News May 21, 2021

Beau James to lead First Nations programs for Sydney Opera House

Beau James to lead First Nations programs for Sydney Opera House
Pictured: Beau James / Photographer: Daniel Boud / Source: Supplied

The iconic has appointed producer and performer Beau James as head of First Nations programming, effective June 7.

“I’m looking forward to programming First Nations artists and using this platform to drive real cultural change in the arts and society by truth telling for First Nations voices and increasing their visibility,” James said.

‘Through all my work I strive to highlight Aboriginal culture and life within the LGBTQIA+ community by engaging with issues such as culture, race, gender, and sexuality.”

He is from the Mununjali clan of the Yugambeh Nation from South East Queensland with links to Stradbroke Island.

James has worked as a company director, circus artist, physical theatre and cabaret performer and was the co-founder and director of Circus Minimus in Brisbane for 10 years.

The circus company worked with Queensland based community organisations focused on the homeless, the disabled and women prisoners.

For the last seven years James worked as manager and head of indigenous programs at the Australian National Maritime Museum, curating innovative exhibitions and programs and sourced new works intertwining the traditional and the contemporary to explore First Nations culture.

The Opera House’s First Nations programming was set up nine years ago by its inaugural head of indigenous programming, Widjabal-Wia-bul woman Rhoda Roberts AO.

It won awards for its international collaborations, including the Boomerang concert tour in the northern hemisphere, and labs and workshops to foster new music and talent in all disciplines.

Roberts left the Opera House in autumn to freelance, with projects including curating Alice Springs Parrtjima arts & lights festival, and contribute to indigenous programming at NSW’s Northern Rivers Performing Arts.

“Beau’s curatorial and lived experience means that they are uniquely placed to lead our First Nations team and connect with First Nations communities as well as audiences onsite and online,” the Opera House’s director of programming Fiona Winning said.

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