Welcome to AMPAG’s Sneak Peeks into some of the Majors’ opening nights for the month ahead. Each month we share with you a sneak peek into the major performing arts companies' opening nights across Australia. We're also very excited about the range of community engagement and education activities underway, and have included some highlights as well. If you would like to receive Sneak Peeks via email, please subscribe here. It's a free service and quick to join!
July sees our members breaking new ground, pushing boundaries and enchanting new audiences, with a number of premieres to look forward to. Brilliant composer Elena Kats-Chernin talks about writing Whitely, Opera Australia’s production about Australia’s iconic artist, which premieres at Sydney Opera House. Queensland Theatre has two premieres — City of Gold and Storm Boy — and we peek behind the scenes with Simona Cosentini and Simone Tesorieri who share their inspiration for City of Gold’s set design. Malthouse Theatre presents the world stage premiere of the chilling sci-fi thriller Solaris, and Melbourne Theatre Company have pulled of a coup with their stage production of the screenplay Shakespeare in Love.
AMPAG members have plenty on offer across the board this month. Starting behind the scenes, we offer an insight into Eumeralla, the war requiem composed by Deborah Cheetham AO (and performed by MSO) to honour one of the Australia’s most brutal resistance wars.
This month we have a pulse-racing mix of the classics, the rare and the sensational. We peek behind the scenes at Melbourne Theatre Company’s rehearsal room as the cast prepare for The Violent Outburst That Drew Me to You; and we eavesdrop on a conversation with playwright Jane Brodie and actor Igor Sas about Black Swan State Theatre Company’s production of Brodie’s Water, premiering this month.
This month, to celebrate National Youth Week, we’ve highlighted a few initiatives guaranteed to capture the hearts of young people, such as Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Orchestra Fantastica!, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Mother Goose Jam and Circus Oz’s Bubblegum Cabaret at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
March is set to kick off autumn with a strong theatre line-up. Bell Shakespeare’s founder John Bell will be directed by Peter Evans in Molière’s ribald satire, The Miser; gifted Kate Mulvany enlists the help of the audience to share the story in Belvoir’s production of Every Brilliant Thing; Julie Hales’ joyful You Know We Belong Together is back by popular demand at Black Swan State Theatre Company; and Renato Musolino’s blistering, and timely, one-man version of Orwell’s Animal Farm will be directed by Geordie Brookman in his final production as Artistic Director of State Theatre Company South Australia.
February may be short, but it will pack a punch. Theatre offers a powerful mix of timeless classics and contemporary works, including Alan Bennett’s uplifting The Lady in the Van (Melbourne Theatre Company), Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer prize-winning Our Town (Black Swan State Theatre Company), Arthur Miller’s incomparable Death of a Salesman (Queensland Theatre), a stinging new satire — How to Rule the World (Sydney Theatre Company), and Belvoir's high-octane Barbara and the Camp Dogs, set to rock out at the Malthouse Theatre this month and Queensland Theatre in March after a sell-out season in Sydney.
Talk about a happy New Year! 2019 has kicked off with loads of fun and festival fare for all. Parramatta will be abuzz with Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s free Symphony under the Stars, and Rock Bang — Circus Oz’s circus opera collaboration with Otto & Astrid — as part of Sydney Festival offerings. Summer fun continues as young dancers and circus performers from in and around Australia develop their skills at Sydney Dance Company, West Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet, The Australian Ballet and Circus Oz workshops.
‘Tis the season for traditional festive fare, laced this month with a strong orchestral presence. What would Christmas be without the wonder of Handel’s Messiah? Audiences will be spoilt for choice as The Tasmanian, Queensland, Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras perform this immortal work. More seasonal delights with The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s NOËL! NOËL! Follow Your Star; Christmas Proms returns to the Adelaide Festival Theatre with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra — and Queensland Ballet will enchant audiences of all ages with their mesmerising production of The Nutcracker.
As the end of the year comes charging towards us, Australia's performing arts companies are mixing it up with exciting new collaborations, new productions and world premieres rounding out a brilliant 2018.
In October Australian audiences will enjoy some of the finest classical music from home and abroad including the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra who will present a concert celebrating masterful performers of string instruments featuring Cuban artist Lixsania Fernandez on viola da gamba and the Brandenburg's concertmaster Shaun Lee-Chen tackling the technical challenge of Locatelli’s infamous Violin Concerto in D a.k.a. The Harmonic Labyrinth.
It’s a bumper month in May, with new and large scale major works taking the stage here and abroad, impacting audiences in many ways, from inspired hearts to vibrant cities. We report back on the Australian premiere The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which Culture Count estimates generated $10.7 million in economic benefit for Victoria.
