Rhoda Roberts AO

Actor, Creative Director, Writer, Producer & Arts Consultant

Rhoda Roberts AO is a significant force on the Australian arts scene. A member of the Bundjalung nation, Widjabul clan of Northern NSW and South East QLD, Rhoda heads the First Nations Programming for the Sydney Opera House, is Festival Director of the Boomerang Festival / Bluesfest, Creative Director of the Parrtjima Festival ( NT) and an Associate of Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA).

A much awarded arts executive, Rhoda received an AO for distinguished service to the performing arts, leadership, advocacy and promoting contemporary Indigenous culture. In 2019, she was recognised with a Ros Bower Award from the Australia Council; in 2018, she received the Helpman Award - The Sue Nattrass Award; in 1998 she received a Deadly Award for Broadcasting and in 1997, she was recognized with a Sidney Myer Facilitators award.

With a diverse range of international and national industry experience within commercial, community and non-profit organisations, Rhoda is a sought-after speaker and performer in theatre, film, television and radio.

More about Rhoda Roberts:

Rhoda was a radio broadcaster with the National Music program Deadly Sounds for 21 years and a reporter and host for the Radio National Program Awaye before being appointed to produce the weekly national program Deadly Voices from the House , with live talks and monthly podcasts.

An ambassador for the Archie Roach Foundation, she has written, directed and produced several documentaries, including In the Gutter No Way for SBS TV (1989). She was the first Aboriginal to host a national prime time current affairs program, and a co-founding member of The Aboriginal National Theatre Trust (ANTT).

Rhoda was commissioned by Opera Australia to direct and write Yarrabah the Musical following the success of her direction of the international Opera Miricoloa a Milanao by Italy's Giorgio Battistelli for the Brisbane Festival 2009. She was the Artistic Director of the Festival of the Dreaming staged in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Creative Director for the Awakening Segment Sydney Olympic Games 2000, the Opening Ceremony of the Rugby World Cup in 2003, the Athens handover ceremony, the opening ceremony of the Musee Du Quay Branley, Paris, the Japan Expo, and World Youth Day events. As Artistic Director of Sydney Dreaming Festival and Australia Day events she developed and directed the Woggan ma Gule annual ceremony for ten years. Since 2016, she has worked on the bridge and pylon creative strategies for the City of Sydney New Years Eve events.

In 1998 she co-wrote and performed the one woman show Please Explain. Her solo production Bible Boxing Love toured the east coast of Australia in 2008. She has written the novel Tullymorgan and featured in the film A Sisters Love (produced and directed by Ivan Sen). Rhoda's consultancy work includes, advisor with the SPC Secretariat Pacific Communities, Festival of Pacific Arts.

Rhoda hosts and develops stories for the television health series Living Strong and the NITV series In the Frame. She has hosted First Contact the Reunion for SBS and is well known for her work with SBS television as a journalist and presenter for the current affairs program, Vox Populi. She has also worked for Network Ten and ABC Radio as a producer and journalist.

She is renowned for coining the term Welcome to Country "establishing a focus on protocol manuals and welcomes by local custodians for the arts and media industries".

Rhoda Roberts has been on several boards including: Indigenous Tourism Australia, The Australia International Cultural Council (AICC) Playwriting Australia (Chair) Sydney Opera House Trust, The Dreaming Festival Board, NSW Australia Day Council. Darling Harbour Authority, The National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA), The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, Actors Equity, Aboriginal National Theatre Trust, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and The Yothu Yindi Foundation Garma Festival Board.

Client testimonials

Rhoda was dynamic, engaging and professional. The workshop she conducted was excellent. She is a powerful woman and her stories and words were inspiring. It gave me a deeper insight into what the lives of Aboriginal People are like and the problems they have to overcome... Thank you Rhoda.

New England Regional Development of Education & Training - Workshop Participant

Brilliant presentation style... gave me insight into so many issues and also added the visual perspective to learning and relationships.

New England Regional Development of Education & Training - Workshop Participant

What an inspirational person. So passionate and yet so grounded, honest and open-minded! Her workshop was refreshing and offered a totally different way to discuss such an important and sensitive issue. A brilliant choice for a keynote speaker, well done!

New England Regional Development of Education & Training - Workshop Participant

Rhoda was fabulous to work with and her delivery was exactly as per my pre conference discussions. She strongly set the mood and theme of the Educational Conference and stimulated the participants to reflect critically on Aboriginal Education and their own personal perceptions. A genuine speaker who reaches out on so many levels!

Aboriginal Educational Team