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A crowd enjoying a music concert at the Forecourt.

First Nations presented by Sydney Opera House

Celebrating the richness of the world’s oldest living cultures

The Opera House’s First Nations program continues the traditions of Bennelong Point, formerly known as Tubowgule, which has a long history as a place of gathering, feasting, singing, dancing and storytelling for the local Gadigal people.

The Opera House’s First Nations Program was launched in 2012 by trailblazing arts curator and cultural knowledge-keeper Rhoda Roberts AO. Newly appointed Head of First Nations Programming, Michael Hutchings, leads a program that celebrates the richness of national and international First Nations culture by presenting works that span contemporary issues, retell forgotten stories and revitalise ancient cultural practices. The program collaborates with all the Sydney Opera House Presents programs to embed First Nations' dance, music and theatre works in all areas that showcase the relevancy, vibrancy and vitality of these living cultures.

In addition to the annual national First Nations dance competition, DanceRites, past First Nations performances have included the world premiere of First Nations cabaret Natives Go Wild, written and conceived by Rhoda Roberts AO; Marrugeku’s one-woman powerhouse performance Gudirr Gudirr; landmark dance theatre work Djuki Mala and Native Owned an evening of culture with Native American and Canadian collective Indigenous Enterprise. 

We reconnected kids back to their mobs and families... the transformation is just amazing — it’s given these young fellas and young women their identity back.

Leanne Ruska, Nunukul Yuggera (Winners Dance Rites 2018)

Recent Programming

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Stream Contemporary Music

Bow and Arrow | From Our House To Yours

Meet eccentric Blue Mountains-based electro soul duo Bow and Arrow, aka husband and wife team Mindy Jane (Bow) and Mitchell Kwanten (Arrow).  

Listen First Nations

Deadly Voices from the House

A podcast that takes intimate interviews with First Nations artists and leaders to the world.

Acclaimed presenter, journalist, actor, producer and arts guru Rhoda Roberts AO presents Deadly Voices from the House, recorded live from Sydney Opera House. Featuring a diverse selection of guest appearances from prominent First Nations leaders from the music, arts and culture sector. Deadly Voices from the House provides an important platform to discuss critical issues and explore the vibrancy and diversity of contemporary culture.

Listen Contemporary Music

Music for... Pride, Power & Protest by DOBBY

Indigenous rapper and drummer DOBBY compiles a playlist that represents a sample of "abundant blak excellence". Click for essential listening representing intergenerational tradition and resistance.

Stream Schools

Ziggy Ramo “Little Things” feat. Paul Kelly

In a cinematic journey tracking forward and backwards in time, Ziggy Ramo makes his directorial debut with the music video for his new single “Little Things” feat Paul Kelly. 

Read First Nations

Deborah Mailman on Rhoda Roberts’ “remarkable” 16 years at the Sydney Opera House

Few people have had as much influence on what takes place in these hallowed halls as Rhoda Roberts. This month, she finishes her incredible stint at the Opera House. We spoke to actress and Trustee Deborah Mailman about Robert's everlasting impact.

Stream Contemporary Art

Lighting of the Sails 2022: Yarrkalpa - Hunting Ground

Two years in the making, this digital artwork projected onto the sails was created by Martumili Artists and Sydney-based creative technologists Curiious, bringing to life the Parnngurr community and its surrounding landscape, with a soundtrack by Electric Fields featuring the vocals of the Martu Artists.

Stream, Read and Listen to more First Nations at the Opera House