Opera Queensland announces Board changes
Opera Queensland announced on Augsut 14. 2018 that dr Sally Pitkin will conclude her appointment as Chair at the end of September with Deputy Chair Emeritus Professor David Siddle stepping into therole. Kim Challenor will become the new Deputy Chair,.
Melbourne International Arts Festival
From soaring cathedrals of sound to the sweat of the circus and boxing rings, this year's Merlbourne International Arts Festival will be an extraordinary adventure thdough global and local arts, filledw with inspiring experiences for people of all ages.
Andrew said that this morning (Tuesday December 2,) that they had open calls for new talent for the oncoming musical Anything Goes.
So we didn’t find too many because it’s an open call and they came in all shapes and sizes. We have specific requirements at which we are looking at but we found a couple of nice guys that we never would have seen. So that’s good and probably a handful of girls that we would never have seen.
ACCLAIMED THEATRE PRODUCER
JOHN FROST OAMANNOUNCED AS 2014 RECIPIENT OF THE PRESTIGIOUS
JC WILLIAMSON AWARD ™
Live Performance Australia (LPA) has today announced that revered theatre producer John Frost has been named the 2014 JC WILLIAMSON AWARD™ recipient.
The JC WILLIAMSON AWARD™ is the foremost honour that the Australian live entertainment industry can bestow. The award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Australian live entertainment and performing arts industry and shaped the future of our industry for the better. Past winners include such iconic figures as Dame Joan Sutherland OM AC DBE, Barry Humphries AO CBE, Michael Gudinski AM, John Farnham AO and Graeme Murphy AM to name but a few.
John Frost has produced some of Australia’s most successful musical theatre productions over the past 3 decades. From the early days of the Gordon Frost Organisation with Hello Dolly!, The Secret Garden, Cabaret and Crazy for You to blockbuster musicals of more recent times such as Wicked, The Sound Of Music, Annie, The Wizard of Oz, Grease The Arena Spectacular, Chicago, South Pacific and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, John Frost has nurtured and steered the careers of hundreds of cast and crew with his passion and imparting knowledge. This year alone sees him producing multiple shows around Australia including Grease, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Wicked – 10th Anniversary production, The King and I with Opera Australia, and Once with the Melbourne Theatre Company.
John commenced his impressive career at the age of 16 when he was employed as a dresser on the J.C. Williamson Ltd production of Mame. The dedicated teenager worked his way up within the theatre world to Wardrobe Master, Stage Manager, Company Manager and eventually Producer. Having produced countless successful Australian productions over the years John has also gained international respect having won 2 Tony Awards for the Broadway productions of Hairspray and The King and I and currently has 2 shows playing on London’s West End, The Bodyguard and Blithe Spirit. John’s Australian productions of The Producers, Wicked and Legally Blonde – The Musical won Helpmann Awards for Best Musical in 2005, 2009 and 2013 respectively.
“I am truly grateful to Live Performance Australia and the JC Williamson Award Committee for this incredible honour. Receiving the JC Williamson Award™ is the highest tribute that can be bestowed on someone working in the performing arts industry, and to be acknowledged by my peers for a job I love is gratifying and inspiring. I'm humbled to be in the company of Googie Withers and John McCallum, Kenn Brodziak, Clifford Hocking, Tony Gould and other past recipients of this prestigious award. Thank you.” said John.
John Frost will be honoured at an industry celebration hosted by LPA in association with Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane on Monday 19th May. The night will include special performances as well as a host of special guests paying tribute to the theatre impresario and his outstanding contribution to the live performance industry in Australia.
LPA President Andrew Kay said, “We are thrilled to announce John Frost as this year’s JC Williamson Award recipient. John joins the ranks of a group of individuals who in their own way, and in their own field, have made extraordinary contributions to shaping and changing the landscape of our dynamic live performance industry. John’s contribution to commercial musical theatre in Australia is internationally renowned and esteemed in this country. We are delighted to be able to formally recognise his contribution and achievements at a celebratory dinner in May and at the Helpmann Awards on 18 August.”
NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Minister for the Arts, George Souris today congratulated Mr Frost on his prestigious award, which will be presented at the Helpmann Awards at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in August. The Helpmanns, supported by the NSW Government, recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the performing arts industry.
“Over the past three decades, John Frost, who hails from Sydney has produced some of Australia’s most successful musical theatre productions, many of which have premiered right here in Sydney.” Mr Souris said.
