The LGBTIQ+ community and the arts have always been linked, both in form and spirit. Throughout the city’s history, the Sydney Opera House has represented what is just a fraction of these stories, giving artists like Stephen Fry, Anohni and Hannah Gadsby a stage to present their works and their careers—creative and intimate—to all audiences. Just how many LGBTI artists, staff and audiences have been part of the story of Tubowgule is impossible to quantify—especially when we consider the personal transformations made by people over the course of a lifetime, or how all queer histories emerge from an era of secrecy, struggle and “code”.
This year, to celebrate Mardi Gras 40th anniversary, an Opera House float will roll up Oxford Street for the first time in the parade’s history. Titled Out at the House, the glittering float will feature a 10-metre sparkling replica of the Opera House's famous sails and a 70-strong group of marching ushers, dancers and orchestra members, led by the legendary Dame Joan Sutherland, played by long-time Opera Australia employee Bobby McKenzie.
With just over a week until Mardi Gras, we wanted to take a look at some of the Opera House’s most defining performances by LGBTQI+ artists throughout the years who have contributed to the Opera House and arts community.