Autumn looks like being a season of celebration and laughter around the country. In Sydney, we have the slapstick exuberance of Belvoir’s Sami in Paradise — a new take on Nikolai Erdman’s classic 1928 comedy The Suicide. In South Australia, Andrew Bovell’s After Dinner is a knockout comedy that covers everything from bad dance moves to lonely hearts. Further north, Queensland Theatre will delight audiences with Shakespeare’s whimsical tale of mistaken identities, the much loved Twelfth Night.
Valentine’s Day may have passed, but the love lingers on. Bell Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra scorches with the searing tale of a love that was too great for the world. Black Swan Theatre Company celebrates love with Julia Hales’s deeply personal account of her experiences as daughter, actor, dreamer and person with Down syndrome in You Know We Belong Together.
High summer sees the performing arts explode with life around the country. We have traditional favourites as well as premieres and Australian debuts, and of course, being February, we herald the Chinese New Year.
October sees the return of an epic international masterpiece when Sydney Dance Company marks the 100th performance of Rafael Bonachela’s tour de force, 2 One Another. The Company will take the production, as part of a double bill with CounterMove, to perform at the prestigious Shanghai International Arts Festival later this month.
Spring is here and about to bloom with a host of exciting new productions. Theatre is strong this month. Belvoir presents Ghosts, the classic masterpiece about a woman’s way of dealing with male sexual aggression. Queensland Theatre’s An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins tackles race in a theatrical experience like no other.
Opera has a strong presence this month. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performs Massenet’s Thaïs, and in a rare double bill, State Opera South Australia teams Puccini’s comedic Gianni Schicchi with Manuel de Falla’s impassioned La Vida Breve. Opera Queensland will astonish audiences with Mozart Airborne, and tickets have already sold out to the second TSO and Opera Victoria collaboration for 2017—Carmen.
April kicks off at full force with The Australian Ballet’s Faster opening in Sydney. Three adrenalin-charged works from some of the world’s most exciting living choreographers are featured in this heart-pumping triple program. Sydney will also experience Richard Tognetti’s inspired vision of Bach’s magnificent writing for violin in a superb program of Bach violin concertos performed by the Australian Chamber Orchestra.
You know March is here when Opera Australia's ever-popular Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour returns –this year it’s the fiery passion of Bizet’s Carmen. On the other side of the country, West Australian Opera presents a New Zealand Opera production of Puccini’s Tosca directed by Stuart Maunder.
There’s a huge range of performances opening across Australia throughout February - Renowned violinist Maxim Vengerov begins his Artist-in Residence role with Queensland Symphony Orchestra with a recital before heading south to open the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra 2017 season with two violin concertos. Malthouse presents two world premieres by Australian writers: The Homosexuals, or Faggots in the Merlyn Theatre, a blistering satire dealing vicious blows to left and right wing hypocrisy and Little Emperors in the Beckett Theatre, exploring the impact of China’s one child policy.
2017 begins with colour, song and laughter with Melbourne Theatre Company’s opening of Born Yesterday - Garson Kanin’s evergreen Broadway comedy, a screwball fable in which cold-eyed cynicism and cock-eyed optimism mix as smoothly as gin and vermouth. It’s Legally Blonde out on a spree with Mr Smith Goes to Washington.
December has arrived - let the seasonal celebrations begin! Australian Brandenburg Orchestra along with the Brandenburg Choir presents their traditional Noël! Noël! concerts including traditional carols and hymns and a musical twist. Missy Higgins and her band join together with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to perform at Bird In Hand’s annual vineyard concert in the Adelaide Hills.
November sees new productions at Malthouse Theatre, Blaque Showgirls, set in the glitzy clubs of Brisvegas, Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear at Sydney Theatre Company, Molière’s Tartuffe at State Theatre Company South Australia and three friends discover the importance of teamwork in Circus Oz’s 3 Speed Crunch Box at the Melba Spiegeltent.
On October 4, the biggest global celebration of dance comes together for World Ballet Day LIVE. The Australian Ballet, Queensland Ballet and West Australian Ballet and leading ballet companies around the world are set to broadcast 20 hours of behind-the-scenes footage online– and for the first time on Facebook LIVE.
The West Australian Ballet presents the acclaimed Youri Vámos production of Romeo and Juliet this month, while West Australian Symphony Orchestra will perform repertoire from their upcoming China Tour during three special China Farewell Concerts including Mahler’s majestic Symphony No 5.
