agents of change
2021 season announcement soon
What is ACOCo?
ACOCo (formerly Gertrude Opera) is a professional, non-profit organisation
specialising in the production of contemporary and festival opera,
driven by attracting new and existing audiences for dynamic opera performances.
Our work involves compelling story-telling for our times - embracing multi-culturalism through a synthesis of dramatic vocal, musical and theatrical arts.
We are of the 'live audience' tribe,
and we also play in the virtual arena.
What is 'contemporary' opera?
Contemporary opera is, to try to put it simply, of now. Stories of us, and of others - to make sense of our place in the world. Anything and everything, from old music transformed by new creative thinking to brand new, cutting-edge work.
There is no prior opera experience necessary; no correct response to a performance, nor any pre-learning to get the most out of it. You are only required to be present, absorb the story and allow yourself to be moved.
Contemporary opera may contain music you recognise, or it may be new - whether tuneful or dramatic, contemporary opera is not ambient entertainment; it is crafted to make you focus and feel something.
Contemporary opera takes artistic risks across a multitude of creative forms - composition, literature, design, fashion, dance, puppetry, technology, film, visual arts; the thrill is in bringing together the work of artists in
an array of fields.
Every production is a blank canvas for a wild ride for the imagination
and an opportunity for change.
ACOCo is led by founder and artistic director, Linda Thompson -
"a cultural entrepreneur for the 21st century" (Dr Peter Ellyard, Futurist/Strategist/Author)
a revolving team of Australian and international artists and creative thinkers, and supported by a network of enlightened and generous individuals and foundations.
What makes ACOCo unique?
We have a 12-year track record of bold, calculated risks, a local focus and a global perspective. Since 2009, we have existed through a combination of box office takings, philanthropic foundation grants, and generous contributions from our donors. We expand the horizons of our collaborators (professional artists, musicians, theatre-makers) through bold programming, and give free mentoring, skill development, and professional guidance to exceptional young artists through our Gertrude Johnson Studio Program. We attract new and existing opera audiences through the stories we tell, consistency, and excellence of our artists, musicians, and productions. Our recent international collaborations include partnerships with Monk Parrots (USA) and Glyndebourne Festival Opera (UK)
Established in 2008 as The Opera Studio Melbourne, and known as Gertrude Opera since 2013, ACOCo has grown from its beginnings as a young artist repertory company to a leading producer of Australian premieres and contemporary treatments, and founder of the only opera festival in Australia.
Accolades & Press
Outstanding Production by an Independent Company 2019 (The Enchanted Pig - Australian Premiere)
Outstanding Production by an Independent Company 2018 (The Handmaid's Tale - Australian Premiere)
Outstanding Direction 2020 (Linda Thompson, The Handmaid's Tale)
Outstanding Direction 2016 (Greg Eldridge, Trouble in Tahiti)
Outstanding Direction 2015 (Luke Leonard, the difficulty of crossing a field - Australian Premiere)
"showing Australia that opera can be contemporary, relevant, theatrically gripping
and musically excellent" (Bel Canto)
Media Archive YouTube Channel