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14 May 2019

A call for a more inclusive future for opera

A call for a more inclusive future for opera

Three Australian composers Liza Lim, Peggy Polias and Bree van Reyk, together with stage director Sally Blackwood, have released a call to action for cultural leadership and systemic change in opera. In the article published on the ArtsHub website yesterday and co-signed by more than 70 artists, the authors call for a national commitment to a more inclusive future for the art form:

'Now is the time for opera in Australia to evolve and to lead the way with diversity on our stages, in our creative teams, and on our panels. We are calling for a better vision for opera in its work practices and as an art form.

'We demand a national commitment to systemic change:

1. We want diversity to be reflected in all aspects of the opera we experience.

2. We call for a questioning of the systemic acceptance of gender-based violence in opera.

3. We want recognition, respect, advocacy and support for creators who are female, non-binary and from diverse cultural backgrounds.

4. We call for safe inclusive spaces for people with diverse voices and abilities to set the agenda, to lead the conversation, to have a resonant voice.

5. We want to decolonise the distribution of power so that the stories and creative work of women and all people with diverse voices resonate equally with that of men.

6. We call for an unprecedented commitment to the programming and commissioning of new Australian opera work with gender and cultural diversity at the forefront.

7. We call for those in leadership to back us and that the act of hearing be prioritised alongside the act of speaking.'

The call for action came about as a result of the inaugural New Opera Workshop (NOW) organised in Brisbane in April, with many female participants recognising the need for a more inclusive approach, not just in terms of who gets profiled or is invited to speak at conferences and workshops, but also for the art form in general.

> Read the call to action in its entirety on ArtsHub.

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