The Sydney Opera House has thrown Australian performing artists and creators a $1.2 million lifeline in response to the COVID-19 crisis, with a new program funded by the venue’s donors, partners and contractors to commission a broad range of fresh work.

New Work Now will finance new classical and contemporary music and First Nations theatre and dance, among other genres, with an eye to producing performances for digital distribution and/or live performance over the next two years, says the Opera House’s Head of Programming, Fiona Winning.

Some of the more substantial New Work Now works will receive $25,000 to $75,000. Some have already been committed to for the From Our House to Yoursonline program.

Andrew Goodwin as Janik in Sydney Chamber Opera’s Diary of One Who Disappeared. Photograph © Craig Wall

New Work Now’s launch comes as the Opera House readies to announce the reopening of most of its performance spaces in November, apart from the Concert Hall, which is still under reconstruction.

Winning will lead six heads of Opera House programming areas to commission the New Work Now shows. “By beginning this...