Opera Australia Blog

At Handa Opera on the Harbour, volunteers play their part

Information couriers will be easy to spot on their bamboo bicycles.

Information couriers will be easy to spot on their bamboo bicycles.

By Bryce Hallett

Wearing mandarin-collared shirts and riding bamboo bicycles, two Qantas Information Couriers will be on hand to assist patrons with any information about the event they may care to know. They are the “go-to” volunteers. In the past week they’ve got to know details about the opera production and every square metre of Mrs Macquaries Point like the back of their hand.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour volunteer co-ordinator Felicity Hopkins says the courier service is an extension of last year’s Qantas Information Booth. “It’s a step up from that because we wanted to engage the crowd in a more direct and theatrical way. We didn’t want it to be just a passive beacon. There will be two couriers at each performance. They’ll be easy to spot with their bamboo bicycles loaded with suitcases and crates. And glossy brochures.”

During the Madama Butterfly season there’ll be a rotating roster of 11 volunteers, each outgoing, helpful and across every detail of the huge event. “They’ll be able to tell you who’s in the cast that night, where to buy sushi, how to get to a particular bar or dining terrace and where to go for a taxi.”

Hopkins has worked with volunteers at a number of music festivals, including the popular Woodford Folk Music Festival. “Volunteers are hungry to take on these roles and love nothing more than interacting with people and helping them out. The people who come to this event are pretty excited and respond to the support and spontaneity of the volunteers. It’s a great thing to be part of.”

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