2021 Melbourne seasons unable to proceed due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns

The-Australian-Ballet-Romeo-and-Juliet-Ako-Kondo-and-Chengwu-Guo-photo-by-Pierre-ToussaintThe Australian Ballet is disappointed to announce that all remaining performances scheduled at Arts Centre Melbourne in 2021 have been rescheduled until 2022.

The upcoming Melbourne seasons of Romeo and Juliet, Harlequinade, DanceX and Anna Karenina in the State Theatre will be postponed due to the continuing uncertainty caused by the spread of COVID-19 and the necessity for ongoing lockdowns and theatre restrictions.

This has been a very difficult decision for our company to make. Our purpose is to perform, and we know our supporters and audiences are keen to see ballet back in theatres. While we have performed in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide this year, we have not been able to perform at our Melbourne home, Arts Centre Melbourne, since March 2020 – nearly 18 months.

“Unfortunately, The Australian Ballet cannot continue to prepare for seasons that are unlikely to proceed, or perform in theatres with restricted capacity,” said Executive Director Libby Christie. “We depend on ticket sales for over 60% of our annual income.”

“The Board and Management have agreed that in these uncertain times the company needs to preserve our financial resources and support our dancers and staff so that we are in good shape and can return to the stage when vaccination rates are high and COVID restrictions have eased.”

“All ticket holders will be contacted shortly, once new dates have been confirmed. We are in discussions with Federal and State Governments about COVID-relief funding,” said Ms Christie.

A total of 44 performances in Melbourne will be postponed to 2022. Romeo and Juliet was due to open on Friday 27 August, Harlequinade on Friday 10 September, DanceX on Friday 24 September and Anna Karenina on Tuesday 12 October. We anticipate making a decision later in September regarding our Sydney season, scheduled for November and December.

“There has been so much hard work put into preparing for these seasons by the company’s artists, creatives, costume and production teams, it’s difficult to have to announce this today,” said The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director, David Hallberg.

“The dancers have rehearsed to the highest standards for many weeks and it’s disappointing that the continuing uncertainty of lockdowns and restricted theatre capacities mean we will not be able to return to the stage and our very loyal audiences in the coming months. We have no choice but to make this decision.”

“Tickets for these upcoming seasons have sold incredibly well and we are confident that we have secured dates in 2022 to perform these highly anticipated productions for our Melbourne audiences. In anticipation of our return to the stage we will continue to train and rehearse over the coming months.”

“We will take every opportunity to ensure the unique artistic vitality of The Australian Ballet is on display as soon as possible, and we are sure we will make a triumphant return to our beloved supporters,” said Mr Hallberg.

We remain a strong, ambitious and healthy company, and are deeply grateful for the incredible support we continue to receive from so many in the community, including our patrons, audiences, sponsors and Government. For more information, visit: www.australianballet.com.au for details.

Image: Ako Kondo and Chengwu Guo to star in Romeo and Juliet – photo by Pierre Toussaint