favourite movie instead of branching out because you know it's guaranteed to bring all the happy feels.

With 2017 already knocking on our door, I challenge you to shimmy your way into the New Year with shoulders dusted off and your 'newness' badge proudly slapped onto your lapel, or your windcheater or whatever garment your heart desires.

The 10 top acts to see at the Sydney Festival

Luckily for you, the Sydney Festival has provided the perfect testing grounds for your new philosophy, with more than 150 events taking place across the city from January 7-29 across music, theatre, dance, film and art. Doubly lucky for you, I've summarised the pick of the bunch above.

Almost half of them are free, and almost all of them will tug at the heartstrings, ignite a fire in your loins or draw you into a child-like state of play (or all of the above). So skip the Friday night homogenised pub routine and grab a ticket to the kind of merry-making you never knew you needed in your life, until now. 

The 10 top acts to see at the Sydney Festival