The Strictly Ballroom Story

SB_costumesIt’s thirty years since Strictly Ballroom set the world dancing and to celebrate its incredible journey, the Powerhouse Museum is presenting The Strictly Ballroom Story –  a new exhibition opening on Saturday 5 April 2014.

The exhibition celebrates the sequinned splendour of the hit stage and screen musical and tells the Strictly Ballroom story through design drawings, cast and set photos, performance and rehearsal clips. A highlight is 40 dazzling original costumes created by four time Oscar winner Catherine Martin which played a critical role in creating the larger than life quality of the film.

“The Strictly Ballroom costumes are part of a significant collection – including designs and costumes from other Bazmark productions – created by Catherine Martin and generously donated to the Museum,” says Powerhouse Museum Director, Rose Hiscock.

“It’s wonderful to put the costumes on public display; they embody the spirit and energy of Catherine’s wonderfully creative mind. I’m looking forward to the reaction from our audiences.”

In 1984 Strictly Ballroom began life as a group-devised student musical at NIDA, before a longer version was developed in 1986 for the International Festival of Theatre Academies in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia (Slovakia). The young cast including Nell Schofield, Sonia Todd and Baz Luhrmann won the prize for best production at the Festival.

Two years later Strictly Ballroom returned to Sydney, via World Expo, Brisbane, for a season at the Sydney Theatre Company, again as a stage musical with Glenn Keenan taking the lead role of Scott while Tara Morice made her debut as Fran.

After years of reworking, research and spruiking for backers, the 1992 movie took Strictly Ballroom to the world. Now the show is returning to its theatrical roots, with the World Premiere taking place on Saturday 12 April at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre.

Strictly Ballroom’s theme is Scott and Fran’s battle for individual expression against the old-school leaders of the dance competition world. As the blurb for the 1988 Wharf production put it: ‘Scott Hastings is trapped in a world where every dancer knows their place. In a world where no one dares to step on the toes of the Federation. In a world that is Strictly Ballroom’.

The Strictly Ballroom Story
Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo (Sydney)
On exhibition from Saturday 5 April 2014

For more information, visit: www.powerhousemuseum.com for details.

Image: Film costumes from Strictly Ballroom, men’s `Final Festival’ and girl’s ballgown, M&A Film Corporation Pty Ltd/Angus Strathie/Nola Lowe/Barrie Lowe, Sydney, Australia, 1991. Glynis Jones, Curator Fashion & Dress in background – courtesy of Powerhouse Museum.

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