NEWS & INTERVIEWS

 

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,.
Dr Pitkin has Chaierd Opera Queensland since September 2016 leading the company during the renewal of the leadership teamand the recernt funding uplift from the Queensland and Federal Govenrments, which will support the Company's return to three annual mainstage productions in Brisbane from 2018 and invest in new capabilites.
Dr Pitkin said she was proud of Opera Queensland's continued success, "It has ben an honour to work with the Board and senior leadership team to enrich Queensland life through this extraordinay artform."
Opera Queensland's new Chair, Emeritus Professor David Siddle, has been a director since 2014 aand Deputy Chaier since September 2016. He id presently Chair of the Board of Queens;and;s Translational Research Institute.
Professor Siddle said, "It has been a pleasure to be a member of the Board with Sally during this time of transition and to see Opera Queensland dhaoe itself as an opera company for the future."
The Board is also pleased to announce the appointment of Daniel tobin as Director of the Company. Daniel do-founded the internationally renowened Brisbane based United Art Projects (JAP) where he is the Creative Director.
CEO and Artistic Director Patrick Nolan, who is preparing to laundh his first full program for Opera Queensland, said it has been a great privilaege to work with Dr Pitkin. "Sally's slarity, vision and commitment has been insrtrumental in positioning Opera Queensland as a vital part of the local and national arts scens," said Mr Nolan. "I'm looking forward to workinjg with David, Kim and Daniel, and the rest of the Board to make opera an integral part of Queensland life."

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.
From show-stopping world premieres to family friendly events, the 2018 program will see the Festival take over some of the city's most iconic spaces.
The Royal botanic Gardens will become home o U,K's leading contemporary circus company NoFit State with the only australian performance of Lexicon, an extraordinary production celebrating the rich 250-year old history of the circus ring.
Visitors will be invited to enter the Royal Botanic Gardens after dark to experience Fire Gardens, a fire-burning spectacular which will see the Gardens illuminated over four special nights.
Following on from the popular House of Mirrors in last years festival, Christine Wagstaff and Keith Courtney will return to the Arts Centre forecourt with 1000 Doors, a phisically absorbing work providing audiences with an opportunity to choose their own adventure as they go through door after door.
The Festival's contemporary music prgram will quench the citys thirst for ground-breaking live performance. Pioneering Japanese composer Ryuichi sakamoto and experimental electronic asrtist Alva Noto will blend minimal piano with glitchy beats as they bring their ongoing collaboarative performance tp Melbourne>
Classical will meet contemporary when Berlin composer and pianiist Nils Frahm return to Hamer Hall for his forst Australian performance since his sold-out debut at Melbourne Festival 2014.
Postr-Punk royalty, Matt Johnson and his band The The will perform in Melbourne for the first time in almost 30 years, playing reactionary repertoire from their ground-breaking albums such as Soul Mining (1989) and Infected (1986).
Closer to home, original members of The Go-Betweens will join musical forces with special guests Paul and Dan Kelly. romy Vager (RVG), Laura Jean, Jan Cloher and more for a 30th anniversary reimagining of one of Australia's most iconic albums 16 Loves Lane in a special one -night-only perormance>
One of the world's leading figures of contemporary dance, choreographer William Forsythe, will oush the language of ballet to its outer limits in A Quiet Evening of Dance Featuring a suite of new and existing work in an Australian premiere.
The dance-opera
Layla and Majnun will be the largest-scale production of the Middle Eastern classic ever seen in the west and is an unmissable Festival co-commission. Reimagined by three of the world's greatest artists - US choreographer Mark Morris, the legendary cellit Yo-Yo Ma's Silkroad Endemble and the late Howard Hodgkin - it is a visually stunning modern-day intereptation of the tragic love story predating Romeo and Juliet by more than 1000 years. Peorming in Australia for the first time, the Silkroad Endemble will also present a dolo performance showcasing their most celebrated ices.
With themes of self-discovery, adventure and place, this year's Festival delivers and immersive thearical program offering ways pf experiencing art thrpugh unexpected nethods. The program features Scottish theatre company Vox Motus Flight based on the novel Hinterland by Caroline Brothers, Prize Fighters set in a boxing ring at Northcote Twon Hall and Frogman which will involve the audience thorugh a special user of virtual reality. Direct from Ireland comes Samuel Beckett's Watt with Barry McGovern, Barking Gecko's A Ghost in my Suitcase and Trustees from the Belarus Fre Theatre company (both commissioned by the Melbourne International Ats Festival), and Jimi Bani's personal story in My Name is Jini.
Festival-goers are encouraged to board the Malbourne Art Trams, which tips its hat into its rigins thei year, recreating the raucous, bold and mischevious worl produced by the late David Larwill for the Transporing Art Project in 1986. the tram was painted as part of the comemoration of the United Nations International Year of Peace but has been in storage for more than 20 years. The original work has been photographed and designed to be wrapped on a modern tram and will be launched alongside seven new commissions by Victorian artists.
The MPavilion, to be realised by award-winning Spanish architect Carme Pinós, will be home to a jam-packed program of talks, workshops and performances as well as a special Festival closing event, Our Place, Our Home.
The Festival opnes on Wednesday October 3. 2018 with Tanderrum - part opening ceremony and part Welcomer to Country - as we celebrate the grpund we stand on and the people whose ancestors walked it before our time.
Meb\lbourne International Arts Festival October 3 - 21. 2018.

