From 2009 to 2019 the QPAC International Series has featured many of the world’s finest companies from the United States, England, Cuba, Germany, Russia, France and Italy.
The QPAC International Series has been a way to engage in a creative, cultural and intellectual exchange between communities from different countries and the various diasporas that make up contemporary Australia.
Each year, in addition to stunning on stage productions, the International Series incorporated a program of events and activities curated in collaboration with our visiting company to expand understanding of the productions, the artists and country these companies call home. Delivered in live and digital environments, the program included exhibitions, talks and discussions, masterclasses, a live simulcast and community driven participation.
2020: Paris Opera Ballet
The QPAC International Series 2020 did not proceed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
2019: Bolshoi Ballet
Widely considered as the premier ballet company in the world, the Bolshoi Ballet is truly one of the great names in performing arts and returned to Brisbane in 2019 for the first time since its sell-out season in 2013.
From 26 June to 7 July 2019 and only in Queensland, Australian audiences enjoyed the company’s roster of stars performing the grandiose epic Spartacus and the sumptuously beautiful Jewels.
Anatomy of a Scene from Spartacus
ACT 1, SCENE 3: The Orgy At Crassus’ Villa
During this iconic scene, Crassus, frenzied and drunk with wine and passion, demands that two gladiators (Spartacus and Hermes) fight to the death for his entertainment. The gladiators are forced to wear helmets with closed visors, so are unable to see one another or identify their opponent.
The positions of the dancers, their gestures, the musical cues all carry significant meaning. QPAC’s Executive Producer, Bolshoi Ballet Janelle Christofis talks us through the scene and offers tips on what to look and listen out for.
2018: Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company (La Scala Ballet)
Italy’s celebrated Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company (La Scala Ballet) performed for the first time ever in Australia – and only in Brisbane – from 7 to18 November 2018. With their 110-strong company (including more than 75 dancers), La Scala Ballet performed two iconic productions, both much-loved and stunning works of the classical repertoire – Rudolf Nureyev’s festive Don Quixote, and the haunting Giselle.
Part of the program also were a Masterclass, an exhibition and a Conversation Series.
2017: The Royal Ballet
The 2017 QPAC International Series featured England’s The Royal Ballet, who presented two original works, Woolf Works and The Winter’s Tale at QPAC, as well as a gala performance in Cairns following the Brisbane season. An extensive program accompanied these performances including one of the largest community projects undertaken by QPAC and The Royal Ballet, We All Dance.
Kevin O’Hare - Director
Kevin O’Hare is Director of The Royal Ballet. Appointed in July 2012 following the retirement of Monica Mason, he is responsible for driving the artistic direction of the Company.
O’Hare was born in Yorkshire. He trained at The Royal Ballet School and, through an exchange programme, with Royal Danish Ballet. He began his performing career with The Royal Ballet’s sister company Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, and stayed with that company as a Principal during its transformation into Birmingham Royal Ballet. O’Hare retired from the stage in 2000, entering into a traineeship in company management with the Royal Shakespeare Company. This led to the post of Company Director with Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2001, and in 2004 he joined The Royal Ballet as Company Manager. He was made Administrative Director in 2009 before being appointed to his current role. In 2015 he was appointed to the board of Northern Ballet.
Wayne McGregor - Resident Choreographer
English choreographer Wayne McGregor was appointed Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet in 2006, becoming the first contemporary choreographer to hold the post.
McGregor was born in Stockport and studied at Bretton Hall, West Yorkshire, and the José Limón School, New York. In 1992 he founded Studio Wayne McGregor, a resident company of Sadler’s Wells and now based in Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. His interest in cross-discipline collaboration has seen him work across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science. McGregor has created works for Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, New York City Ballet, Australian Ballet, English National Ballet, NDT1 and Rambert, among others. His works are also in the repertories of such leading companies as the Bolshoi, Royal Danish Ballet, Boston Ballet and Joffrey Ballet.
Joby Talbot - Composer
English composer Joby Talbot made his Royal Ballet debut in 2006, creating the score for Royal Ballet Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor’s Chroma.
Talbot has since written two full-length ballet scores for the Company, in collaboration with Royal Ballet Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2011), the Company’s first full-length commission for more than twenty years, and The Winter’s Tale(2014).
Talbot was born in Wimbledon in 1971 and studied privately with Brian Elias, before attending the Royal Holloway and Bedford New College and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Simon Bainbridge.