“It has been a great joy to work with my friend John Frost during this exciting period of development for Opera Australia. John is the ultimate professional and his advice and knowledge of the music theatre business is not only highly perceptive but it is fuelled by a real passion for the theatre. He is also a wonderful human being whose generosity of spirit and his genuine love of the theatre is inspiring to everyone who has had the privilege of working with him. He has been (and still is) an extraordinarily strong advocate for Australian artists and I believe that there is no-one who is more deserving of this prestigious award than John Frost....and there is no-one who is a finer ambassador for our industry.” said Lyndon Terracini, Artistic Director Opera Australia.
QPAC Chief Executive Mr John Kotzas paid tribute to Mr Frost calling him one of the great legends of the stage in Australia. “I’ve worked with John for many years now and the professionalism and consistently high quality productions that John tours around Australia are remarkable. John is a well-respected and most welcome producer and guest at many venues around the country – I know QPAC staff are always eager to work with him and our audiences certainly show their support. Well done John!”
The 14th Annual Helpmann Awards will be presented live in Sydney at the Capitol Theatre on Monday 18th August and broadcast on Foxtel’s Arena.
The NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, is LPA’s Strategic Partner for the 2014 Helpmann Awards.
Gerry Hall Interview
Jerry Hall Interview
I am happy to be back in Melbourne a city of always loved.
How does theatre change the lives of children?
Warwick Business School is to investigate how theatre impacts on the lives of children.
It will look at an innovative attempt by Birmingham Repertory Theatre to create theatre-goers of the future and see how theatre has changed the lives of hundreds of children involved.
Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s ground-breaking project, REP's Children, offers all babies born in City and Heartlands hospitals during the theatre’s 100th birthday week (February 11 – 17 2013) a free theatre experience every year for the first 10 years of their lives.
The project will begin with the newborns and their families making their first visit to the newly reopened Repertory Theatre in October 2013, for a brand new theatre production called Open House, an interactive and sensory show created especially for babies. REP’s Children aims to engage families and children with theatre, and create a lifelong relationship between local people and The REP.
The first REP's Children project was launched in October 2004 at City and Sandwell Hospitals and The REP now has 140 REP's Children families who regularly attend events and performances at The REP.
Now Birmingham Repertory Theatre want to find out just how much the 2013 scheme will change the lives of the babies and their families involved.
They have joined forces with Warwick Business School Professor Jonathan Neelands to research the impact of REP’s Children.
Professor Neelands said: “The research programme will cover 10 years and we will look to see how many of these children have carried on going to the theatre and how going to the theatre has changed their lives.
“Many of the families involved might never have gone to the theatre before. We will look at how the different families have taken up this offer and see if it has made any difference to ‘cultural engagement’, which is something the arts and theatres are striving to achieve. We want to find out what difference going to the theatre makes to the lives of these children.
“It is a very innovative scheme. Their free tickets are tailored for that age group. We plan to track all 10 years of the REP Children’s project and have just secured an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Collaborative Studentship to study the first three years of this exciting work.
“Birmingham Repertory Theatre is committed to widening participation and a sustainable future by creating future theatre-goers. We need to see how that has worked and what we can learn from the project.”
Dr Steve Ball, Associate Director at The REP, said: “This collaboration provides us with an excellent opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of our communities and to evaluate the impact of this exciting intervention. We are delighted to be working with Warwick Business School who have an outstanding reputation for research in the Arts and Education.”
Professor Neelands, who is Professor of Creative Education at Warwick Business School and Chair of Drama and Theatre Education in the Institute of Education, has won a grant of £40,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to fund Dr Jane Woddis to begin the work on the 10-year study.
Warwick Business School, which is part of the University of Warwick, is one of 45 universities to be handed grants as part of the AHRC’s Cultural Engagement Fund pilot scheme.
Dr Ian Lyne, AHRC’s associate director of programmes, said: “The range of projects and the variety of local partners involved has been terrific. We have been hugely impressed by the number of Universities that have decided to co-fund projects.”
Rachel Rawlins' final call with The Australian Ballet
Principal Artist announces her retirement from the stage after 21-year career.
One of Australia's most acclaimed ballerinas will take her final curtain call next month.
First Indigenous dancer to join The Australian Ballet . Ella Havelka goes from Bangarra to ballet.
The Australian Ballet is delighted to announce that Ella Havelka will be joining the company.
To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of The Australian Ballet, the Federal Government is providing $2 million for the fit-out of the company's new production centre to be constructed in Altona, Melbourne.
New Chairman for Opera Queensland
Well known and gifted Judith Roberts returned to her favourite theatre Her Majesty's on June 10, 2007 and recreated her role as Golda in Fiddler on the Roof. Readers may remember Judith in this role at Melbourne 's Regent Theatre starring opposite Topol...