 

 
     
     

 

 

 

 

Andrew Hollsworth Interview

 

Andrew Hollsworth
Choreographer for Anything Goes.
Interview:

Andrew said that this morning (Tuesday December 2,) that they had open calls for new talent for the oncoming musical Anything Goes.
Q. What was the talent like this morning?

  1. This morning we had open calls so that anybody that couldn’t get an audition through their agent or don’t have an agent so we decided to do some open calls on this just to see if there were anyone out there that we could discover a find some that haven’t been through WAPA’s  or whatever.

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.
Q. Is it easier to find men nowadays?
A. Well sure. There were about 70 guys who came in this morning which is a fair amount of guys have agents to get there.
This afternoon we start with proper professionals coming in.
Q. You were a dancer yourself?
A. Yes I was. I did shows and musicals. I did my first show at the age of 17 years in Sydney which was 42nd Street. Did lots of shows After that then started choreography 15 years ago.
Ross Coleman and I worked together., He took me under his wing and we had a great sort of relationship until he died and the last show we worked on was Priscilla, so now I take Priscilla around the world. Yes I have done lots of shows.
Q. Where did you train to be a dancer?
A: I just trained in a dancing school in the weekends. There was nothing around then. When I started doing shows WAPA hadn’t even started then. I just found out about 42nd Street through word of mouth auditioned for it and got it. It was a great production, a huge show and a Broadway production. Mark Bramble came out to direct it and he directed it on Broadway and worked with David Merrick and all that.
It was just a fantastic time. Tod McKenney in his first main role together with Nancy Hayes and Toni Lamond.
I was the resident director on Fiddler on the Roof and I worked with Judith Roberts and Topol very closely they were great mates. We did the last season of Fiddler a few years ago now and Topol was 70. We had three 70 year olds in the show. We had Warren Kermond and Barry Crocker who played Lazar.
Q. Anything Goes starts in Melbourne in May ?
A. We open in Melbourne in late May or early June.
Q. How long do they rehearse for before that?
A. We have about five weeks which is quite normal now so getting into the room and go crazy.
Q. How long do you think you will go for in the season?
A. There are limited seasons in each place, I think it is about eight to ten weeks in each town. I think we will go fine. We have a stellar cast on board. Caroline O’Connor is coming back to town to play Reno which is going to be amazing. Just to see her sing at the launch and she’s just going to eat it up.
Q. Are you looking forward to a good season?
A. Yes I can’t wait. It’s been a long time coming because we did a version for The Production Company about three years ago and that’s when we started talking about commercially putting the musical on, it’s been a long time coming.
Q. What is it like coming back to your home town?
A. It’s cool. All our schedules lined up to get Caroline, Tod, Dennis and I in the same room. It opens in Melbourne, then Brisbane and to finish up in Sydney.  It is a good run for the company it’s about eight months.
Dale Ferguson is doing the set. He is one of our top designers and he has a beautiful set design and of course Dean Bryant is directing it and I am doing the choreography. Yes it’s a very classy team.  

