Rhoda Roberts AO, Head of First Nations Programming
A Widjabul woman, Rhoda Roberts is an experienced, motivated and versatile arts executive, with a diverse range of international and national industry practice within commercial, community and non-profit organisations. In 2016, she directed Songlines, the first Indigenous Lighting the Sails as part of VIVID Live and VIVID Sydney. The work of six Indigenous artists illuminated the Sails of the Opera House reaching a global audience of more than 8 million through a Facebook Livestream and on-going playback.
During NAIDOC week, 2017, Badu Gili, a daily Indigenous Lighting of the Sails at Sydney Opera House was finally realised by Roberts. The work provides a unique platform for First Nations artists from across Australia and the Torres Strait Islands to showcase diverse and ancient stories on the sails of the Opera House. The year-round nightly animation is a celebration of the world’s oldest living culture.
Rhoda was the founder and Festival Director of the Dreaming Festival (1995-2009) and the Creative Director for the Awakening Segment Sydney Olympic Games 2000 Opening Ceremony and for Sydney New Year’s Eve 2009-2011 and is also currently Festival Director of the Boomerang Festival.
Rhoda has written, directed and produced several documentaries, and was the first Aboriginal to host a national prime time current affairs program. She was a co-founding member of Australia's first national Aboriginal theatre company, the Aboriginal National Theatre Trust (ANTT).
In June 2016, for her incomparable contribution in Australian cultural life, Rhoda was awarded the title of Officer (AO) in The General Division Of The Order Of Australia as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for her distinguished service to the performing arts through a range of leadership and advocacy roles in the development, promotion and presentation of contemporary Indigenous culture.