Queensland Ballet has taken the bold step to move its 2020 season to 2021. The announcement comes despite the Federal Government outlining its roadmap to easing restrictions, with gatherings of up to 100 people anticipated by 10 July 2020.
Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO said the company’s Crisis Management Response Team has established a framework for a safe step-by-step return of ballet activities.
The document, entitled Queensland Ballet’s Return to Magic Framework outlines sensible and gradual steps to resume activities ranging from work, to Company class, to educational activities, to repertoire creation and rehearsals, and ultimately performance.
“It’s a timely tool for how reintroduction of activity will occur in a cautious and methodical manner to optimize dancer and community safety,” said Mr Li. “Decisions regarding the timing of resumption of activity will be made in consultation with Federal and Queensland Government advice.”
“The Queensland Ballet Academy at Kelvin Grove State College has recommenced training and we are hopeful we may be able to re-open our studios to our Company Dancers in the coming months. We know other companies have opened up around the country and the resumption of sport is a step in the right direction,” said Mr Li.
However, Queensland Ballet believes it is unfeasible to recommence mainstage performances before 2021. “We have been listening to our patrons and we hear that they may wish to wait until 2021 to enjoy ballet again,” said Mr Li.
“We have also undertaken economic modelling which has considered potential social distancing restrictions that would render any return to the stage as extremely costly and potentially detrimental financially to the company. In light of this, Queensland Ballet has made the difficult decision to move our entire 2020 season to 2021.”
“It is disappointing as we had big plans to celebrate our 60 year anniversary during 2020, but we believe this means that patrons can still see the productions they were looking forward to seeing, plus it means no creative energy will have been in vain; from rehearsals right through to stage craft and wardrobe. It also allows us to retain and look after our staff of 200 during this time.”
“We need to be more resourceful than ever, be innovative, while staying attuned to the changing climate for the arts world post COVID-19. Due to the financial impact that has been experienced by many in our community, whilst we know the arts is important to them, we are also realistic and we are forecasting a 30-40% downturn in attendance for the first quarter of 2021,” said Mr Li.
Queensland Ballet is now finalising the dates of the rescheduled performances for 2021 with our venue partners. Tickets purchased for 2020 performances will be exchanged into the 2021 dates. Patrons will be advised of their new ticket details between August and September, with all patrons being advised no later than September 30, 2020. Patrons may request a refund at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We are forecasting a 43% decline in revenue in 2020, due to our inability to perform this year and also recognising impact on other areas of earned income, including community activities, corporate partnerships and philanthropy. We are very aware that there are many asks of our community, from worthy organisations and causes.
If Queensland Ballet has brought you joy at some point in the last 60 years, then please do consider a tax-deductible donation in lieu of a refund. For us, in 2020, it means being able to keep our dancers and enabling team employed. It is essential that Queensland Ballet’s Keep the Magic Alive Campaign is triumphant, and anyone wishing to support the Queensland Ballet dancers and wider team, can go to www.keepthemagicalive.com.au.
“Whilst there are unknowns in the future, there are also some wonderful treats in store,” said Mr Li. “In 2021, as we open the doors to our newly refurbished Thomas Dixon Centre, each Season Ticket Holder will be invited to preview our new home to walk through our six studios, new Studio Theatre, dancer spaces including Wellness Suite, outdoor gardens, café, bunker bar and rooftop terrace. We can’t wait to welcome you to our home, your cultural hub. This will be a highlight of 2021. We are focusing on the positive.”
To remain connected with our community and to keep our teaching artists engaged, an extensive program of paid online classes has been launched titled Dance Anywhere. 20 new classes will be available with live instruction from leading teaching artists, for all abilities from ages 16 years and over www.queenslandballet.com.au/classes/dance-anywhere. Pre-recorded free classes are still available at www.queenslandballet.com.au/dance-classes.
For more information, visit: www.queenslandballet.com.au for details.
Image: courtesy of Queensland Ballet