         

 

 

John Frost

ACCLAIMED THEATRE PRODUCER

JOHN FROST OAM

ANNOUNCED 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.

 

www.helpmannawards.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circus Oz

 

Gerry Hall Interview

Jerry Hall Interview
12/3/13

I am happy to be back in Melbourne a city of always loved.
When asked how she started in show business Jerry said that she went to a nightclub and met Helmut Newton a leading photographer and in a few weeks I was on the cover of French Vogue. Helmut to work with was quite difficult but I’ve always had a way with difficult men.
Helmut was wonderful if you did what he wanted He was quite precise in what he wanted. A wonderful photographer.
When asked about theatre Jerry replied with ‘ I had taken drama in high school and studied in New York at the Actor’s Studio when I was 18 and studied in the National Theatre in London when I was 19. I always wanted to act and always loved performing I did bits and pieces of movies but theatre was always my favourite. I didn’t start theatre till I was about 31. It was quite late. Still it was lovely to get into the theatre, that has always been my great love performing in front of an audience specially doing comedy because you feel you get instant reaction from the audience. You very much connected to them, there’s instant feedback and it is so much fun.
I find audiences around the world are different. I remember when I did The Graduate in London and because The Graduate is such an American play there is this one line that I thought was terribly funny and I could never understand why the audience wasn’t laughing. I was obsessed with trying to get it right and kept working in it then I did it in America and they laughed at that very lie. I thought, what a relief, because it was a very American line. When I sis it in Perth they seemed to get it. I guess they watch American television and American comedy shows.
The show always changes with the actors. In Perth, Benjamin the lead actor was from the American Touring Company and in Melbourne Benjamin will be played by an Australian actor.
I am very pleased to work with a whole new group of Australians.”
When questioned on the nude scene Jerry’s response was” When I first did it, the first couple of months I hated the nude scene and then it became my favourite part as it shocked the audience. The first time I did the scene in London at a preview about 50 photographers stood up and took pictures. It took a while but it is very beautiful and very tastefully done and I am wearing high heels so I am not completely nude.
I am looking forward to the Melbourne season of The Graduate at Her Majesty’s Theatre in September.”

 

 

 

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

Australian Ballet

Rachel Rawlins

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.
After a stage career spanning 21 years, 18 of those spent at The Australian Ballet Principal Artist Rachel Rawlins has announced that she will retire at the end of the Swan Lake season in Sydney. Her last show in the title role of Odette will be Wednesday December 19, 2012.
Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, David McAllister said Rachel would be remembered for many leading roles in her remarkable career.
'Rachel is a beutiful dancer to watch and she's carved out a unique reputation as one of the company's great classicists' said McAllister.
'Her superb performances in hallmark ballets such as Swan Lake, Manon, Giselle and The Nutcracker will be remebered fondly by audiences and fans that have followed her career.'
Rawlins grew up in Canberra before moving to Melbourne as a teenager to study ballet. She joined The Australian ballet in 1991, later leaving to spend two years with The Royal Ballet in London. She re-joined the company in 2001 and was promoted to principal artist three years later.
Showcasing her trademark lyricism in much-loved clasics such as Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote , Rawlins quickly established herself as a leading ballerina capable of bringing deep emotion to narrative works.
She took her talents to the world stage with appearances at the Ena Ballet Festival Gala in Kuala Lumpur in 2011, The World Festival of Ballet in Tokyo in 2009 and numerous international tours with The Australian Ballet.
In announcing her decision, Rachel said " I will be forever grateful to have had such an exciting and fulfilling career with The Australian Ballet. I have been so fortunate to have danced in so many beautiful ballets and to have worked with incredible people."
"I will treasure the friendships I have made in the company and ballet community and would like to thank my family and the audience for all they have given me. I leave the stage feeling sure I will always miss it but that my journey is complete."

