The transformative power of words knows no bounds. Or so we are told. But if words are that great, then why is the world in the state it’s in? Led by team captains Annabel Crabb and David Marr and under the merciless adjudication of Jan Fran, some of our brightest writers and thinkers – including Osman Faruqi, First Dog on the Moon, Alex Lee and Robert Dessaix – will debate one brutal proposition: Words don't change minds. As society grapples with intransigent positions, trying to work out which facts, data and empirical evidence produce meaningful action, our two teams of skilled wordsmiths try to summon the right combination of nouns, adjectives, verbs and fiddly bits to triumph in our rhetorical arena.

This event is Auslan interpreted. Contact our ticketing team either by phone on (02) 9256 4200 or via email at to book the best sight line. Visit our Accessibility page for more information. 

Special offer: Two flagship shows for $75

The only thing better than seeing one star-studded stage spectacular is seeing two back-to-back! On Thursday 26 May, make a night of it at Sydney Town Hall. Buy a Premium A Reserve ticket to both the SWF Great Debate and The Chrissy Sharp Poetry Gala in the same transaction, and receive $25 dollars off. The discount will be applied automatically at check-out. Serenades, soliloquies and sparring – what more could a lover of words want?