During Global Goals Week (17-26 September), children and school groups will be invited to interact onsite and online with “the rich First Nations history of the site, the magic and science of the building, and the extraordinary art and artists that bring the Opera House’s stages to life”.
There will also be free creative play workshops and other events for kids and families in school holidays.
“Dettol is supporting the development of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aligned initiatives that provide quality education and teach long-lasting hand hygiene amongst Australian children through imagination, innovation and access,” Henry Turgoose, Reckitt Health ANZ chief marketing officer, told Inside Retail.
“Programs will include a dedicated schools program targeting teachers and students to improve hygiene education in the classroom, experiential learning activities inside the Centre for Creativity and much more.”
The Opera House is seeking partners both in Australia and globally to collaborate on its Global Goals, which include good health, wellbeing, education, clean water and sanitation for all. US corporation Honeywell, for example, is collaborating with the Opera House over the next three years on its sustainability initiatives, including the Opera House’s ambition to become climate-positive by 2023.
Here, Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron AM discusses plans for the Centre for Creativity which is set to open early next year, how brands can get involved, and her hopes for a buzz to return to the city post-lockdown.
Inside Retail: How has the Opera House been affected by the drop in tourists and foot traffic in the CBD during the pandemic?
Louise Herron: Like most cultural organisations, the Opera House has been significantly impacted by the pandemic. We are all hungry for the imminent return of live performance at the Opera House, that will enable us to reconnect with artists, audiences and visitors in our public spaces, bars and restaurants, theatres and more. There’s nothing like the sense of community at live, in-person events. Sharing these experiences again soon will be healing in many ways, helping to reinvigorate and rebuild our industry following the unprecedented impacts of Covid.
IR: How has the Opera House sought to differentiate its offering to the community during the pandemic, when it has been forced to cancel performances for prolonged periods?
LH: Like many, over the last 18 months, we have had to cancel, postpone and reschedule thousands of shows. However, we quickly adapted and re-connected with our community online. Creating a space that was accessible for audiences anywhere in the world was a priority, and a great creative outlet during our first lockdown. We made our world-class performing arts available online through the award-winning program From Our House to Yours, which was enthusiastically received with close to 7 million views over the seven month closure in 2020.
Following its success we created Stream, an online streaming platform that showcases highlights from our incredible archive, livestreams of new performances, presentations by resident and international performing arts companies, and original digital content created exclusively for the platform.
IR: Can you explain a bit about the Centre for Creativity and what the plans are for that space?
LH: The Opera House’s new Centre for Creativity is due to open early in 2022. It will play a key role in our commitment to broaden and deepen engagement with new audiences – metropolitan, regional and remote – with programming that will appeal to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. The programs will draw on the extraordinary building, the art and artists that bring our stages and digital spaces to life, and the powerful First Nations stories of our site, inspiring creativity among participants through dance, design, performance and storytelling. It will be our mission in action: inspiring and strengthening the community every day.
IR: How can brands get involved with the Opera House through this space?
LH: As a not-for-profit organisation, the Opera House welcomes partners that share our vision for positive change and can play an important role in enabling the Opera House to be a meeting place for the whole community, increasing participation and engagement.
IR: What does the Opera House look for when aligning with brands for partnerships such as this one?
LH: As a cultural icon and symbol of modern Australia, the Opera House is committed to inspiring and strengthening the community through everything we do. That’s why, in October 2019 we became the first Australian arts institution to commit to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our commitment is reflected in a range of Opera House plans for diversity, inclusion and belonging; reconciliation; access; and environmental sustainability. Working towards achieving these goals as a community requires a huge coordinated effort and creative collaboration with organisations who share our vision. Our two-year partnership with Dettol – our newest Global Goals partner – will enable a number of initiatives focused on the health and education of the youngest Australians.
IR: Is the Opera House hopeful that when NSW reaches vaccination targets that CBD foot traffic will rebound?
LH: When we reopened in November last year, audiences seemed delighted to be back, and so were we, despite initial reluctance for some people. In the six months after reopening in 2020, the Opera House safely welcomed more than 230,000 people to more than 800 events and performances. We very much hope the sentiment will be the same, and it has been wonderful to see everybody playing their part to help us reach the reopening roadmap milestones sooner than anticipated.