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By Marissa Ciampi
June 27, 2017


An ambitious new ideas festival from the Sydney Opera House that will ponder how to change the world.
By Marissa Ciampi
June 27, 2017

The Sydney Opera House's groundbreaking Festival of Dangerous Ideas is being replaced in 2017 by ANTIDOTE, a new festival that will not only explore ideas and art — but how we can turn them into action and positive change.

The new festival will take place at the Opera House over the weekend of Saturday, September 2 and Sunday, September 3. ANTIDOTE is a replacement for the eight-year-old FoDI, taking it to the next level by celebrating artists, thinkers and doers who have spearheaded change with a program of immersive performances, speeches and workshops.

Curated by Danielle Harvey (who was also behind last year's inaugural Bingefest), the new festival responds to the time we live in. Featured in the inaugural program is a performance of Cherophobia by Noëmi Lakmaier, which wowed onlookers in London earlier this year. In the performance, Lakmaier is lifted by 20,000 party balloons over nine hours. The experimental artwork aims to unite the audience in shared suspense while exploring the conflicting emotions of control, desire and restraint.

Other international heavyweights include transgender rights activist Janet Mock and the satirists behind The Onion, along with Tamika D. Mallory (national co-chair of the Women's March on Washington) and Reni Eddo-Lodge (author of Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race). The festival also features local change makers such as Indigenous figures Uncle Jack Charles and Archie Roach, as well as LGBTQI+ rights activist Julie McCrossin (Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras '78er), and blogger Celeste Liddle (Rantings of an Aboriginal Feminist).

A focus on interactive performances will immerse the audiences throughout the two-day festival — these will include sketches by UK interactive theatre groups Kaleider and Blank Placard Dance, as well as a performance by choreographer Anne Collod, who will revisit Anna Halprin's legendary dance movement that took place in 1950s–80s San Francisco.

Plus, storytelling favourite Women of Letters returns to the Sydney Opera House, with special guests including ARIA-winner Sarah Blasko, Mystery Road star Tasma Walton, veteran comedy performer Jean Kittson, journalist and author of Beyond Veiled Cliches: The Real Lives of Arab Women Amal Awad and more.

ANTIDOTE is about fostering hope and change in a time when a lot of us are angry and anxious about what's happening in the world. If you want some action point, tickets go on sale at 9am on Thursday, July 6 and free registrations for Cherophobia are now open.

Image: Cherophobia, Noemi Lakmaier, shot by Grace Gelder.

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