West Australia’s Black Swan State Theatre Company, celebrating its 25th anniversary, opens The Caucasian Chalk Circle, its ﬁrst international collaboration with the renowned Chinese director Dr Wang Xiaoying and the National Theatre of China. Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre presents Edward II, giving the 14th century king a modern day facelift, while Melbourne Theatre Company presents Kate Mulvaney’s adaptation of the Australian coming of age classic, Jasper Jones, and later in August, the Pulitzer Prize winning drama Disgraced.
Tomorrow, July 2, we’ll all be voting in the Federal election – but it’s not the only show in town. Australia’s performing arts sector is as busy, creative and innovative as ever. The recently announced 2016 Helpmann award nominees confirm just how vibrant the sector is.
It has been a tumultuous time for the Arts over the past few weeks. With the Arts sector contributing over $4.2 billion to Australia’s GDP, we are hoping for some strong arts policy initiatives from the major parties before the July election.
May is Federal Budget time and we share a keen interest in how the decisions here will impact the arts and arts engagement across Australia in the year ahead. There are also some tremendous collaborations happening over the month.
With 56 opening nights of major performing arts company productions to choose from, it’s a veritable feast this month. Some great Australian work is on offer, including West Australian Opera’s production of The Riders—Tim Winton’s gripping narrative translated into an opera of ‘rare dramatic power [and] utmost musicality’, according to The Age.
This month is all about the old and the new. The story that has haunted the Australian psyche for over a century, Picnic at Hanging Rock, opens this month at Malthouse Theatre.
The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra launches its Masters Series with Beethoven’s Fifth, and in the first of a series of talks, Principal Conductor Nicholas Carter discusses the relevance of orchestras in the 21st century.
It’s a month for us all to enjoy the great outdoors—with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra performing Symphony under the Stars, WA Opera picnics with Opera in the Park and WA Ballet cuts loose with Ballet at the Quarry.
Welcome to 2016—and the feast of offerings on stage. January is a huge month for Opera Australia, with four season openings celebrating the old and the new—La Bohème, The Rabbits, The Pearlfishers and The Barber of Seville, notable because Rossini, 24 at the time, wrote the whole opera in two weeks.
Christmas is upon us as Musica Viva celebrates its 70th birthday with a gala recital tour by superstar violinist Maxim Vengerov—and Queensland Ballet launches its festive fare with The Nutcracker. There are carols with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra—plus a journey through jazz with West Australian Symphony Orchestra and James Morrison.
There’s a fair bit of craziness happening this month as we gear up for Christmas (again!!), with State Theatre Company of South Australia’s take on Shakespeare's greatest clowns, the rude mechanicals from A Midsummer Night's Dream in The Popular Mechanicals—and Opera Australia’s production of Simon Phillip's The Elixir of Love, set in an Australian country town circa 1915, which is ‘bright, bucolic, and a barrel of laughs’. Then there’s Malthouse Theatre’s The Listies Ruin Xmas—a holiday panto with a difference.
We welcome Federal Minister for the Arts Mitch Fifield and look forward to working with him to empower and inspire innovation and creativity in the arts and in the nation, to strengthen the arts sector and the public good that the arts can deliver. Of course, an important part of understanding the arts’ potential is to experience it– below we feature just a taste of October delights.
This month Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s From Vienna to Hollywood features Austro-Hungarian composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who in 1938 was the first composer to win an Academy Award for his score to The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Australia’s own Errol Flynn—who, as it happens, was born in Hobart.
Angst and madness seem to be the name of the game this month. Australian theatre royalty relives the horrors of teenage-hood at Belvoir, Prospero conjures a storm within and without at Bell, and Faust strikes his infernal deal at State Opera of South Australia.
This month, contemporary performance ensemble, Elbow Room, gets together with Melbourne Theatre Company to ask the question, have there ever been women in theatre? in We get it—a witty look at gender anxiety.
Black Swan State Theatre Company reckons there has, with a new production of Noel Coward’s greatest work, Blithe Spirit, a fantastical comedy about ‘astral bigamy’.
Described as the sorceress of percussion, Claire Edwardes weaves her magic with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.
This month is one of depth and diversity. Our orchestras are covering the full gamut of musical experience from Beethoven to Kurt Elling’s legendary jazz vocals. And there are new takes on classics across the performing arts space—Vivaldi Unwired with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and the Wizard of Oz at Belvoir being two of them.
There's no slowing down in the colder month of June for the major performing arts, with new works lore and Battle of Waterloo, the Australian premiere of both Birdland and Love and Information and classics from Mozart, Wagner and Cherubini to be performed around the country.
