The Australian Ballet Gala Dinner and Opening Night performance of The Happy Prince
Premier; Minister Enoch; Chair of The Australian Ballet, Mr Craig Dunn and Board Members; Artistic Director, Mr David McAllister; QPAC Chair, Professor Peter Coaldrake; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of these lands and extend respectful greetings to Elders and emerging leaders.
It is Kaye’s and my great pleasure to be here tonight to celebrate not one but two significant occasions for The Australian Ballet.
The first is the opening night performance of The Happy Prince. What a marvellous ballet it promises to be, and how proud we are that The Australian Ballet chose Brisbane for its debut.
There have been many adaptations of The Happy Prince from radio drama to film and song.
We are very much looking forward to seeing how the incomparable Graeme Murphy and Kim Carpenter have translated Oscar Wilde’s timeless story of sacrifice and compassion into dance.
And as always when The Australian Ballet visits Brisbane, we look forward to the wonderful musical accompaniment by our very own, sublime Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
The Australian Ballet has been a proud and important part of the artistic firmament in our State for many decades, performing to ever appreciative audiences.
Kaye and I fondly recall those early Australian Ballet shows in Her Majesty’s Theatre on Queen Street, with its striking Corinthian style façade. That Theatre closed, I think, in the mid 1980s.
What wonderful memories!
As Governor, I applaud The Australian Ballet’s ongoing commitment to Queensland – we love having you, and we enthusiastically look forward to welcoming you back, including to the new Theatre here at QPAC. I thank all the supporters, financial and otherwise, who make these Australian Ballet tours possible.
Of course, tonight is also a farewell to David McAllister.
David, what an illustrious career you have enjoyed with The Australian Ballet: firstly, as a dancer on stage, treading the boards; and secondly, successfully transitioning into administration and artistic leadership.
As The Australian Ballet’s longest serving Artistic Director, you have been responsible for a singularly brilliant generation of Australian dancers and choreographers – a cohort you have nurtured, encouraged and celebrated.
Through this company, you have shaped the cultural landscape of Australian dance and touched the lives not just of many artists but also those of us in the audience who have been moved by the works we have seen.
Your reputation for generosity, and a desire for everyone to succeed, are but two of your notable qualities.
And while I am certain you will be missed in your role at The Australian Ballet, there is no denying your indelible legacy as one of Australia’s great cultural leaders.
You are, David, a most remarkable artist and impressive leader. The people of Queensland are greatly appreciative of your contributions, and they are inspired, as is their Governor, by the sparkling bravura of your presences and performances, over so many decades, in our State. Thank you.