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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. Speakers range from canonical novelist and essayist Zadie Smith to New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan, artist Ai Weiwei, Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud, celebrity food writers Nigella Lawson and Yotam Ottolenghi, 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 and Ideas at the House.


You are invited to Antidote, a festival of ideas, action and change.

2020 has transformed the world, inspiring us to reset and rethink the way we live. Antidote gives us a chance to come together as a community, reflect on what we’ve learned, and focus on the future we want to create. 

In its fourth year Antidote’s lineup of talks, workshops, visual arts and immersive experiences invites leading thinkers and makers to consider the world’s big problems, and possible solutions. If our world is full of difficult, overwhelming challenges, Antidote is inspired by the hope that we can all act to make it better.

Past participants include journalist Ronan Farrow, activist Chelsea Manning, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, architect Marwa Al-Sabouni, activist DeRay Mckesson, historian Deborah Lipstadt, whistleblower Christopher Wylie & journalist Andrei Soldatov, environmentalist Tim Flannery and singer activist Denise Ho.

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.

All About Women

Celebrate International Women’s Day with our unmissable one-day program of talks, panels, films, workshops, and contemporary art at All About Women.

All About Women

All About Women is a vibrant annual festival that asks questions about gender, justice and equality. 

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.

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

Podcast series, It's A Long Story is a series of revelatory conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and culture creators. The podcast works as an intellectual biography to chart how particular moments from guests’ lives have informed the trajectory of their work. This series asks the questions ‘How did they get here?’ and ‘Why are these ideas important to them?’ and seeks out the moments of epiphany that are common to the lives of creative thinkers to discover the key ingredients for a thoughtful and successful life.

Guests include iconic thinkers such as Henry Rollins, Jad Abumrad, Fran Lebowitz, Kevin McCloud, Yotam Ottolenghi, Barbara Kingsolver 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. 

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

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

More from ANTIDOTE

Reasons to be Cheerful
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A cynical view sees humanity as bad by nature. But what if we're not selfish, but instead inherently good, hopeful, and kind? Could this understanding change everything? Find out at Antidote.
The End of America?
Jill Lepore & Damien Cave
Presidential elections are pivotal in US politics and culture, but 2020 has taken this to the next level. In this radically changing landscape, could we be entering a new world order?
Make a Mini Garden
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