Originally Melbourne and the Regent Theatre was to be the only venue in Australia for Fiddler on the Roof. But the popularity proved too great and the production has recently completed an eight week season at The Capitol Sydney and moved for a short season in Brisbane before returning to Melbourne .
Judith has appeared in all the Australian professional productions with Topol.
Her background is the daughter of a schoolteacher who taught in country schools and on visits to Melbourne used to drop Judith and her sister into whatever theatre was open such as Her Majesty's, The Tivoli, The Princess and The Comedy. At four years of age Judith accompanied her older sister to dance classes and loved it. At school she entered in all the school plays not only acting but doing everything to do with the production. She told her teacher that she wanted to be a dancer and an actor. Judith was told that you cannot do both but Judith's reply was Sir Robert Helpmann did it.
Fortunately for Australia and the theatre Judith did not let such comments deter her and went on not only with dancing and acting but later included singing. One her first companies was when she was working full time was The Spanish Ballet Company of Caramina. Caramina was an Australian who studied the art of Spanish Dance in Spain and England returning to Australia to form her own company. During her studies with the Spanish Dancer Company Judith choreographed a Spanish ballet which proved very successful.
While with the Spanish company her performance came to the attention of Betty Pounder the choreographer of J. C. Williamson the leading theatre owner and producer of the time.
Judith's first professional role was Gertie in the musical The Sentimental Bloke. This was followed by My Fair Lady, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Sweet Charity and Promises, Promises. These were all with J. C. Williamsons. As a member of J. C. Williamsons you were assured of moving onto the next production.
Life on stage is never easy but in the days when Judith commenced there were no such courses as The College of the Arts, NIDA, West Australian Performing Arts and the Music Theatre, University of Ballarat . Judith found classes in acting and singing while doing dance classes with such people as Borovansky and all this while performing on stage.This training in the three disciplines referred as the Triple Threat allowed her to continue performing in many musicals, reviews and cabarets such as Tikki and John's and The Old Vic in Melbourne
Judith Roberts' TV career include Prisoner, Special Squad, Homicide, Carson 's Law plus many others. Her films include You and Your Stupid Mate and strange Fits of Passion which was entered in the Cannes Film Festival.
With all this experience her agent contacted her re a role in Fiddler on the Roof. Even with all her experience Judith had to audition like everyone else. Passing the first audition she was asked to return and a tape was made of her audition and sent to Topol in Tel Aviv, Israel . Topol liked what he saw, passed the tape onto New York with his recommendation. The rest as they say is history. Judith handles the role as Golda with expertise and has a great rapport with Topol, so when the production returned to Australia Judith was automatically Golda.
The Melbourne repeat production is to be directed by Sammy Dallas Beyes who is reproducing the original Broadway production. The Book is by Joseph Stein, Lyrics by Sheldon Harwick and music by Jerry Boch.
The story is set around the Ukrainian village of Anatevka jointly shared by Cossacks and Jews and both under the thumb of the Russian invaders. The little village whose population is represented by the milkman Tevye (Topol) and family plus all the characters of such a village. It shows the family life, the difficulties of living with two different cultures in one village and the persecution ordered by the Czar.
It is a story of displaced people which is still relevant today.
The Australian Ballet's Coryphée Amber Scott.
Amber Scott a pleasant natural young lady who when talking to gives no idea of the talent and expertise that she has shown with her years of dancing and place in The Australian Ballet.
She started dancing at the age of three, born in Brisbane and then before the Australian Ballet School trained at the Anne Fraser School of Dance and the National Theatre Ballet School .
Amber was awarded the 1998 Bronze Medal at the Adeline Genee Awards, First place in the Junior 1999 Asian Pacific International Ballet Competition and The Australian Ballet Society Scholarship in 2000. She performed Dawn and Prayer in the 2000 Dancers Company tour of Coppelia.
Amber graduated from The Australian Ballet School in 2000 as Dux of her year, before joining The Australian ballet in 2001. She has performed in ballets such as Giselle, Manon, Etudes, Beyond 40, Sentimental Bloke, Coppelia and Spartacus. She has also performed soloist roles in Swan Lake , Catalyst and Symphony in C. In early 2003 Amber spent five months in Denmark with the Royal Danish Ballet as part of a dancer exchange program. She told your correspondent that she loved her time in Denmark where she learnt a lot, found the dancers laid back and friendly and was surprised that the Danish Royal family take a great interest in the Royal Danish Ballet Company. Amber said that the Danish company don't do as many shows as The Australian Ballet,they do one international tour a year and occasionally a rural tour. One of her delights was learning the August Bonneville style of ballet which is a feature of the Royal Danish Ballet.
