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  1. Jenny Slate for Antidote Festival
    Photograph: SOH/Katie McCurdy | Jenny Slate
  2. Audience at Antidote
    Photograph: SOH/Prudence Upton
  3. Audience at Antidote looks engaged in discussion
    Photograph: SOH/Daniel Boud
  4. Brian Cox for Antidote Festival
    Photograph: Supplied/SOH | Brian Cox

Time Out says

The Sydney Opera House’s annual festival of ideas, art and change is back

After two years of being resigned to a fully virtual program, Antidote festival is back in IRL action in 2022, taking place on site at the Sydney Opera House as well as online on Sunday, September 11. 

The festival of ideas, art and change will feature 17 talks, conversations and panels, four workshops and an art activation. Antidote aims to create a vigorous platform to confront the challenges of a changing world, to find solace and strength in collective purpose, and to mark and celebrate cultural and social transformation.

This year’s program features a line-up of international and Australian writers, artists, scientists, thought leaders and pop-culture change makers. There’s Jenny Slate – the actress, comedian and author behind Marcel the Shell with Shoes On whom you may have spotted in Parks and Recreation, Everything Everywhere All At Once, Girls, and her Netflix special Stage Fright – in a conversation that will find the laughter and joy in our sometimes weird lives. In The Evil in Us All prolific theatre, film and television actor Brian Cox (Succession) will delve into his unmatched ability to bring characters to life that carry rage, fury and frightening acts of cruelty within themselves. Jarvis Cocker, legendary founder and frontman of British pop-rock band Pulp, will open his attic to reveal some of the unique objects he’s collected over the years and the intriguing stories behind them in a livestreamed chat titled Good Pop, Bad Pop.

From the local contingent, former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks on the spread of disinformation online and what we can do about it in Unfriend the Algorithm, alongside author of Facts and Other Lies and leading expert on impact communications Ed Coper. In The World Turned Upside Down, leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt, former politician and first female Independent to sit on the parliamentary crossbench Cathy McGowan, newly elected “teal” Independent Allegra Spender and others discuss the record number of Independents and Greens elected in the May federal election and what it means for the future of politics. 

Ukraine Has Changed Us will be a multi-disciplinary artistic response to the brutal invasion and ongoing war in Ukraine, including poetry from celebrated Ukrainian poet and recent nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Serhiy Zhadan, appearing live from Kharkiv. On the other end of the spectrum, psychosexologist Chantelle Otten curates How To Have Sex, an enlightening and empowering panel for all genders and sexual identities on eroticising consent and communicating expectations and desires. 

Re:Tuning is a series of free workshops and performances led by artists James Nguyen and Victoria Pham to re-tune our ears to sounds and music systems too often buried in the West.

The program also features interactive workshops including a beginner’s guide to the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi with master Jun Morooka; a workshop on kitchen waste hacks based on the Cornersmith book How to Use it All; Native Botanical Soap Making guided by Wiradjuri woman, scientist, and cultural educator Renee Cawthorne; and Active Bystander Training to arm yourself with the skills to safely intervene and make a positive difference in difficult situations.

You can check out the whopping full program at, and we suggest planning your day wisely with some breaks to avoid oversaturation of ideas and a consequent burnout. 

Tickets start from $33 + booking fee for onsite events (multipacks also available) and from $15 for digital livestreams (multipacks of eleven also available). Insiders pre-sales are open from 9am on June 28, What’s On pre-sales from 9am June 29, general public tickets are on-sale from 9am on July 1. 

Want more art and ideas? Check out the best exhibitions in Sydney this month

Alannah Le Cross
Written by
Alannah Le Cross


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