Make a big difference to The Big Idea.

Help us tell the most creative stories.

Become a supporter

× Sorry, you're too late! This opportunity closed 5 months ago. Visit our WORK section to see current opportunities.

Head of Contemporary Performance

Job details

Sydney Opera House
10 Aug 2020
Work type
Full time employment
Work classification
Management & Admin, Performing Arts, Screen & Sound



The Sydney Opera House is an iconic Australian institution that embodies beauty, inspiration and the liberating power of art and ideas.

Our vision is to be as bold and inspiring as the Opera House itself.

Our mission is twofold:

  • To treasure and renew the Opera House for future generations of artists, audiences and visitors; and

  • To inspire, and strengthen the community, through everything we do.

For more information about the Sydney Opera House please refer to our website.



This senior artistic leadership position is required to program and present an annual program of profit-generating popular entertainment and a selection of contemporary culture events and performance seasons. The role is responsible for the artistic framework of commercial entertainment and contemporary performance, and for the artistic planning and selection of events. Working alongside a producing resource, the role has overall accountability for the project management and delivery of projects, including negotiating deals, budgeting, writing proposals and business cases, and briefing marketing and production teams. This position is expected to work within the Artistic Strategy and is responsible for the management of the annual budgeting that includes both commercial and subsidised events. This position also works alongside other Heads of Program in Contemporary Music, Digital, Talks and Ideas, First Nations and Children, Families & Education to produce a comprehensive Sydney Opera House Presents offering to audiences throughout the year.

Further detailed information about the role and its requirements can be obtained from the role description.


  • Degree qualified with a minimum of 10 years’ experience in a senior role, with a successful track record in creating and delivering artistic projects

  • A high-level profile as a respected member of the arts and cultural sector. A networker with significant links and contacts throughout Australia and internationally which can be utilised to support this role.

  • Extensive knowledge and appetite for most forms of popular entertainment, plus an understanding of contemporary cultural trends and the ability to translate these trends into viable cultural initiatives.

  • Significant experience in developing and producing a commercial-level scope of work.

  • Wide experience in selecting content and artists for programs.

  • Strong knowledge of the workings of the arts and cultural industry and its national and international networks.

  • Experience in developing and implementing business plans and strategies. Highly articulate with excellent writing skills.

  • Experience in generating ideas and translating them from concept to reality.

  • Experience in developing and managing networks and partnership relationships.

  • Ability to understand the commercial imperatives of an arts organisation, including the roles played by marketing, sponsorship and philanthropy.

  • Negotiation and contract management skills, sound analytical and problem solving skills and excellent budget management skills.

  • An ability to represent SOH externally and to bring credibility and authority to their public advocacy for the arts.

  • An ability to attend events and performances in the evenings/weekends in Australia and internationally.


Applicants are asked to include an up to date resume of no more than five pages which clearly details your relevant skills and experience and how they relate to the requirements and capabilities for the role. Applicants are also asked to address their suitability in a covering letter of no more than five pages addressing the following two targeted questions:

  • This role has accountability for consistently meeting ambitious commercial targets each year through their programming. Please outline your prior experience in personally delivering high levels of commercial return consistently over a period of 3 - 5 years. Ensure you outline how you developed your commercial programming strategy and note your project / program targets and the ultimate results achieved within your answer. (2 pages maximum).

  • This role is responsible for balancing a commercial program with a program of more artistically ambitious and/or avant garde, bespoke work that may require subsidy. Please outline what your approach would be in curating and delivering such a program, to ensure artistic vibrancy, cohesiveness of program, internal and external 'buy in' to such an expansive program, and appropriate financial and risk management. Include relevant examples from your prior experience where possible. (3 pages maximum).

Applicants MUST create a profile and submit their application electronically for this position at applicants who apply online and submit a suitable cover letter addressing the targeted questions will be considered for this position.

Sydney Opera House welcomes applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from diverse cultural backgrounds, people with disability, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

We seek to provide workplace adjustments at all relevant stages of the recruitment process such as interpreters, alternative formats or other access supports. You can specify in the application form if you require any adjustments or please ask us at any stage. If you need to contact us about making workplace adjustments during the recruitment process please send an email to or call us on 02 9250 7743.

Any offer of employment will be subject to a satisfactory National Police Check and Pre-Employment Health Assessment . The assessment seeks information only relevant to performing the inherent requirements of the job, it remains strictly confidential and applicants will be informed of the result.

Applications will not be accepted from recruitment agencies.


Job Status: Full Time, Ongoing

Position No: SOH1580

Salary: $135,617 – $145,730 per annum plus 9.5% superannuation contribution


How to apply


Applications Close: Monday, 10 August 2020, 11:59pm

Role Enquiries:

Written by

Julia Barnes

27 Jul 2020