Productions:
Odette in Stephen Baynes Swan Lake 2012
Cio-Cio San in Stanton Welch's Madame Butterfly 2011
Sugar Plum Fairy in Peter Wright's The Nutcracker 2010
Aurora in Stanton Welch's The Sleeping Beauty 2009
Clara the Ballerina in Graeme Murphy's Nutcracker - The Story of Clara 2009
Manon in Manon 2008
Kim in Don Quixote 2007
Raymonda Grey in Stephen Bayne's Raymonda 2006
Giselle in Giselle 3008, 2006
Jiri Kylian's Forgotten Land and Petite Morte 2005
Juliet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet 2003.

 

 

 

First Indigenous dancer to join The Australian Ballet . Ella Havelka goes from Bangarra to ballet.

Ella Havelka

The Australian Ballet is delighted to announce that Ella Havelka will be joining the company.
She will be the first indigenous dancer to join The Australian Ballet and will start rehearsing in Sydney in November 2012.
Artistic Director David McAllister said he was thrilled that Havelka had accepted the offer to join the company.
"We've been watchng Ella for many years and have witnessed her grow and develop into a beautiful artist, in particular, she was sensational in Warumuk - in the dark night part of our infinity program, in which she also performed in New York City on our 50th Anniversary tour.
We're very excited that she will become part of The Austrlian Ballet family, and know that the ballet community will eagerly await her first performance with us" said McAllister.
Bangarra's Artistic Director Stephen Page said "Ella is one of this country's greatest young talents, and as she continues her journey as an Aboriginal woman and an Australian dance artist, we wish her every success."
Havelka, a descendant of the Wiradjun people. graduated from The Australian Ballet School in 2007 and toured with the company's regional arm, The Dancer's company. She joined Bangarra Dance Theatre in 2008 and made her debut in Fire - A Retrospective in 2009.
Havelka said the offer was a wonderful opportunity.
"I feel very humbled and excited to be given the opportunity to return to the Ballet world with fresh eyes and new inspirations through my experiences since graduating from The Australian Ballet School. I am looking forward to the new challenges I will encounter and am honoured to be working with such amazing artists, dancers, mentors and choreographers within The Australian Ballet.
Although I am sad to be leaving Bangarra, a community I will always call family, I find comfort in knowing I will always carry their spirit with me on my journey and development as an artist. I can only hope to inspire others within the indegenous community to pursue their own dreams and passions". said Havelka.

