Discover the famous Coburn tapestries, the Curtain of the Sun and the Curtain of the Moon, the original house curtains for the Opera Theatre and Drama Theatre stages. Learn about the history behind this great Australian story, and get creative with hands-on art activities inspired by these iconic works.
In 1969, architect Peter Hall commissioned John Coburn, an Australian modern abstract artist known for vivid geometric paintings, to design the Sydney Opera House theatre curtains.
Coburn worked with the weavers Pinton Frères in France for three years to make the magnificent tapestries. The curtains, named Curtain of the Sun for the Opera Theatre (now called the Joan Sutherland Theatre) and Curtain of the Moon for the Drama Theatre were hung in 1972.
In the 1980s they were removed due to concerns of their preservation in a live theatre environment, and have since been conserved and restored, only making few special appearances throughout the decades.
Restoring the Coburn tapestries
The story of how the curtains came to be hung again.
The Opera House’s Teacher Resources provide inspirational activities to watch, listen and read for students in the classroom or learning at home. Teachers should adapt these resources to suit the student age, stage and the lesson outcomes desired.