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Collage artwork for MISC. Artists Program
Photograph: Supplied/Sydney Opera House

LGBTQIA+ teens can sign up for free creative workshops at the Sydney Opera House

The MISC. program is helping young people learn the ropes from talented creators, including a seven-time Archibald finalist

Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross

If you know (or are) a creative teenager who could really use a safe space to express themself freely and find connection, this is your call to action. The Sydney Opera House has teamed up with Transmedium, a trans-led and youth-centered community arts organisation, for MISC. Artist Program. In this free series, a group of LGBTQIA+ teenagers and their allies (ages 15-19) will be mentored by emerging and established queer artists on various art forms. From queer still life drawing to pride poetry, there will be a different workshop every month.

The program kicks off in December 2023, and workshop participants will be drawn from an expression of interest process for young artists seeking development and support. The first workshop is Pride and Poetry: Call Us By Our Names with Mohammad Awad (he/they), an award-winning Queer/Arab/Muslim writer, director, poet and playwright. Mohammad will lead a masterclass in writing honest poetry and authentic storytelling, finding power in your voice and the love of your community (Saturday, Dec 16, 10am-4pm).

The second workshop is Queer Still Life: Drawing Out Stories with Kim Leutwyler (pronouns in flux), a seven-time Archibald Prize finalist whose paintings explore notions of beauty, gender and queer identity, and have been exhibited in multiple galleries and museums throughout the world. Kim will guide participants through an (alcohol-free) Draw’n’Sip, covering the fundamental techniques of life drawing, as well as collectively crafting a still life tableau to explore our queer stories through drawing (Saturday, Feb 17, 2-5pm). Below is Leutwyler's most recent Archibald-finalist painting, a portrait of actor Zoe Terakes.

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A post shared by Kim Leutwyler (@carlosbob)

The founder of Transmedium, Claud Bailey (they/them) – who is also an award-winning filmmaker and producer – is passionate about celebrating queerness and creating deep intergenerational connections. They told Time Out:

“Community has always been a lifeline to queer folk throughout history, and queer teenagers are still in the phase of life where community isn’t always accessible to them, making them extremely vulnerable. MISC. offers them an opportunity to meet older queer artists who won’t only teach them about their art form but give invaluable insights and life lessons that have led them to where they are today. I cannot stress how important and life-affirming this can be for LGBTQIA+SB teenagers.” 

In recent years, the Opera House has really been stepping it up with more diverse and accessible programming as well as LGBTQIA+ centred events (like the recently staged epic queer rock opera Bark of Millions). These free workshops sound like a brilliant and wholesome opportunity for young folks who are still figuring it all out to seek guidance, find mutual understanding, and level-up their creative skills. 

If you are interested in registering for this free event, you can send an email to and find more information over here.


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