The 2015 seasons of the major performing arts companies gain momentum this month with over 50 opening nights between them. Each features our elite performers, leading actors, dancers and musicians—and the insight and inspiration of our directors, conductors, designers and writers. Below is sample of what’s on offer—to give you a sense of the sheer magnitude and innovation of their work.
Happy New Year to all our readers and we hope your 2015 is full of creativity, vigour and fun. So, what lies ahead?
January is the beginning of many performing arts companies’ 2015 programs. In this first issue for 2015 of Sneak Peeks, we highlight some of the dynamic performances opening around the country. For a full list check out Performances.
This month leaps into action from day one. Today, 1st October, is World Ballet Day. It is apt that David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet, is our feature interview. He reveals the company’s ambitious plans to grow the number of dancers, local and international partnerships and audiences.
International engagement, especially in our local region, is increasingly on our radar. So this month we’d like to remind our readers that deadlines are approaching for two grants programs targeting culture and arts that give organisations an opportunity to engage more deeply with the Asian region. There are some fabulous performances lined up this month.
This month delivers artistic ambition and innovation– offering works that provoke, inspire and challenge convention. It includes the Australian Ballet’s La Bayadère and the very special, world first project – three operas by Philip Glass – Akhnaten, Einstein on the beach and Satyagraha –to be performed in Adelaide by the State Opera SA with Orchestra and Adelaide Art Orchestra as three complete cycles over three weeks.
Welcome to our mid-winter sneak peeks into the major performing arts companies' July opening nights. This really is just a sprinkling of what's going on - click on Performances above for the full list. The performing arts are a shared experience that can also invite participation. This month Sydney Dance Company is teaching thousands of Australians a new dance, TSO brings together two choirs for a special performance and the Australian Ballet will open its doors on People’s Day to share the inner workings of the Ballet. They will entertain, encourage curiosity and inspire.
The major performing arts opening nights in June offer vibrant works from some of Australia's and the world's most accomplished artists and creatives. Little Bird (pictured above)—a new work—is a one man musical drama written especially for the talents of the incomparable king of cabaret, Paul Capsis, and premières in Adelaide. Circus Oz's brand spanking new show But Wait…There’s More makes its world première under the Big Top in Melbourne. The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra brings the best-selling children’s book, The Peasant Prince, to life with music, storytelling and big-screen projections.
It’s that fiscal time of year, when we all anticipate and speculate about the winners and losers of government beneficence.
At AMPAG we know the partnership between government and the major performing arts companies is strong and resilient—and we expect that to be affirmed when the Federal Budget is handed down on Tuesday 13 May.
It’s an eclectic collection of opening nights this month, with the retelling of two classic tales of dolls and drama, and a flurry of cellos in concert around the country. Queensland Ballet stages Coppelia, and State Theatre Co of South Australia brings its co-production (with Windmill Theatre) of Pinocchio to Sydney. As part of the 2014 Adelaide International Cello Festival, Adelaide audiences will get to enjoy the great American cellist Lynn Harrell.
March offers new Australian works including Sydney Dance Company’s Interplay and Lally Katz’s Neighbourhood Watch, as well as classic works interpreted through Australian creative sensibilities, including Ukrainian-born Australian pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk playing Rachmaninov (TSO). John Bell’s The Winter’s Tale explores Shakespeare through the eyes of a child, while the Russian comedy The Government Inspector will take a mad-cap turn toward 21st century Australia.
This month's opening nights won't disappoint - there are new works including State Theatre Company of South Australia's new adaptation of The Seagull dynamic collaborations such as West Australian Ballet at the Quarry with music by Radiohead and special season openings including the Sydney Symphony Orchestra's Gala performance to mark the arrival of its new Chief Conductor David Robertson, and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s special Valentine's Day gala opening concert- a romantic night of Russian music.
While many of you still have sand between your toes many of our finest singers, dancers, actors, designers, crews, directors and musicians haven’t missed a beat- with Opera Australia opening 2014 not with one but two New Year’s eve performances and Circus Oz’s first Sydney performance for two years on today.
Welcome to our last issue of Sneak Peeks for 2013. Audiences remained strongly engaged, with over 3 million performance attendees, including at school performances, and all the companies can be justly proud of their achievements. Not least of their successes is the fact that they directly employ around 8400 people, including 4600 artists—full-time, part-time, seasonal and casual.
September heralds the beginning of Spring so it is fitting that the Major performing arts companies’ opening nights this month features a number of new productions and a plethora of performing arts talent - there’s so much to choose from!