Production Centre

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.
Arts Minister Simon Crean said the centre will be a state-of-the-art facility for the creation, maintenance and storage of the scenery, propd, lighting, and costumes for the company's critically acclaimed and well-loved productions.
The company has 90 ballets in its repertoire with sets and costumes estimated to be worth $40 million. Mr Crean said.
The custom-designed centre will ensure these valuable assets are preserved so that the ballets can be restaged and enjoyed by future audiences, including younger and first time audience members.
The centre will support the outstanding work the company does in bringing world-class performances to the nation's regions and will transform the way The Australian ballet undertakes production work. Projects such as this illustrate our commitment to sup[porting not just what we see on stage, but the work that goes on behind the scenes to bring these performances to fruitition.
Mr Crean said the centre will also be used as an education resource, giving visitors a behind-the-scenes look at howe a ballet production comes together.
In the future, interactive digital tours will be ezplored for interstate and regional dchools, harnessing the4 high-speed broadband capabilities of the National Broadband Network, Mr Crean said.
Valerie Wilder, Executive director of The Australian Ballet said that the new facility will not only store our ballets, but will provide dedicated areas for assembling sets (where for the firs time, we will be able to stand up and support 10 metre high scene pieces), painting scenary and preparing and despatching touring freight.
The new Production Centre will also have an office area, including a virtual design studio where we will use computers to create 3D models of or set desigs and light them using virtual lights, saving us valuable time in the theatre, and workplaces for our production and technical staff.
Scenery,. props and costumes represent major long-term assets for any ballet company. Over the past two years, our colleagues at Houston ballet, The National Ballet of Canada and the Royal Ballet, have recognised the importance of proper asset stewardship and have built new production centres.

 

 

 

 

 

New Chairman for Opera Queensland


Opera Queensland is pleased to announce the appointment of current Treasurer Robert Hubbard as the new Chairman of Opera Queensland following the company’s recent Annual General Meeting.
Mr Hubbard replaces Mr Martin Kriewaldt, who retired from the Board at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) after 14 years as Chairman. Also retiring at the AGM were long standing Board members the Hon. Prof. Peter Fardoulys AM and Dr Cherrell Hirst AO.
Robert Hubbard has been a Partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for over 20 years, first joining the company in 1984. During this time, he has been the auditor of some of Australia’s largest companies and has led both the Advisory and Assurance practices of PwC Brisbane. He has been Treasurer of Opera Queensland for the last 4 years and believes passionately in the role of not-for-profit bodies in the arts and broader charitable sectors. He is also the Chairman of Multiple Sclerosis Australia and a Director of UQ Health Care.
Mr Hubbard gratefully acknowledges the significant personal and financial contributions made to the company by Mr Kriewaldt, Professor Fardoulys and Dr Hirst during their tenures of 15, 31 and 9 years respectively. The company was able to acknowledge the substantial commitment of Mr Kriewaldt, Professor Fardoulys and Dr Hirst at a function following the first performance of Verdi’s Macbeth in its semi-staged presentation in the Concert Hall (QPAC) last month.
“Opera Queensland, like many other not-for-profit enterprises across Australia, depends on the generosity and goodwill of its Board members who give of their time and experience to guide the fortunes of the company,” said Mr Hubbard. “The commitment from these three individuals has been exceptional and will not be forgotten. We wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.”

Sally Pitkin
Mr Hubbard is also pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Sally Pitkin to the Opera Queensland Board.
“We are very lucky to be able to attract someone with Sally’s legal and commercial background to the Opera Queensland Board as we guide the Company into the future. Sally’s appointment ensures continuing access to a high level of knowledge and skill following the recent departures,” said Mr Hubbard.
Sally Pitkin’s corporate career as a lawyer and company director spans 30 years. She is a former Partner with national commercial law firm, Clayton Utz, and acts as a consultant to the firm. She is the Deputy President of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (Queensland Division), the Deputy Chairman of the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation, and a Director of Super Retail Group Limited (ASX:SUL), Billabong International Ltd (ASX:BBG), UQ Holdings Pty Ltd, ASC Pty Ltd and the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. She is also a member of the Queensland Competition Authority. She is a graduate of the Queensland University of Technology holding graduate and postgraduate qualifications in law. She is currently a doctoral student with The University of Queensland and is completing her doctoral thesis on governance in independent schools.

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW.

Judith Roberts

Topol Judith Roberts

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.

 

Judith Roberts Topol

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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.
Some of her favourite choices of dance are modern and classical. She loves Graeme Murphy's Swan Lake with its balance of a modern outlook but keeping the traditional as well. Amber feels that it is a great vehicle for a ballerina.

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.

 

Tiffany Speight

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.

 

 

 

 

 






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