Talbot has written widely for dance, collaborations including Wheeldon’s Fool’s Paradise (Morphoses, 2007), McGregor’s Entity (Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, 2008) and Genus (Paris Opera Ballet, 2007) and Chamber Symphony for Medhi Walerski’s Chamber (Residentie Orkest/Nederlands Dans Theater and Norwegian Opera and Ballet, 2012).
Christopher Wheeldon - Artistic Associate
English choreographer Christopher Wheeldon is Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet. He trained at The Royal Ballet School and danced with the Company 1991-1993.
Wheeldon was born in Yeovil and trained at The Royal Ballet School. In 1991 he won gold medal at the Prix de Lausanne with a solo of his own creation and that year entered The Royal Ballet, where Kenneth MacMillan encouraged him in his choreographic work. In 1993 Wheeldon joined New York City Ballet, promoted to soloist in 1998. He created his first work for NYCB, Slavonic Dances, in 1997 and became the company’s first Resident Choreographer in 2001.
Wheeldon regularly choreographs for leading international companies, including Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. In 2007 he founded Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company and became the first British choreographer to create a new work for the Bolshoi Ballet. In 2012 he collaborated with Alastair Marriott on the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games.
Max Richter - Composer
British composer, pianist, producer and remixer Max Richter made his Royal Ballet debut in 2008 creating the original score for Wayne McGregor’s Infra.
Richter studied composition at Edinburgh University, the Royal Academy of Music and with Berio in Florence. In the early 1990s he co-founded Piano Circus, a six-piano ensemble that commissioned and performed works by Steve Reich and Philip Glass, among others.
Richter has a long-standing association with McGregor, and their collaborations include, in addition to their works at the Royal Opera House, Kairos for Ballet Zürich, and the installations Rain Room at the Barbican and MoMA and Future Self at Lunds konsthall, both for Random International.
Elizabeth Foster - Dance Practitioner
Elizabeth Foster holds an MA in Dance/Movement Psychotherapy and is a lecturer in Dance Movement Studies at the College of Health and Social Care at the University of Derby. Foster delivers modules in Dance, Diversity and Inclusion, Physicality and Technique and Creative Expressive Therapy.
Foster’s work includes education and choreographic project work with the Royal Opera House, Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Buxton Opera House and the Royal Ballet School. Foster is also an amateur for Rambert Dance Company and teaches the company's repertoire in a variety of educational settings. More locally, Foster teaches ballet and contemporary technique at Deda, Derby's dance centre.
Foster is going to work alongside David Pickering with artists of the Royal Ballet and community groups in Brisbane and Cairns to present a special We All Dance performance.
David Pickering - Education Administrator
English dancer and teacher David Pickering trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined the Company in 1990, promoted to First Artist in 1994 and Soloist in 1999. He retired from dancing in 2014. He was appointed Education Administrator in 2008 and in 2013 completed a course in Ballet Education Practice at the Royal Opera House.
As Education Administrator for the Company, Pickering is involved with several projects organised by the Learning and Participation department at the Royal Opera House, including Insights, such as The Royal Ballet in Rehearsal, and Schools’ Matinee performances. He participated in a 2012 tour made by members of The Royal Ballet to Rio de Janeiro, which included education workshops with local communities. Pickering was part of a team from The Royal Ballet involved with an episode of ITV’s What Would Be Your Miracle, helping a young girl who suffers from cerebral palsy achieve her dream of dancing.
Pickering is going to work alongside Elizabeth Foster with artists of the Royal Ballet and community groups in Brisbane and Cairns to present a special We All Dance performance.
In Conversation with Kevin O’Hare
In this five part series, we chat to Kevin O’Hare about what it’s like to lead an iconic company, diversifying from dancer to Director, how Woolf Works and The Winter’s Tale came to be, and how creatives like Wayne McGregor innovate in a traditional art form.
Creative Insights with Kevin O’Hare, Wayne McGregor CBE and Christopher Wheeldon OBE
Enter the world of The Royal Ballet with Director Kevin O’Hare, Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor CBE and Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon OBE and discover how they bring together the exceptional artistry of the Company’s dancers with leading composers, conductors, designers and creative teams. There is a lot of work that goes into the performances you see on stage. From the choice of story to how it will be interpreted, rehearsals to rewrites, set design, music and how lighting and special effects help create drama and emotion…in these Creative Insights, find out more about how ballet is created.
Masterclass with Wayne McGregor CBE and Christopher Wheeldon OBE
Two classes were held during the 2017 QPAC International Series, led by Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet Wayne McGregor CBE, and Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet, Christopher Wheeldon OBE.
After an introductory dance class, each choreographer led the students through how they choreograph, the language they use, their process, what it’s like to build a new work. Students were taken through repertory from Woolf Works and The Winter’s Tale.
