AFC News Dec 07 / Jan 08
On 7 December, a groundbreaking partnership between the Australian Film Commission (AFC) and The Australian Ballet took a live performance of Sir Peter Wright's production of The Nutcracker to audiences in eight regional centres across the country.
For the first time in Australia, people from Devonport (Tas) up to Hervey Bay (Qld), from Albany (WA) across to Singleton (NSW) experienced a live ballet performance at the same time as those seated in the Opera Theatre and Forecourt of the Sydney Opera House.
Wright's Nutcracker is one of the most beautiful, elegant and sophisticated productions of the magical Tchaikovsky ballet. It has delighted capacity audiences in the UK and Japan as well as Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. The Sydney production by The Australian Ballet included 92 dazzling dancers, the 70-piece Opera and Ballet Orchestra and a 30-strong choir, supported by a massive 500 people who made the production possible.
Courtesy of satellite technology installed as part of the AFC's Regional Digital Screen Network (RDSN) close to 2500 people in regional cinemas across Australia enjoyed the pirouettes, dazzling costumes and Tchaikovsky's magical score simultaneously. As a bonus, those watching as part of the RDSN and on the Opera House Forecourt were treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes view including interviews with dancers and audience members, as the dancers prepared to go on stage.
For many people in regional areas, this free screening is one of a limited number of opportunities that they have to witness a ballet of this scale. The free tickets were snapped up within hours of being released and the popularity of the event was obvious when the RDSN team started hearing tales of tutus and tuxedos being dusted off especially for the occasion.
The AFC has received a number of letters from those in the audience expressing their thanks including this one from the NT.
To bring the arts to a regional area is just fantastic. It is a great opportunity for my children to experience such an event.
I took my 8, 6, & 2 yr old daughters while their Dad babysat the 8 month old twins… My 2 yr old watched three quarters of the ballet before falling asleep. She has been telling everyone about how the rats hurt one of the soldiers. She was also captivated by the male dancers' tights and sparkles. She is trying to dance on tip toe! My older daughters and I were brought to tears by the amazing backdrops, costumes, and the abilities of the performers.
I thank the Australian Film Commission, The Australian Ballet and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra for our experience that words just can't encapsulate. We wait with anticipation for the next event and in the meantime tell all our friends what they missed out on!
Thank you again for picking Katherine as a part of the RDSN.
For more information about the eight venues and RDSN programming see www.afc.gov.au/rdsn