She was excited to new styles and new faces the great opportunity to learn and develop herself as an artist. With the knowledge learnt Amber will enhance her future performances and considers these overseas trips an advantage to her future in the arts.
Amber, after this trip is amazed at the work that ballet dancers in Australia put in. Also considers that the Australians do not go for the star system as much as abroad.
On return to Australia in 2003 she performed with The Dancers Company as guest artist in their production of Giselle.
She has danced in Darwin at the Darwin Performing Arts Centre and in outdoor venues where she found that with a temperature around 32Degrres it was very easy to dance as the body did not need the warm up as in colder climes. Unlike most young people these days she realises the value of the correct food and is fortunate the Ballet Canteen serves nutricius food as the body does need plenty of energy.
In July of 2004, Amber was promoted to coryphée. She was one of four leading artists from The Australian Ballet to tour with The Dancers Company in 2004 and starred in Nutcracker For the Alice Springs and Darwin sector of the tour.
2004 saw Amber win the Telstra Young Ballet Dancer of the Year award, the highest accolade of its kind available to an Australian dancer. Making a clear sweep of the competition Amber collected both the award judged by The Australian Ballet artistic staff and Principal Artists and the coveted People's Choice Award.
A young girl with a great future Amber Scott is a delight to talk to and understands the difficulties of the dance but quite prepared and happy to work hard to obtain her dreams.
One of Opera Australia's rising young stars is Melbourne 's own Tiffany Speight. Chatting with Tiffany she told your correspondent that she was originally a dancer and appeared with Famco and Doncaster companies in such productions as Annie Get Your Gun, Brigadoon and Oklahoma . Like many of our professional theatre people Tiffany started in the amateur circuit with the above groups. With very supportive parents she started on stage while she was still studying. Not only successful on stage Tiffany also passed her exams. Unfortunately for her dancing career but fortunately for opera lovers she was involved in a car accident and injured her feet. Her mother persuaded her to take up singing and the results speak for themselves.
She graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts which she thanks for giving her discipline and maturity which has helped her career. At the college she was awarded the Dame Mabel Kent Scholarship for singing. She has been awarded several scholarships including a Queen's Trust Award, which enabled her to study in Paris, the Richard Divall Encouragement Award and the Kitty Fisher Gift which was awarded at the finals of the Mathy Singing Competition held n the Sydney Opera House.
Tiffany made her opera debut as Cupid in Semele with the Victorian State Opera and in 1996 was a Young Artist with the VSO, where she sang Despina in Cosi fan tutte and Dienerin in Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Melbourne Festival.
As Tiffany continued to develop her craft, she performed roles such as Giannetta in The Gondoliers, Tebaldo in Don Carlo, Barbarino in The Marriage of Figaro, Ida in Lindy Hume's production of Die Fledermaus for Opera Australia, Angelica in Orlando (for Ozopera).
As Tiffany started off in dance and has acting experience and was told that if her singing voice did not reach the standard required for opera she would have a successful career as an actor. Due to this versatility Tiffany is in constant demand on the concert platform. She has given performances in such various venues as Opera Under the Stars in Broome, the Castlemaine State Festival and Opera by George, the Prime Minister's Olympic Dinner for the Australian Olympic Team, a gala farewell to the Korean team for Music Theatre Australia with the Seoul Symphony Orchestra, concerts with the Australian Pops Orchestra including From Camelot to phantom and Gilbert & Sullivan.
As the recipient of the 2002 Vienna State Opera Award, Tiffany spent the first part of 2003 in Vienna and made her European debut at the Vienna Staatsoper in the role of Countess Ceprano in late January. Tiffany enjoyed her time in Europe and was interested in the differences between European and Australian views on performing. In Europe they go on and off without being told much about what they are doing. Australians apparently are more versatile and learn more about the production as a whole. The Australian has a more freer and independent attitude then the Europeans and Americans. The Americans are more toward confirming and developing as others whereas the Australian voice is free and open, and the Australian performer is more independent and develops their own individualistic style.
Tiffany told your correspondent that some the hardest audiences to deal with are children. She toured Victoria with Ozopera's Sid the Serpent and found the children did not hesitate in letting the performers know what they felt. Tiffany said it was also very satisfying to hear an honest reaction.
2005 sees Tiffany Speight will sing Frasquita and Micaela in Carmen, Pamina in Die Zauberflote, Josephine in HMS Pinafore and Gretel in Hansel and Gretel for Opera Australia. For Opera Queensland she sings Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro.
Above is just a small summary of Tiffany Speight's career and to talk to she is a sheer delight obviously thoroughly immersed in her art and a bright, cheerful and happy person.