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A collage of flames, a bra and a beanie.

Feminist Roast

with Jane Caro, Zoë Coombs-Marr, Jan Fran, Michelle Law and Nakkiah Lui, Moderated by Steph Tisdell

10 march 2024

In the Concert Hall

Sydney Opera House Presents

Talks and Ideas

In theatre and livestreamed

We’re placing feminism in the hot seat - and turning up the heat. Welcome to Feminist Roast, a red-hot line-up of the most iconoclastic, amusing, and downright entertaining women you know.

Co-curated by Nakkiah Lui

If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

Nakkiah Lui

expect some seriously harsh burns

Roasts are normally a piss-take on an individual: a celebrity, comedian, politician, or public figure. But we’re going rogue and our roastee is an idea - no, a movement: feminism. If you thought the raison d’etre of this festival was above reproach, think again. We’ve assembled six of the funniest folks around from a variety of ages and backgrounds to roast feminism, from suffrage to the women’s liberation movement, from wages to #MeToo, from beauty norms to care work. 

When it comes to gender and power, there’s a lot to laugh about - and nothing is sacred. Spirited, mischievous, sometimes serious and definitely very silly, don’t miss what will be a hilarious and subversive interrogation - both a takedown and an ode to feminism.

Presented by Sydney Opera House


Jane Caro (she/her)

Jane Caro AM is a Walkley Award-winning columnist, author, novelist, broadcaster, documentary maker, feminist, and social commentator. She spent 35 years as an award-winning copywriter and 7 years teaching Advertising Creative in the School of Communication Arts at Western Sydney University. These days she is a full-time writer, social commentator, speaker and broadcaster.

She has published thirteen books, including three YA novels Just a Girl, Just a Queen and Just Flesh & Blood - a trilogy on Elizabeth Tudor, a memoir Plain Speaking Jane, and Accidental Feminists about the life story of women over 50. Her latest book, her first novel for adults, The Mother, is a bestseller.

She appears frequently on ABC Western Plains, The Drum & Today Extra. She created and presented 5 documentary series for ABC Compass, airing in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. She writes a regular column in Nine Media, and her opinion pieces and articles appear frequently in The Saturday Paper, The Guardian and The Big Smoke.
She is on the board of The Public Education Foundation.

Zoë Coombs Marr (she/her)

Zoë Coombs Marr is a performer, writer, artist and comedian. She grew up in Grafton, where she and her best friend staged a musical instead of going to schoolies week. She has a double degree in Performance Studies at UNSW and Fine Arts at COFA, where she was awarded the Dinosaur Designs Prize and the Art and Australia Award. Her video works and sculptures have been exhibited at several galleries, including First Draft, Kudos and King’s ARI, and in 2006 she won the National Poetry Slam Championships under dubious circumstances. 

Zoë has performed stand up comedy extensively in Australia, the UK and the US. In 2012, her solo theatre/comedy work And That Was The Summer That Changed My Life was awarded the Philip Parsons Young Playwright Award and was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. 

Zoe’s Trigger Warning was the must-see comedy phenomenon of 2016. Zoë won the Melbourne Comedy Festival Award as well as the Golden Gibbo, two Green Room Awards and was also nominated for Best Show at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the 2017 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Drama. Turns out you can make intersectional feminism funny.

Jan Fran (she/her)

Jan Fran is a Walkley-award-winning journalist, TV Presenter, and social commentator. She is the co-host of ABC’s Question Everything and is well known for her work on Channel 10’s The Project and SBS’s The Feed. She also hosts Listnr’s flagship news podcast, The Briefing.

Jan is the creator, writer, and presenter of the online opinion segment, The Frant, which has been viewed more than 25 million times on social media and which earned Jan a 2019 Walkley award for Best Commentary, Analysis, Opinion, and Critique.

She has shot and produced documentaries from all over the world. She’s lived in Lebanon, France, Bangladesh, and Uganda and speaks three languages.

Jan Fran is an ambassador for Plan International Australia where she advocates for women and girls, and her strong reporting on women’s issues earned her a 2018 Walkley nomination for Women’s Leadership in Media.

Michelle Law (she/her)

Michelle Law is a writer and actor – working in print, screen and stage – currently based on Gadigal Land. Her works include the plays, Single Asian Female (La Boite Theatre Company), Top Coat (Sydney Theatre Company), and Miss Peony (Belvoir St Theatre); the television shows Homecoming Queens (SBS) and Safe Home (SBS); and the book Asian Girls are Going Places (Hardie Grant). Her awards include two Australian Writers Guild Awards, and a Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Award. Michelle is also a widely published freelance author and a prolific speaker who regularly appears on panels and at festivals.

Nakkiah Lui (she/her)

Nakkiah Lui is a writer, actor, director, and Gamillaroi, Torres Strait Islander woman. She began her playwriting career at Sydney Theatre Company under the artistic directorship of Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett, since then she has worked with every major theatre company in Australia. In 2012, Nakkiah was the inaugural recipient of both The Dreaming Award from The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts Board of the Australia Council and the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright Award. In 2018, Nakkiah was also the recipient of the Patrick White Playwrights Fellowship at STC.

Nakkiah was actor in and writer and producer of the ground-breaking series, Black Comedy, which ran for four seasons from 2014-2019. From then she went on to create/write/star in the award-winning series, Kiki & Kitty, which aired on ABC in 2017. Most recently, Nakkiah is the co-creator/showrunner/star of the upcoming series, Preppers, as well as contributing to a number of Australian drama and comedy series.

Nakkiah is a young leader in the Australian Aboriginal community. She is a regular guest on ABC’s Q&A, The Drum, and Channel Ten’s The Project, as well as contributing to The Guardian, New York Times, and a variety of other news outlets. Nakkiah has been a columnist for Australian Women’s Weekly and is the co-host and co-creator of the award-winning podcast series, Pretty for an Aboriginal and Debutante with Miranda Tapsell. In 2020, Nakkiah teamed with Australia’s largest independent book publisher, Allen and Unwin, to launch her own imprint, JOAN.

Steph Tisdell (she/her) Moderator

Steph Tisdell is one of the brightest stars to explode on the Australian comedy scene in recent years. A luminescent presence on stage, her warmth and wit has been a hit with audiences ever since she won the Deadly Funny National Grand Final in 2014. Her award-winning shows sell out wherever she performs, and she is fast becoming a ubiquitous presence on mainstream television. In 2021, she made her ‘serious acting’ debut in ABC’s Total Control, she appeared on Ten’s The Stand Up for Christchurch Benefit, a couple of times on Hughesy We Have A Problem, and on multiple occasions as both an interviewee and presenter on The Project. More recently, Steph plays fan favourite Phoebe, the scholarship scab, to workaholic career woman in Amazon Prime’s hit show Class of 07.

Her famous 2019 spot on ABC TV’s Oxfam Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala went viral, and as a result, in 2022 she was invited to host the Gala, one of the festival’s highest status gigs. Steph has also performed barefoot stand-up on ABC TV’s Tonightly With Tom Ballard; went on a platonic blind-date with Faustina ‘Fuzzy’ Agolley on ABC Life’s Hey Stranger, where the pair bonded over being mixed race, and performed stand-up to a live audience of a couple of thousand for radio station Triple J. She’s also done Stand up on ABC Comedy Up Late and was a presenter on Australia Talks, an ABC special broadcast in 2019.

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