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Sydney Opera House Presents

Children, Families & Creative Learning

Set your creativity free

The Children, Families & Creative Learning program has engaged 351,681 people digitally and onsite in 2021 with events and experiences that playfully encourage creativity and life-long learning. In 1977, just four years after the Sydney Opera House opened, programming began for children, families and their caregivers to inspire creative thinking in a building synonymous with imagination and innovation. 

In 2022, the program has grown with the opening of the Opera House’s Centre for Creativity – a purpose built home for hands-on creative experiences inside the world-renowned building. This expands the breadth of year-round participatory performances, workshops and installations to engage people of all ages and stages on site, in schools, and in homes across Australia and the world.

Tamara Harrison, Head of the Children, Families and Creative Learning program curates the Centre for Creativity public program, the Creative Learning program and rich performance program of the best Australian and international theatre for children, families and caregivers.

Curriculum linked Creative Learning programming for school children and teachers is delivered throughout the year onsite and online. It’s aligned to contemporary learning outcomes, including creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking. The main initiatives are:

  • Creative Learning – rich on-site workshops, tours and performance experiences that can be packaged to create a full-day out;
  • Digital Creative Learning – free live streamed performances, interactive workshops and digital tours. – In 2021 our reach has expanded significantly with 299327 people engaging from the classroom and home-learning settings so far this year;
  • Creative Leadership in Learning – a tailored, immersive, three-year program for school leaders to embed creativity in the heart of their school, as well as new teacher professional learning inspired by CLIL; and
  • SOH Build - The Centre for Creativity will be home to a new built environment program for secondary students, tertiary students, and professionals, SOH BUILD, enabled in partnership with the Ove Arup Foundation. 
Students visit the House


The Opera House’s Creative Learning program is Australia's respected destination for the creative development of teachers and students, offering a year-round program of performing arts, digital, hands-on creative and educational experiences that will expand in 2022 with the opening of the Centre for Creativity.

School students can experience the Opera House by attending performances and tours and workshops in STEAM and First Nations that enrich their understanding of their world and use the Sydney Opera House as a real-world catalyst for embodied learning.

Primary and secondary students around NSW - and across Australia - can still visit the Opera House virtually through our Digital Creative Learning program. Live, interactive, and free to all Australian public schools, this program also offers unique digital excursions including author talks, interactive workshops and tours that take students behind-the-scenes at Bennelong Point and extend the live performance program for deeper learning.

In 2022, the Opera House will launch a flagship built environment program for secondary and tertiary students, Sydney Opera House BUILD, enabled by the Ove Arup Foundation. Comprising a design challenge for secondary students, a creative lab for tertiary students, and an education series for the general public, BUILD helps students develop the skills they need to help solve the problems of today and the future.

Students of Lansville Public School standing amongst cardboard creations in front of a green screen
Image credit: Anna Zhu

Creative Leadership in Learning

Creative Leadership in Learning is an innovative program that embeds creativity into school ecosystems as an active and enabling practice. Through deep, long-term relationships with schools, a tailored educational program is built based on the school’s specific needs and interests.

Creative Leadership in Learning exports the artistic resources and creative processes of the Sydney Opera House well beyond Bennelong Point, encouraging students and teachers to see the Opera House as an extension of their own dynamic learning environment.

In 2020, the Australia Council for the Arts and the Opera House jointly released a report detailing their collaborative research partnership called Cultivating Creativity: A Study of the Sydney Opera House’s Creative Leadership in Learning program in schools. It provides powerful evidence for the wide-reaching benefits of creativity in education, showing that creative learning approaches help build confidence, improve academic engagement and prepare young people for future disruption and change. It also transforms teaching staff and the school community.

The report reveals that applying creativity also has the potential to holistically impact children – academically, socially and emotionally - and enhance learning across a range of academic subjects.

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Tamara Harrison

Tamara Harrison, Head of Children, Families and Creative Learning

Tamara joined the Opera House in 2020, bringing extensive national and international experience in the arts and culture sector across a range of performance genres.

She has held a number of senior positions at The School of Life Australia, Australia Council for the Arts, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and Malthouse Theatre, across programming, sector and audience development, partnerships and communications.

As Executive Producer/CEO of Polyglot Theatre, Harrison was responsible for an annual program of projects and performances for young people, as well as leading the company’s international collaborations and touring. Most recently, she has worked with Circus Oz and The Ethics Centre, consulting on international programming and talks and ideas events.

“My ambition for our program is to showcase the best performances and create space for children and young people to fall in love with their own imaginations – to be inspired to dream, to think differently, to understand other people’s experiences, and envision how they want the world to be.

Research shows that arts and creativity help teach empathy, social skills and collaboration in children and young people. It also improves the whole child: their mental health and wellbeing, short-term academic outcomes and long-term life outcomes, which leads to richer and stronger communities. They will inherit an increasingly complex and challenging world. So we focus our work on equipping them with the know-how so they can trust their own creativity to solve the problems of tomorrow.”

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