Documentary - Everybody Moves
Everybody Moves is an uplifting documentary about how dance can and does change lives, make us happier, healthier and stronger.
Everyone has a body. We all move in different ways. But whether you are a professional dancer, a weekend groover or even if you think you can’t dance at all, the way you move through your life, inside your body and how you present yourself to the world is your unique way of moving. And everybody moves.
“Dance is affirmative, optimistic and democratic. It embodies the idea that the world can be a happier place. These are useful ideas in difficult times.” Wayne McGregor
Community Project - We All Dance
We All Dance was the largest community engagement project QPAC has undertaken as part of the QPAC International Series.
We All Dance was about creating and sharing stories through the language of dance and movement. Our bodies and the way we carry and use them in our everyday lives projects our history, experiences and ideas and allows us to interact with other people and the world in unique and individual ways.
From March to July 2017, community participants from Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Caboolture and Cairns worked with local teaching artists and two teaching artists from The Royal Ballet, David Pickering and Liz Foster.
We All Dance explored dance and movement from hip hop to ballet, and incorporated opportunities for self-expression, skill development and performance. The program also delivered professional development for the teaching artists and partner community organisations.
2016: Ballet Preljocaj
The 2016 QPAC International Series featured France’s Ballet Preljocaj which has forged an internationally acclaimed reputation for presenting well known narratives through dramatic and virtuosic choreography and dance, highly sophisticated music and spectacular design.
The company performs about 100 dates per year on tour, in France and abroad, including the Lincoln Center, New York and the Music Centre, Los Angeles.
Ballet Preljocaj became the National Choreographic Centre of Champigny-sur-Marne and Val-de-Marne in 1989. In 1996, the ballet was welcomed at the Cité du Livre in Aix-en-Provence and became the Ballet Preljocaj – National Choreographic Centre of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region, the Bouches-du-Rhône Department, the Pays d'Aix Community and the City of Aix-en-Provence in France.
This leading contemporary ballet company performed a romantic and edgy retelling of Snow White (Blanche Neige), based on the Grimm Brothers’ original fairytale and featuring costumes designed by couturier Jean Paul Gaultier for its QPAC season.
In Conversation with Angelin Preljocaj
We chat to award winning French choreographer and artistic director of Ballet Preljocaj, Angelin Preljocaj.
In the mid-1960s on the outskirts of Paris, two dance teachers welcomed a young boy in judo pants into a ballet class, despite protests from his parents. Two decades later Angelin Preljocaj founded his own company, Ballet Preljocaj, a purpose built choreographic centre, in Aix-en-Provence.
Thierry Leproust - Set Designer
Born in 1948 in the Nièvre department, Thierry Leproust studied at the Boulle School interior design, design and sculpture.
Alongside his work as a visual artist, he began a career as a set designer for opera, theatre, dance and cinema in 1983. Since 1975, he has regularly exhibited his visual art in France and abroad where his works form part of a number of public and private collections. He has already produced the settings for many creations by Angelin Preljocaj: Amer America (1990), La Peau du Monde (1992), Le Parc (1994), L'Anoure and L'Oiseau de feu (1995), Casanova (1998), Le Sacre du printemps (2001), Le Songe de Médée (2004).
Jean Paul Gaultier - Fashion Designer
Already as a child, he was making his first drawings of haute couture models, taking his inspiration from his urban environment. Fashion proved to be his real passion. Known as the "enfant terrible of French fashion", he has continually revolutionised fashion – with recycled fashion in 1980 (car leather and cans turned into clothing and jewellery), the Corset Dress in 1983, and the skirt for men two years later.
His triumphant success allows him to continue his fight against the barriers of race and geography and against intolerance. The themes of his collections underline his ambition to mix genres and break rules: La concierge est dans l'escalier, Les Rock-Stars, Une garde-robe pour 2, Black Beauties and Barbes. In 1997, he fulfilled his childhood dream by presenting his first haute couture collection and founding Haute Couture Gaultier Paris.
Jean Paul Gaultier designed the costumes for France’s Ballet Preljocaj’s contemporary retelling of Snow White.
“I had seen Angelin Preljocaj's work before, at the Theatre Festival in Avignon in the south of France and I have been very impressed. When he contacted me and told me that he was working on Snow White I was quickly seduced by the idea.”
Angelin Preljocaj - Artistic Director & Choreographer
Angelin Preljocaj was born in the Paris region and began studying classical ballet before turning to contemporary dance. In 1980, he went to New York after which he resumed his studies in France before founding his own company in December 1984. His productions are now part of the repertoire of many companies, many of which also commission original production from him, notably La Scala of Milan, the New York City Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet.
