Queensland Ballet 2024 Season Launch
Queensland Ballet Artistic Director, Mr Li Cunxin AO; Executive Director, Ms Dilshani Weerasinghe and Director, Mr Christian Tatchév; staff; supporters; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by joining Li in acknowledging the Traditional Owners of these lands, and paying my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.
I was delighted to receive the invitation to be with you this morning for this exclusive preview of Queensland Ballet’s 2024 season.
It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate place than Kite Terrace to launch the company’s 2024 season – open to the sky and with a clear view to the horizon. It’s a perfect metaphor for the vision that Li brought to Queensland Ballet when he first took control of that kite string, 11 years ago, and encouraged the company to fly.
Looking back, it’s easy to forget that, when Li was appointed in 2012, it was his first appointment as an Artistic Director, and that balletomanes were uncertain what it would mean to our much-loved State company to have a curatorial artistic director rather than a choreographer at the helm for the first time in more than half a century.
But the proof of that pudding has certainly been in the eating – those same balletomanes have hungrily devoured the rich banquet of productions presented under Li’s direction over the past 11 years and are eagerly awaiting details of next year’s feast, as am I!
This morning’s event gives me an opportunity, as both Governor and company Patron, to publicly acknowledge the exceptional contribution Li has made to the Arts and to Queensland in the past decade.
This is in no small part due to the extensive commercial experience he brought to the company. It was that experience that encouraged the company to embrace bold ideas. As a consequence, Thomas Dixon’s original shoe factory has been transformed into this magnificent state-of-the-art facility, a world-class ballet academy has been established at Kelvin Grove, and the Roy and Nola Thompson Production Centre is soon to come online at Yatala. Yes, it was audacious, but Li’s belief and resolve have never faltered and Queensland today has reaped the benefit.
It’s an extraordinary legacy and, on behalf of all Queenslanders, I congratulate and thank Li and the many board members, staff, partners, donors and volunteers who have supported his vision over the past 11 years.
I look forward to hearing details of the 2024 season and to listening to the panel discussion about the season and what lies ahead for the company as it transitions to a new era.