Queensland Ballet a Super Star
The Queensland Ballet has been chosen as the lucky recipient of the $300,000 prize, which will be used to fund a production of Kenneth MacMillanâ€™s acclaimed Romeo and Juliet.
â€œMacMillanâ€™s Romeo and Juliet is widely considered the best in the world,â€ says Li Cuxin, the companyâ€™s Artistic Director.
It will be the first time the Britainâ€™s interpretation of Shakespeareâ€™s classic work has been brought to Australian shores and will coincide with its 50th anniversary,
The special honour is something Cuxin it acutely aware of.
â€œIt will attract world-wide attention, placing Queensland on the global stage.â€
Performing as the star-crossed lovers will be two of the worldâ€™s most highly regarded ballet dancers.
Tamara Rojo is the current Artistic Director of the English National Ballet and will take on the role of Juliet when the production opens in late June 2014.
Britainâ€™s Telegraph last year praised her performance, proclaiming that â€œRojo brings real tragic force to Julietâ€™s dizzy journey from bliss to oblivion.â€
Her Romeo will be Carlos Acosta. In 2007, Acosta won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance.
For Arts Minister Ian Walker, the announcement demonstrates the governmentâ€™s commitment to the stateâ€™s arts sector.
â€œWe promised to bring international stars to our own backyard and this announcement delivers on that,â€ he says.
This years budget points to a remarkably large increase in funding for arts and culture services in Queensland, though it remains unclear where the money is being spent.
The Super Star fund is a good start. But the programâ€™s eligibility guidelines are strict. Performing arts companies must demonstrate their previous record (or point to their production partnerâ€™s record) of staging â€œlarge-scale, high-quality productions.â€ Furthermore, they must be able to match the funding being applied for.
While value-for-money is important when dealing with tax-payer dollars, it is difficult to ignore a simple fact: many worthy organisations will find it difficult to meet the requirements of the program and thus be excluded from consideration. How ironic then that one of the programâ€™s objectives is to build local capacity and cultivate Queensland talent.
Few could disagree that the Queensland Ballet is a worthy recipient of the first grant; its production of Romeo and Juliet will do much to raise the profile of dance within the community.
Hopefully, its almost assured success will encourage the future expansion of funding to the performing arts in Queensland. Such a thing would be a valuable investment in the stateâ€™s economic future and the lives of those that live there.
Performing arts companies wishing to apply for funding from the Super Star program can apply online on the Arts Queensland website. Information on Romeo and Juliet can be found on the Queensland Ballet’s website.