First Nations at the Sydney Opera House
Celebrating the richness of the world’s oldest living cultures
Tubowgule, as the land on which the Opera House stands is known to its Traditional Custodians, the Gadigal, has long been a gathering place for storytelling, ceremony and culture. The Opera House continues this legacy today by embracing and celebrating the culture of Australia’s First Peoples.
Welcome to Country
A Welcome To Country is a customary greeting that Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island people extend to visitors, who in turn agree to respect traditional laws and culture.
Upcoming performances, shows and events
Badu Gili: Wonder Women
Badu Gili - meaning 'water light' in the language of the traditional owners of Bennelong Point, the Gadigal people - is a free daily experience that explores First Nations stories in a spectacular six-minute projection on the Opera House’s eastern Bennelong sails.
Birdz and Fred Leone Present: Girra
With their lyrical flow, dynamic beats and ferociously political subject matter, rappers and cousins Birdz and Fred Leone bring their distinct brand of hip-hop from the Butchulla Nation to the Vivid LIVE stage.
Vintage soul and gospel gets a modern pop twist in the dazzling sound of Budjerah, the ARIA-award-winning R&B sensation making his Sydney Opera House debut for Vivid LIVE.
With their irresistible new album Spirals making waves, Wollongong-based indie pop outfit Pirra bring their dance-floor bops and buoyant energy to the Sydney Opera House for their Vivid LIVE debut.
Oyster Shell Workshops
Join a series of free hands-on workshops helping transform shell waste into an iconic, monumental artwork. We need 200 000 shells to complete the artwork. Stay as long or as little as you like.
Badu Gili: LIVE
Gather from sunset for a free outdoor event that will transform the Opera House’s Monumental Steps into a festival that celebrates First Nations music, art and food.
From the incomparable storytellers of Bangarra Dance Theatre comes a major new work. Frances Rings’ first work as Artistic Director is a ceremonial affirmation of history and heritage. Yuldea awakens the earth and sky worlds to tell the story of the Anangu people of the Great Victorian Desert.
Spinifex Gum & the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
Spinifex Gum combines the beauty of a young Indigenous female choir from Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait with contemporary songwriting that speaks to issues of our time.
Celebrate NAIDOC week with renowned songman, Kutcha Edwards, as he returns to perform his new album Circling Time. The performance takes you on a journey with stories from his incredible life, that segue so eloquently into each mesmeric song lifting your spirit. At the heart of it, Kutcha’s music is pure soul.
All Ages | Weave with Ngumpie Weaving artist Tegan Murdock to learn about traditional Aboriginal practices of purposeful and sustainable making.
Ngapa William Cooper
Join the Australian Youth Orchestra as they perform three sweeping works inspired by the tenacity of the human spirit in times of darkness.
It’s January 1788 and a mysterious fleet is amassing in the harbour. Seven clan leaders must make a momentous decision: to send these strangers on their way or welcome them?
Find out more about Sydney Opera House First Nations programming
ALWAYS HERE - 50 Years of Black Theatre
This free photographic exhibition in the Bennelong Passage recognises the pioneering activism of Redfern's National Black Theatre and the history of First Peoples on the stages and sails of the Opera House.
Stream, read & listen
The story of Badu Gili
Meet the Indigenous artists bringing First Nations cultures to the world.
Deadly Voices from the House
Acclaimed presenter, journalist, actor, producer and arts guru Rhoda Roberts AO presents Deadly Voices from the House, recorded live from Sydney Opera House.
Ever since it was a place for ceremony, gathering and celebration in Aboriginal Australia, Tubowgule has always reflected the society tucked in around Sydney Cove.
Badu Gili’s Frances Belle Parker
We talk to Frances Belle Parker, one of the five Badu Gili artists, about her work, her motivation and how she's used the Opera House’s sails as a blank canvas.
Deborah Mailman on Rhoda Roberts’ “remarkable” 16 years at the Sydney Opera House
Few people have had as much influence on what takes place in these hallowed halls as Rhoda Roberts. This month, she finishes her incredible stint at the Opera House. We spoke to actress and Trustee Deborah Mailman about Robert's everlasting impact.
Music for... Love by Budjerah
Teen R&B sensation Budjerah has themed his playlist around love, and all the daydreaming and sweet talking that comes with a budding romance. Listen in, then tune in to his exclusive Opera House show for Liminal.
Why NAIDOC matters
We ask some of our Opera House family – performers and artists who take centre stage during this week of celebration – to discuss this year's NAIDOC theme and to unpack why the week matters to them.
Ensemble Offspring | Composing Songlines
Celebrating the unique music which has been created by First Nations Australian composers in the past 5 years as part of Ngarra-Burria: First Peoples Composers program, this special concert featuring the compact chamber force of Ensemble Offspring places these ancient musical voices reflecting land, nature, history and deep culture at the forefront of living art music in Australia.
Spirit of collaboration inspires ground-breaking Vivid LIVE sails artwork
Emily Nicol speaks to the creators of this year's extraordinary Vivid Lighting of the Sails artwork: the Martumili Artists, musicians Electric Fields, and creative technologists Curiious.
Career development opportunities
The Sydney Opera House is committed to providing hands-on experiences to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, which can lead to employment opportunities.
For further information about these career opportunities, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best way for students to experience what we do is through our Work Experience Program. Through our partnership with the NSW Department of Education we run a program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are studying in years 9-12. The program is a week long and is offered several times throughout the year. During the week, students are introduced to different staff and departments across the organisation. The program is practical and participants spend time working in up to four different departments to gain first-hand work experience.
After completing our Work Experience Program, students can apply for a paid internship. These internships are currently offered in our Ticketing Sales department and we are always looking to expand the types of intern roles. The internship is based on a 90 hour contract as a Ticketing Sales Representative. The hours of work are designed to fit around the student’s study, and students develop skills in sales and customer service, operating ticketing software and basic computing. We have a growing alumni of interns, many of whom have gained ongoing employment at the Opera House and are now involved in facilitating Work Experience Program activities with students.
Each year the Opera House supplements these two programs with events for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Our Careers Day program is one such event where participants get to meet a range of Opera House employees to hear about what they do and stories of their career pathways.
Courtney, Work Experience Program participant, FY17
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be great and learn more about our culture at the Opera House.
Explore the history of the site where the Opera House stands.
The Opera House is committed to providing educational, professional development and cultural opportunities for First Nations communities. Whether through work experience, curated performances, such as the annual Dance Rites festival, or the daily lighting of the sails, the generous contributions of our visitors and friends allows us to create a positive impact in the lives of our communities.
Giving a gift today helps foster and celebrate a shared sense of belonging for all Australians.
Reconciliation Action Plan
The Opera House is committed to respecting, embracing and celebrating the culture of Australia’s First People. Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) outlines this commitment through a range of actions and initiatives that are being undertaken across all areas of the Opera House. These initiatives aim to safeguard the traditions of the world’s oldest living culture, and provide opportunities for Australia’s First People.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan
Learn more about Reconciliation Australia’s RAP program, or access the Share Our Pride tool to help you start your cultural awareness journey.