Journey through time with Queensland Ballet’s Striking Triple Bill – Trilogy

Experience an extraordinary journey through time and place with Queensland Ballet’s newest triple bill, Trilogy, at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) this June.

With works by renowned choreographers Cathy Marston, Jack Lister and Christopher Bruce, Trilogy combines Australian Spirit and passion with Scandi Noir cinematic experience, before rounding off with the toe-tapping energy of the swinging ‘60s.

Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO said this triple bill has something for everyone to enjoy. “It’s three ballets for the one price and on the one evening, so whether you love classical, neo-classical, or high-energy rock ‘n’ roll, this trio of extraordinary performances will captivate audiences from beginning to end,” he said.

“My Brilliant Career, A Brief Nostalgia and Rooster are all accompanied by their own unique choreography, bringing to life a dynamic range of passion and spirit,” said Mr Li.

Trilogy includes the world premiere of My Brilliant Career – a newly created work by British Choreographer Cathy Marston, who is renowned for creating ballets with unique perspectives, inspired by literature.

Marston said she is excited to turn the Australian classic novel My Brilliant Career into a ballet. “I felt very uplifted reading the book, and slightly discombobulate, she (Sybylla) doesn’t do what you think she should do as a reader,” she said.

“For those that haven’t read it I don’t want to spoil it, but it doesn’t meet your romantic expectations, but when you think about it afterwards, the plot twist is right. I think you can recognise human beings. I think what Sybylla brings is a determination and a sense of humour and should make you go out with a bit of a smile.”

“I proposed the piece to Li, as we had discussed doing an Australian piece in the past, and it took some years, and then more years with Covid-19, and now we’re finally here,” said Marston.

Mr Cunxin said Marston will work with the Queensland Ballet dancers through a creative process to bring the story to life. “To have Cathy Marston, one of the world’s most highly regarded choreographers create My Brilliant Career as an original work for Queensland Ballet is truly amazing. Her works are story-driven with incredible protagonists, so I can’t wait to see how it unfolds,” said Mr Li.

Queensland Ballet Associate Choreographer, Jack Lister is the choreographer behind A Brief Nostalgia as a co-production between Birmingham Royal Ballet which premiered in London’s Sadler’s Well’s Theatre in 2019.

“Nostalgia means something different to everyone. Yet at such a young age, Lister brings an academic intensity to this production. And that combined with Thomas Mika’s set design of huge concrete grey walls, grey costumes and augmented shadows gives it a dystopian look that will stay with the audience well after they’ve left the theatre,” he said.

And finally with infectious energy and toe-tapping tunes, including music by the Rolling Stones, Christopher Bruce’s Rooster is an ironic look at the 60s and the attitudes of the times.

“It’s an exploration of male chauvinism, with strutting dancers in vibrant period-era costumes performing innovative solo and breath-taking partner work. With movement motifs woven through the eight distinct pieces, this jubilant celebration of arguably one of the most vibrant decades of all time will leave audiences bopping in their seats,” said Mr Li.

When Mr Li worked with Bruce as a dancer on Ghost Dances, he was so impressed with the choreographers’ ability to inspire both the artist and audience with his incredible musicality and distinctive movements. “His choreography is wonderful to dance and could really take you on a journey,” Mr Li recalls.

“From the very beginning, in the silence, the audience were fully with us. Christopher’s unique movement quality, the tension he creates captivated the audience. I related to the theme, what the story represented, and I loved moving to that music.”

A Brief Nostalgia
Part ballet, part Scandi-noir in style, Jack Lister’s A Brief Nostalgia premièred in London in 2019 as a co-production with Birmingham Royal Ballet. Wistful and atmospherically cinematic, this abstract work explores the inevitability of the memories we collect, and how we respond when they are all we have left.

Stark, dramatic set designs, vivid lighting, and Tom Harrold’s ominous score enhance the choreography, drawing audiences into the abstract world. Renowned for his choreographic talent, Lister has created mainstage works for Queensland Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Australasian Dance Collective to critical and audience acclaim.

Music, colour, and rock ‘n’ roll swagger collide in Christopher Bruce’s Rooster – a celebration of the swinging ‘60s! Featuring toe-tapping tunes by The Rolling Stones including Paint it Black, Not Fade Away and Little Red Rooster, this high-energy production resurrects the 1960s with an ironic look at the era.

Dancers strut in vibrant costumes, performing innovative solo and breath-taking partner work, entertaining and exploring the attitudes of the times. Humorous and uplifting, this jubilant celebration of arguably one of the most vibrant decades of all time will leave audiences bopping in their seats.

My Brilliant Career
Rural Australia, early 20th century: Wilful, headstrong, and a born romantic, Sibylla Melvyn dreams of becoming a writer. Yet as a young woman, society has other plans. Based on the celebrated novel, My Brilliant Career by Stella Maria ‘Miles Franklin’, this world première work by British choreographer Cathy Marston is an exploration of the Australian spirit and passion, against a vivid Australian landscape. First published in 1901, the novel was Australia’s first major contribution to literature, inspiring theatre productions and an iconic film in 1979.

Music performed by Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Nigel Gaynor (My Brilliant Career and A Brief Nostalgia). Rooster performed to recorded music. Rooster costumes courtesy of The National Ballet of Canada.

My Brilliant Career is generously enabled by Ian and Cass George, and Mr Trevor St Baker AO and Mrs Judith St Baker.

Playhouse – Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), Cultural Precinct, South Brisbane
Season: 16 – 25 June 2023
Information and Bookings:

Image: Queensland Ballet presents My Brilliant Career as part of their triple-bill, Trilogy (supplied)