A Day in the Life of Dr Edwina Throsby, Head of Talks & Ideas, Sydney Opera House
Dr Edwina Throsby has an enviable, yet jam-packed role. As the Sydney Opera House’s Head of Talks & Ideas, she’s responsible for the curation of the Opera House’s boundary-pushing programs and festivals including All About Women and Antidote. She’s also host of the podcast, It’s a Long Story, produced at the Sydney Opera House, which delves into the big ideas that are born and examined inside this hub of cultural talent.
Needless to say, her daily routine is impressive. Here’s a closer look:
When my daughter was a baby and woke me up early, I developed a new appreciation for the morning. Now, on the days when she’s with her dad, I’m out the door early and heading to the beach or yoga – it’s a revelation that sometimes the things that are good for you are actually also the funnest and most satisfying … weird.
My job is all about knowing stuff, so my trip to work is about reading and listening – articles from all over the place, a revolving variety of podcasts, and SO SO many books. Every spare moment has to be spent consuming information, otherwise I just wouldn’t get through it all, and even then I perpetually feel like I’m not even slightly across everything I need to be.
A programming meeting with my team. These are the best meetings – we share all of the things we’ve found interesting, the people who we’d like to invite to speak at the Opera House, and who we might want them to speak with. At the moment we’re working on All About Women, so we’re getting deep into feminist writing and thinking – finally my honours degree in Gender Studies makes sense.
I am completely obsessed with food and a small but insistent part of my brain starts thinking about lunch at about the time I’ve finished breakfast. I try and bring my own whenever I can, but at the moment I’m finding it hard to go past the lunches at Kitchen By Mike – just up the road, a rotating selection of excellent salads, and a discount when you bring your own reusable lunch container.
It’s time for our design meeting, where we look at the first lot of images which will become the visual identity of All About Women 2020. Each year for this festival we work with an independent illustrator to create a totally new design and feel, this year it’s a brilliant woman from Melbourne. It’s hugely fun and very rewarding working with everyone to create a festival that has a cohesive identity and attitude. I’m imagining how the tea towels will look already.
One of the major perks of my job is going to a bunch of Sydney Opera House shows. My colleague Ben Marshall’s contemporary music program is always bringing out artists that I’m desperate to see: Solange, Wu Tang Clan, Iggy Pop, Nick Cave. Otherwise, if there’s no show that night, I’m pretty happy at home cooking a meal and schooling my daughter in the finer points of reality television: she’s only nine but I’m grooming her to be a future Survivor winner, she’s going to make me rich.
Edwina’s Fast Five
RIGHT NOW I’M LISTENING TO…
The amazing Zadie Smith being interviewed in podcasts (I have to interview her myself in a couple of weeks, gulp).
I GET MY BEST WORK DONE WHEN…
I’m genuinely engaged and interested in the task at hand.
A PHILOSOPHY I LIVE AND WORK BY IS…
There are two things in life you never regret: swimming in the ocean, and doing the washing up before you go to bed.
MY PRODUCTIVITY HACK IS…
Tea. A cup of tea makes me sit at my desk until the task is complete, and I swear it helps me think more clearly.
SOMETHING I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I LEARNED THE HARD WAY IS…
If you don’t know, ask, even if you might sound stupid. If someone judges you for not knowing, they’re not worth knowing.
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