In January, the Opera House will open its first new, purpose-built programming venue in more than 20 years. The Centre for Creativity, built in former office space, will offer a program of hands-on experiences, installations, participatory performances and workshops for people of all ages and abilities. It’ll encompass design, engineering, dance, singing, storytelling and drawing.

The first experience is House Warming, a free installation from Sydney artist Rosie Deacon. A forest-like space, made with recycled materials, will fill the centre and visitors will be able to explore the installation and add to it, creating an evolving experience over time.

Other experiences for those aged 15-plus include Afro House – a dance workshop for beginners led by Western Sydney hip-hop crew Can You Afro, melding street and African dance moves – and a workshop teaching the basics of Aboriginal weaving, led by Tegan Murdock, a proud member of the Barkindtji, Maraura, Yorta Yorta and Duduroa tribes.

There’s also guided meditation sessions with counsellor and meditation teacher Nadine Cameron and ambient musician Snowborne (David Rosa), and a First Nations Design Day, teaching drawing, making, learning through yarning circles, and natural dyeing with foraged materials.

For adults over 18, there’s Architecture Club, a series of Saturday-afternoon workshops inspired by the work of Opera House architect Jorn Utzon, as well as a free public choir led by the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, and Dance Mardi Gras: Ballroom Vogue, a dance and movement class teaching the art of vogueing ahead of Mardi Gras.

Kids and families can stay entertained with mask-making, wig-making and puppet workshops, and an immersive rain experience for babies. There’s also a host of workshops and programs for students and teachers.

Artists are invited to develop and showcase new work to audiences in free sessions, with Wiradjuri dancer Emily Flannery and James Brown and Company kicking off the program.

The centre has been designed by architects at Tonkin Zulaikha Green, and includes a large room which fits up to 60 people for workshops and up to 100 people for seated events. A second, smaller room is designed for small group work.

The centre’s program has been curated by the Opera House’s head of children, families and creative learning, Tamara Harrison.

The Centre for Creativity opens on January 4, 2022 on the ground floor of the Opera House, accessible via the Western Foyers. Tickets for the inaugural program, which runs from January to March, go on sale at 9am on November 26.