Sydney Opera House Play It Safe

Play It Safe, the visual celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Sydney Opera House, has won one of the two Grand Prix Film awards at the 2024 Cannes Lions Festival. Launched in 2023, the 4-minute music video has Tim Minchin and a host of performers delivering a tongue-in-cheek ode to playing it safe. While Minchin’s lyrics present the case for conservatism and avoiding sticking one’s neck out, the visual montage of performances speaks of audacity and courageous creativity. The opening shot, an orange peel with shadow, hints at the iconic nature of the Sydney Opera House architecture and design. “For five decades the Opera House has stood in defiance of that nervous little voice inside us that tells us to play it safe and keep it simple. This special film celebrates our 50th anniversary, encouraging us all to live on the edge of possible, because when we do, extraordinary things can happen.”

The Sydney Opera House YouTube channel provides us with the 4-minute video, and behind-the-scenes mini documentaries.

Play It Safe Credits

Starring Tim Minchin, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Ziggy Ramo, Zahra Newman – Sydney Theatre Company, John Bell – Bell Shakespeare, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Elma Kris – Bangarra Dance Theatre, Kira Puru, Cathy-Di Zhang – Opera Australia, William Barton, Courtney Act, Jimmy Barnes, Sydney Dance Company Pre Professional Year Students and Associate Artists, Lucy Guerin dancers, and DirtyFeet dancers.

The Play It Safe campaign was developed at The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song, by Group CEOs and founders Mark Green and Scott Nowell, Chief Creative Officer Tara Ford, Executive Creative Director Barbara Humphries, Senior Art Director Alex Polglase, Senior Copywriter Jake Ausburn, Head of Production and Senior Producer Penny Brown, Producer Izzy Robertson, General Manager Kezia Quinn, Senior Business Director Fizzy Keeble, Experience Strategy Director Tim Wilson-Brown, Strategist Raghav I.

Sydney Opera House marketing team: Brand Lead: Joanne Been, GM, Marketing: Jade McKellar, Stephen O’Connor, GM, Communications: Kate Huish, Creative Director: Dan Ingham, Head of Brand and Marketing Campaigns: Rebecca Munro, Head of Digital Marketing: Paayal Dharmani, Senior Creative Content: Julia Kenny, Production Manager – Creative Studio: Natalia Scherer, Video Content Specialist: Amelia Jang, Senior Communications Manager: Melanie Wellington, Content Marketing Manager: Nicola Whiteside, Paid Media Manager: Jack Woodward, Event Account Manager: Daniel O’Connell, Production Coordinator: Emma Paterson.

Filming was shot by Director Kim Gehrig via Revolver and Somesuch with Cinematographer Stefan Duscio, Managing Director Michael Ritchie, Executive Producer Pip Smart, Somesuch Executive Producers Tim Nash and Sally Campbell, Production Designer Steven Jones-Evans, Costume Creative Director Vanessa Coyle, Costume Stylists Nicchia Wippell and Olivia Simpson.

Choreographer Lucy Geuerin worked with Bangarra Dance Theatre choreographer Stephen Page.

Editors were Elise Butt and Tom Lindsay at ARC Edit and Trim Editing with Executive Producers Alexander Fry and Noreen Khan, producers Kani Saib and Tatyana Alexandra, Colourist Trish Cahill, Online editor Eugene Richards.

Music and lyrics were by Tim Minchin. Music was produced and arranged by Elliott Wheeler, Turning Studios, with producer Carla de Menezes Ribeiro and music mix engineer Jamieson Shaw. Conductor Brett Weymark with Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

Sound was designed at MassiveMusic by Simon Kane.

Sydney Opera House orange peel

Play It Safe Lyrics

You’ve gotta keep it simple
Life is like a song
There are tunes that folk are used to
So if you want ’em to sing along
Just keep it simple

You oughta play it safe
Life is just a game
People like the rules as written
So just give ’em more of the same

No one likes a smart-arse (No one likes a smart-arse)
No one likes it complicated (You’ve gotta keep it simple)
If you want to go the distance
Find the path of least resistance
And just take it

You don’t want to stick your neck out (You don’t want to stick your neck out)
They’ll take your head off if you do (They’re gonna rip your head off)
Just sit up the back and judge others (Hey, sit down!)
It’ll keep ’em from judging you

If you’re too hard to stomach you’ll never amount to nothing
Ain’t that something?
No one cares what you have to say
Just shut up and play the role you’re cast in (You’ve got to play the role you’re cast in)
See upcoming pop shows
Get tickets for your favorite artists

You see, all the world’s a stage
So just say the lines you’re given
Exactly as they’re written
And for God’s sake
Act your age

No one likes a show-off (No one likes a show-off)
No one likes a clown
Just make sure you don’t stand out in the crowd
That way they can’t cut you down
You gotta build your walls around you (Build your walls around you)
You build them straight and make ’em square (Build them straight and square)
That way you’ll blend in with the background
That way no one will point and stare (No one will point and stare)

You gotta stick to your convictions (Stick to your convictions!)
You gotta nail down your views (Nail ’em down)
You wanna steer clear of the discomfort you feel
When you walk in another person’s shoes (You don’t need that!)

You gotta work out who your team is
Then wear the badge with pride
Find a box that makes ya comfortable
And then stay the heck inside

On the first day the Lord gave you television (Lord gave you television)
On the next he delivered a couch (He delivers)
Tell me how do you explain all this content
If the universe wanted you out and about

Toe the line
Don your suit
Hide your truth
Wipe your tears
Don’t cause trouble
Find your bubble
Stick to black-and-white ideas
Play it safe
Know your place
Know your lines
Know your limits
Find a doctrine
Get it locked in
Build a box and stay in it

Toe the line
Don your suit
Hide your truth
Wipe your tears
Don’t cause trouble
Find your bubble
Stick to black-and-white ideas
Play it safe
Keep it beige
Keep it simple and sameish
Leave the weird ideas to the Danish (To the weird old Danish)

You gotta play it safe
Your mind is like a house
If you keep it locked up tight
You just might keep the world out

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