Beau James, Head of First Nations Programming
Leading First Nations curator, producer and performer Beau James, from the Mununjali clan of the Yugambeh Nation from South East Queensland with links to Stradbroke Island, is Sydney Opera House’s Head of First Nations Programming. Beau will lead a national and international cultural agenda, advancing and championing First Nations peoples, cultures, places, knowledge and narratives.
The Opera House’s First Nations Program was launched in 2012 by trailblazing arts curator and cultural knowledge-keeper Rhoda Roberts AO. Under Beau’s leadership, the Opera House’s year-round First Nations program will continue to celebrate the richness, diversity and vibrancy of First Nations culture.
Beau has worked as a company director, circus artist, physical theatre and cabaret performer and was the co-founder and director of their own circus company, Circus Minimus, in Brisbane for 10 years. Circus Minimus worked with Queensland based community organisations such as Mununjali Jymbi housing, Access Arts, Flipside Circus and developed shows Outside the Square and Behind Closed Bars with the youth at risk through Sisters Inside.
They have written and produced for Adelaide Fringe Festival, Brisbane Festival, International Magdalena Festival and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. In 2019 they performed in the sell-out season of Natives Go Wild at the Opera House, which was conceived and written by Rhoda Roberts.
For the last seven years Beau has worked as the Manager and Head of Indigenous Programs at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Working collaboratively with communities, artists and art centres throughout Australia and internationally, they have curated innovative exhibitions and programs and sourced exciting new works intertwining the traditional with the contemporary to explore First Nations culture. Their exhibition Gapu-Monuk Saltwater; Journey to Sea Country, has been a major award-winner including; International Museums and Heritage Award for International Project of the Year in 2019, Museums and Galleries National Award for Indigenous project or Keeping Place in 2018, and the International Design and Communications Award for Best Scenography for a Temporary Exhibition in 2018.
Beau James will commence in the position on Monday 7 June.