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An Opera House for Everybody - Applause for $5 tickets

A CHARITABLE program that makes $5 Opera House tickets available to low-income earners is transforming lives with a dose of high culture reports Robert Burton-Bradley in the Central of 21 May2008.

Lynette Tomlinson had never been to the Sydney Opera House until she was given the opportunity through the Balnaves Foundation Open House program, which is run in partnership between the Sydney Opera House and The Factory Community Centre in Redfern.

"I think it was like a dream come true just to say I had been to the Opera House," Ms Tomlinson said. "I enjoyed it immensely.

"Whoever organised it I could have kissed their feet."

The Open House program makes $5 tickets available to the unwaged, pensioners and healthcare and transport concession card holders so they can experience some of the finest theatre and musical performance in Sydney at a fraction of the usual cost. Transportation is also organised in the form of a bus to take beneficiaries to the Opera House and home again. Irene Doutney, who helps co-ordinate the Open House program, said the idea was probably the only way many people would ever get to visit the Opera House and see a cultural performance.

"I think it's a really worthy project," she said.

"It's really important for people to be able to participate in the culture, to get people to see something that might challenge them a little bit.

"It's opening the Opera House to people who might normally never be able to afford to go there."

The latest show to be part of the program will be Edward Scissorhands, the stage production adapted from Tim Burton's 1990 film, for which full-price tickets would normally cost up to $110.

The next Open House outing is on June 3 at 6:30pm. To find out more contact Irene Doutney at the Factory on 9698 9569.

Picture: Timothy Clapin: Lynette Tomlinson is a recipient of $5 Opera House tickets for low-income earners.

Source: in the Central of 21 May2008.