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Talks & Ideas

Ideas to challenge, inform and inspire

Sydney Opera House's year-round Talks & Ideas program has featured appearances by some of the biggest names in current affairs and contemporary culture, from canonical novelist and essayist Zadie Smith to New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan, Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud, celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), philosopher Alain de Botton, scientist Stephen Hawking, artist Yoko Ono, and podcast host Ira Glass, among many others. 

In addition to year-round events tackling the big questions of our time, the Sydney Opera House Talks & Ideas program features annual festivals All About Women, Antidote and its own successful podcast series, It’s A Long Story

An extensive back catalogue of our events and festivals is available iTunes and on the Talks & Ideas YouTube channel

All About Women

Designed to make you think and push your boundaries, All About Women is a vibrant day that asks questions about gender, justice and equality.

All About Women

Designed to make you think and push your boundaries, All About Women is a vibrant festival that asks questions about gender, justice and equality. 

Speakers have included Nobel Peace Prize-winner from Liberia, Leymah Gbowee, scientist Giulia Enders, film icon Geena Davis, writers Roxane Gay and Helen Garner, activist Rosie Batty and artist Miranda July.

The festival began in 2013 with the aim of looking for ways to bring more women of ideas into public conversations. This has only become more important since then, as the movement has expanded to include the latest thinking on intersectionality, #metoo, Trump, climate justice, and the curious and contested politics of singledom and relationships.

Watch the best of All About Women on Youtube.


Sick of the state of things? You’re invited to become the Antidote at our festival of ideas, action and change. 

Launched in 2017, Antidote brings remarkable speakers, thinkers and creators together with their life changing ideas to challenge the march of alternative facts.  Our focus is the impact an individual can have on their local and global worlds when they seek to bring hope.

Past speakers include Ronan Farrow, Chelsea Manning, Maureen Dowd, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Marwa Al-Sabouni, Jonathon Drori and more. 

The third annual Antidote took over the Opera House on Sunday 1 September 2019.

Antidote - A festival of ideas, action and change

Antidote is a festival of ideas, action and change, with a potentially life-changing lineup of remarkable speakers, thinkers and creators.

Capitalism and Climate Change, part of FODI 2015, in the Concert Hall.

Festival Of Dangerous Ideas

The Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) was co-founded by The Ethics Centre and the Sydney Opera House in 2009. It was presented at the Sydney Opera House for eight years until 2016. 

FODI was independently presented by The Ethics Centre on Cockatoo Island in 2018. For more information, click here

It's A Long Story

It's A Long Story uncovers the formative moments from the childhoods and early careers of some of the world’s leading thinkers and culture creators. Extraordinary speakers come to share their ideas from the Opera House’s stages.  This series asks the questions ‘How did they get here?’ and ‘Why are these ideas important to them?’ This generates a series of fascinating and revelatory conversations.

Guests include such as Henry Rollins, Jad Abumrad, Fran Lebowitz, Kevin McCloud, Yotam Ottolenghi, Marwa Al Sabouni and more. 

The current edition is hosted by Edwina Throsby. It’s a Long Story is produced at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Talks and Ideas program. Previous hosts include Emily Nicol, Marc Fennell, Fenella Kernebone, Ann Mossop and Hamish MacDonald.

It's a Long Story was a 2019 finalist in the Australian Podcast awards for Best Interview Show. 

Listen on either iTunes or Stitcher

Listen to It's a Long Story - Podcast

Hear the stories behind the big ideas of some of Sydney Opera House's most influential and acclaimed guests. Listen here.

Dr Edwina Throsby, Head of Talks & Ideas

Respected producer, director and curator Edwina Throsby joined the Sydney Opera House as Head of Talks & Ideas in August 2017.

The former Head of Curation of TEDxSydney, Throsby has dedicated her 20-year career to bringing complex topics and stories to the broadest possible audience across platforms and media. In her three years overseeing the artistic and creative vision for TEDxSydney, the ideas festival grew to almost 130,000 attendees, millions of online views and more than 150 satellite events.

Prior to TEDxSydney, Throsby founded and produced the ABC’s flagship multi-platform ideas program, Big Ideas, hosted by Tony Jones, which quickly expanded from ABC2 to the main ABC network and ABC News 24.

Throsby has worked as a documentary filmmaker, garnering the Best Documentary award at Flickerfest (2008) and Best Documentary Short award at Melbourne International Film Festival (2008) for Dance Like Your Old Man. She has also worked on esteemed news and current affairs programs, including Four Corners, Media Watch and Q&A.

Edwina recently completed her PhD in political science, writing her thesis on undecided voters in Australia. 

Edwina Throsby, Head of Talks & Ideas. Image: Yael Stempler

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