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New Work Now

A new initiative established by the Sydney Opera House during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide meaningful support to local artists, arts workers and creatives at a critical moment for Australia’s arts industry. 

Together with our family of generous donors, partners, staff and contractors, the Sydney Opera House is excited to announce a new commissioning program supporting local artists through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

As a national icon and one of Australia’s leading performing arts centres, our mission is to inspire and strengthen the community through everything that we do.

New Work Now provides meaningful support to local artists and arts workers by commissioning a broad range of works for our community.

Thanks to generous contributions from Sydney Opera House donors, partners, and contractors, more than $1 million has been raised so far to support the creation of new work for Opera House’s digital and physical stages. 


Upcoming New Work Now performances and digital streams 

Circus & Magic


02 Jan 2021 - 14 Feb 2021

Step into James Galea’s magical den and prepare to experience mind bending moments from Australia’s greatest magicians. Get tickets for James Galea's BEST TRICK EVER now.


25 Nov 2020 - 29 Nov 2020

Part DIY shed, part Medieval research centre, part obsessive Bunnings shopping spree, CRUSH blows up the boundaries of the physical body and mind. Get tickets for CRUSH now.
Sydney Chamber Opera perform Janáček's hauntingly beautiful song cycle, Diary of One Who Disappeared, exclusive to our digital season.


Check back here for details of more upcoming performances as they're announced or sign up to be the first to know

Meet the artists

Meet the creative minds behind the first line-up of commissions enabled by New Work Now

Artist: Jack Symonds. Image: Anja Emzen

Jack Symonds, Sydney Chamber Opera

Jack Symonds is a composer, conductor and accompanist, and Artistic Director of Sydney Chamber Opera. 

Sydney Chamber Opera (SCO) is a fresh and youthful answer to some of the difficult questions facing today’s opera industry. A resident company at Carriageworks, SCO is critically acclaimed for its innovative programming, musical rigour and strong focus on compelling theatre-making. 

SCO's program is a balance of specially commissioned work by leading homegrown composers, the latest international operas in their Australian premieres, song cycles and cantatas in unusual stagings, and canonical repertoire reinvigorated by the country’s most daring theatrical talent.

Commissioned work: Diary of One Who Disappeared
Streaming from 10 Oct, 8pm, AEDT, exclusive to Sydney Opera House's digital season

Frieda Lee

Frieda is an emerging theatre-maker. Her plays include Little Fish (5 PAWA nominations), which she wrote and directed, and All His Beloved Children (Malcolm Robertson Prize). In 2017 she worked with The Last Great Hunt to devise and perform in The Advisors and wrote and performed Bad Women as part of 600 Seconds for Summer Nights. In 2019 she performed in A Ghost in My Suitcase for Sydney Festival and Perth Festival.

Commissioned work: The Bright Side of Bum Town

A play about parents. Who needs them? Madeira’s parents are so selfish they’ve both been fired. Set in a post coronavirus recession, this is the story of Madeira Cake an 11-year-old girl who wants a dog and loves to sail. The play makes financial stress understandable for kids and asks what it means to be a good parent.

Frieda Lee portrait
Artist: Frieda Lee. Image: Supplied
Artist: Jerome Kavanagh. Image: Joseph Mayers

Indigenous World Art Orchestra

The Indigenous World Art Orchestra (IWAO) is a global collaboration involving First Nations performers, composers and musicians worldwide. 

IWAO is a live chamber orchestra performance contextualised with spoken text, dance, First Nations instruments and Indigenous languages with imagery conceived and written from First Nations’ perspectives. It is set to a backdrop of ancient seasonal music, unknown to the western ear – featuring instruments such as DramNyan, six-stringed fiddle and wood instruments such as the Yidaki and the wooden trumpet Pukaea - and combined with the Four Seasons violin concertos by Vivaldi (1723). 

Commissioned work: Currently in development

Branch Nebula

Branch Nebula (Lee Wilson and Mirabelle Wouters) is one of Australia’s most adventurous companies pushing at the boundaries of performance. Working at the nexus between theatre, dance, sport and street-styles, BN takes audiences into the extreme creativity of urban landscapes, and immerses them in real time experiences. Branch Nebula works with non-conventional performers to collaboratively devise work that defies categorization. They interrogate the audience experience and explore contemporary culture as a means of creating access and speaking to a broad audience. They work with street-style artists to create new visions for engaging with BMX, skating, parkour, tricking, and contemporary dance.  

Commissioned work: CRUSH

Part DIY shed, part Medieval research centre, part obsessive Bunnings shopping spree, CRUSH blows up the boundaries of the physical body and mind. Helpmann Award winning Australian company Branch Nebula artists Lee Wilson, Mirabelle Wouters, Mickie Quick and Phil Downing have been in the lab, fixated on phenomena like pressure, vacuum, gravity, magnetism – and slimy, gloopy stuff. Prepare to be stunned as if you are catapulted across the stage in this gripping new physical performance.

Artist: Mirabelle Wouters. Image: Tristan Still

Support local artists and arts workers

Make your tax-deductible gift for New Work Now.

Your gift directly supports local artists and arts workers.

With your help, artists can continue to develop new works for our community through the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

Every gift makes a makes a difference.  We can’t do it without you.

Donate Now

Be part of something new

Realise your dream to commission a new work that will premiere at the Sydney Opera House.

As a New Work Now commissioning donor, you and our artistic programming team work closely to realise a project that reflects your passion for the arts within Sydney Opera House Presents.  

You will be recognised as a co-commissioner in all material associated with your New Work Now project.

Contact our Philanthropy team to learn more on 02 9250 7077 or

Thank you to our New Work Now supporters