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Talks & Ideas presented by Sydney Opera House

Ideas to challenge, inform and inspire

The Sydney Opera House’s Talks and Ideas program seeks to match the boldness of the building itself, to ensure the iconic venue continues to be a place of ideas and imaginative thinking. It features annual festivals that take over all the venues in the House and one-off events throughout the year – from panel discussions and conversations on pressing issues in the community to large-scale events featuring celebrated writers, thinkers, and social commentators.

All About Women is the Sydney Opera House’s centrepiece talks festival about gender, justice, and equality. Enormously successful and celebrated, it has filled our venues with buzzy, inspiring, and agenda-setting conversations every March since 2013.

And our year-round programming has featured some of the most exciting names in current affairs and contemporary culture, including Ronan FarrowZadie SmithMichael PollanRoxane GayTa-Nehisi CoatesJennette McCurdyAi WeiweiFran Lebowitz, and many others. 

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Ideas at the House

Talks and conversations from the Sydney Opera House featuring the world’s greatest minds and culture creators

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An animation of a bunch of hairs on fire.

iran: woman, life, freedom: all about women 2023

Iranian-Australian women give an inside look at the woman-led revolution in Iran, the power of protest, and how Australians can be allies at this incredible moment in history.

Mother tongues and minor feelings

Recipient of the Antidote and Sweatshop Mentorship for Diverse Emerging Writers Joyce Chew on family, language and the “glittering visage of the Australian ‘fair go’”.

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Chip RolleyHead of Talks & Ideas

Chip Rolley joined the Sydney Opera House as Head of Talks & Ideas in September 2021.

Rolley has curated festivals in Sydney and New York City, first as artistic director of Sydney Writers’ Festival, and most recently in New York as director of PEN America’s World Voices Festival, one of America’s most diverse writers’ festivals. He also oversaw the prestigious PEN Literary Awards and a slate of literary programs that engaged traditionally under-served participants and audiences.

He has edited the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s opinion and news analysis website, The Drum. His writing has covered a very wide range of subjects from politics to poetry, with a particular focus on literature and Chinese politics and culture. His writing has appeared in The Guardian (US), Wall Street JournalGriffith ReviewThe Sydney Morning HeraldThe AgeThe AustralianThe BulletinVogueRolling Stone and he has translated essays and poetry from Chinese to English. 



Chip Rolley, Head of Talks & Ideas. Image credit: Kate McAuley