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The End of America?

Jill Lepore


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?
Hosted by Damien Cave.
In the Joan Sutherland Theatre | View Seat Map | Talks & Ideas

Please note, Jill Lepore will be appearing via satellite, with host Damien Cave on stage.

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  • We strongly recommend that patrons over the age of 12 wear a face mask while attending a performance inside one of our venues.
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  • Within venues, please adhere to our spaced seating plans and always take your allocated seat.
  • There are new COVID-specific conditions of entry for audiences attending performances. This includes the circumstances under which you must not attend the Opera House, and what’s required of you when you visit. Please read about them here.

“Their goal is not a better America, their goal is the end of America.”

President Trump, on activists and protesters

How did the State get into this state?

2020 will likely be viewed by future historians as a watershed in US history. The coronavirus crisis, the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the deeply polarised Presidential election camaign have all laid bare inequalities and dysfunction in health, social security, and law enforcement systems. But with disruption and chaos comes space for renewal, reform, and change. How has a world-leader found itself in this desperate state, what is the historical and cultural background that we need to make sense of it all, and what is next for the USA?

Historian, academic and New Yorker staff writer, Jill Lepore, joins New York Times Australian bureau chief Damien Cave via videolink, in a discussion that attempts to anchor this cultural moment in historical context, explore deeper meanings of current events, and ask: does the fight for racial equality, eradication of police violence, and reform of unjust systems truly mean the end of America as we know it? This electric post-election session will examine what might well be a new world order.

Presented by Sydney Opera House

More about Jill Lepore...

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History and Affiliate Professor of Law at Harvard University. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker, and host of the podcast, The Last Archive. Her many books include, These Truths: A History of the United States (2018), an international bestseller, named one of Time magazine's top ten non-fiction books of the decade. Her most recent book, IF THEN: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future, has been longlisted for the National Book Award and shortlisted for the Financial Times/McKinsey Book Award.

More about Damien Cave...

Damien Cave is The New York Times' bureau chief in Sydney, Australia. His previous foreign reporting includes postings in Mexico City, covering Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, and in The Times’ Baghdad bureau from 2006 to 2007. Since joining The Times in 2004, he has covered a range of topics, including military recruiting, New York City government and New Jersey politics. Before coming to The Times, he was a staff writer and editor at Rolling Stone and

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Venue Information

In-line with current NSW Government advice, all venues will have a reduced venue capacity of 50% (or a maximum of 1000 guests).

In order to maintain physical distancing within venues, tickets to this event will be sold in a single seat pattern. At all times, we will do our best to support your needs, but please bear in mind that this will be subject to the restrictions in place at that time.

Refreshments will be available for purchase from our theatre bars, and should be consumed while seated in designated foyers spaces. For select shows, drinks purchased at our theatre bars can also be taken into venues. Please check specific event information closer to the performance date.

An example of COVID safe seating (single seats) with physical distancing

Transport options

  • We encourage you to use private transport options to minimise crowding on public transport (in line with NSW Government advice).  
  • The Sydney Opera House Wilson car park is open and available to use. Wilson Parking is currently offering a $10 discounted rate if you book ahead, please see their website for details.
  • Please check the Transport NSW website for the latest advice and information on travel and COVID-19 safety measures. You can catch public transport (bus, train, ferry) to Circular Quay and enjoy a 6 min walk to the Opera House. 

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