Magda Szubanski on the healing power of the arts and laughter Comedian Magda Szubanski AO has been making us laugh for three decades. Her comedic talents...

Magda Szubanski


483 George Street
2000 NSW

Sydney Town Hall
From: $35.00
Magda Szubanski headshot
Magda Szubanski headshot


Magda Szubanski headshot

Magda Szubanski

Magda Szubanski is a national treasure whose ability to make us laugh is matched by incredible empathy. As an actor, writer and producer, she is renowned for her starring roles in Kath and Kim, Fast Forward, D-Generation, Big Girl’s Blouse, Babe and Happy Feet. Magda’s revealing memoir Reckoning won a raft of awards including 2016 ABIA Book of the Year, Biography of the Year, Booksellers Choice Award, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Indie Award for Non-Fiction and Victorian Community History Award.  

Since coming out as gay in 2012 – on national television – Magda has championed LGBTQIA+ rights. Recently, she hit the road for Regeneration, helping to rebuild bushfire- and disaster-affected communities with creative workshops. Magda has experienced first-hand the healing power of laughter, nature and the arts, and is committed to sharing these wonders to foster ‘trauma-literacy’ in society.  

Julia Baird Headshot

Julia Baird

Julia Baird is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist who hosts The Drum on ABC TV and writes columns for The New York Times, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. She has also written for The Washington Post, Good Weekend, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Guardian. Julia’s first book, Media Tarts, was based on her history PhD about the portrayal of female politicians. After moving to the United States to take up a fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School, she became a columnist and senior editor of Newsweek in New York. Julia’s biography of Queen Victoria was published in several countries to critical acclaim and was one of The New York Times’ top ten books of 2016. Her latest book, Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and the Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark is a number one best seller. 

Event Details

Magda Szubanski on the healing power of the arts and laughter

Comedian Magda Szubanski AO has been making us laugh for three decades. Her comedic talents are eclipsed only by her courage, commitment and advocacy, especially for LGBTQIA+ rights, diversity and inclusion.

She and ABC TV’s The Drum presenter Julia Baird sit down for a fireside chat on the things that illuminate their days, including the healing power of laughter, nature and the arts. These subjects resonate through Julia’s book Phosphorescence, this year’s ABIA Book of the Year winner that has touched a chord with so many who have faced dark days. Together Magda and Julia will talk about the importance of taking a stand for what you believe in, how to draw on inner reserves of strength, why laughter really is the best medicine and the joys of self-acceptance.

In her internationally acclaimed and ABIA Award-winning memoir Reckoning Magda reveals her family’s intergenerational trauma, their migration to Australia and her coming-of-age as a young gay woman. Magda knew she was gay when she was five years old in 1966 – however it took until 2012 for her to overcome her “internalised homophobia” to announce that she was gay – live on national TV. Since then, she has become one of the most ‘devastatingly effective’ campaigners for LGBTQIA+ rights in Australia.

Reckoning received rave reviews and has won a swag of literary awards, yet the book is a small chapter in Magda’s long and rocky road towards self-acceptance. She found healing in the arts and a sense of community. Recently she and 19-year-old Egg Boy aka Will Connolly have been on a road trip for Regeneration, helping bushfire- and disaster-affected communities heal through creative workshops. From her own experiences and those of others she has met on the road, Magda is convinced that getting people "trauma literate" is critical for the smooth running of civil society. Find out why she's in it for the long haul.

In this year’s Game Changer series we celebrate the Mavericks and the Misfits of the world. Come and hear these two incredible women in conversation and ask them your long held burning questions in person.

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  • Wheelchair accessible - Access to the venue is suitable for wheelchairs (toilets, ramps/lifts etc.) and designated wheelchair spaces are available.