Since October 2006, the Ballet Preljocaj and its permanent dancers have resided at the Pavillon Noir in Aix-en-Provence, a building entirely dedicated to dance, with Angelin Preljocaj as its artistic director. Since founding his company, now composed of 26 dancers, Angelin Preljocaj has created 45 choreographic works, ranging from solo to larger formations.
“I was very keen to tell a story. I have recently created some very abstract pieces with Empty moves and Eldorado (Sonntags Abschied) and, as often happens, I wanted to do something completely different, write something very concrete and offer something magical and enchanted. No doubt it was to avoid getting into a rut. And also because, like everyone else, I love stories.”
2014: American Ballet Theatre
The Australian debut of American Ballet Theatre took place at QPAC from 28 August to 7 September 2014.
The American Ballet Theatre presented their lavish production of the imperishable classic, Swan Lake, and a triple bill; Three Masterpieces, which featured short works by legendary American choreographers Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp, and a work by the Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, ABT’s Artist in Residence.
In a facilitated discussion, curated by former ballet dancer and Queensland University of Technology's Associate Professor Gene Moyle, American Ballet Theatre's Music Director and Conductor Ormsby Wilkins and Queensland Symphony Orchestra's Director of Artistic Planning Richard Wenn explore the role and relationship musical composition has with choreography.
Drawing on Wilkins' extensive experience with American Ballet Theatre, and inspired by the pieces presented in Three Masterpieces Wilkins steps through key qualities, scores and the history of how to 'read' music in its support of aesthetic and meaning in ballet.
Curated by former ballet dancer and Queensland University of Technology’s Associate Professor Gene Moyle, hear firsthand the fascinating, personal stories behind preparing and performing for the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake.
Hear how renowned ballerinas; Lucinda Dunn former Principal Dancer with The Australian Ballet, Rachael Walsh recently retired Principal Dancer with Queensland Ballet, joined by American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Principal Dancer Paloma Herrera and former ABT Principal Dancer Martine van Hamel prepare themselves, both physically and psychologically for their performance as they share their insights and creative process.
In a panel discussion with leading ballerinas, hear personal stories including the first time they performed Swan Lake, their approach to characterisation, dancing and the execution of performance, in addition to what they believe makes for a striking swan.
Interview with Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie
During his pre-tour visit, American Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie sat down with us to discuss his excitement about ABT’s Australian debut, the unique ABT style, the importance of the performing arts and his journey to becoming a professional dancer, as well as the way ABT is reaching a whole new generation of arts makers and performers.
From Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis remarking he 'dressed up nicely' before suggesting they both ‘get to work’ at a fundraiser during early days at the helm, to his encounter with Hilary Clinton, this four part series highlights anecdotes and advice drawn from the mind at the forefront of a cultural powerhouse and a genuinely charming man.
A New York Moment in Brisbane
Filmed in Brisbane for the exclusive season of the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) , A New York Moment in Brisbane features Principal dancers from the ABT, Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside.
With an original score composed by Rohin Jones and filmed by Israel Rivera. Gillian is dressed by Aje. and James by Brisbane boutique Fallow.
Behind the Scenes
Our Behind the Scenes series takes you on an exclusive journey into the heart of QPAC, where the magic of the stage comes to life.
The People's Day Playlist
Stephen Anderson, who plays Willy Wonka, and Lucy Maunder, who plays Mrs Bucket, pick their favourite childhood songs and tell us what makes them special.
See what songs are on musical theatre star Philip Quast's playlist.
The Ultimate Musical Playlist
Listen to the ultimate musical playlist as chosen by three of musical theatres leading ladies.
World Violin Day Playlist
We asked the talented violinists of Camerata to share their favourite music featuring the violin and why.
Alexandra Flood’s Playlist
Find out what music makes the top ten play list for an internationally acclaimed coloratura soprano.
Introducing Kids to the Orchestra
Children will be introduced to all of the orchestral instrument families: string, woodwind, brass and percussion by QSO horn player Vivienne Collier-Vickers.
Get creative in Roma
QPAC brought Creative Fusions to Roma; a five-day music-making program for musicians aged 10 to 100 years.
Ishmael first day
Take a peek behind the scenes at the first day of rehearsals for Dead Puppet Society’s much anticipated world premiere production, Ishmael.
An Interview with Gideon Mzembe
Actor Gideon Mzembe talks about his life and his career while he was at QPAC, performing in shake & stir theatre co’s sold-out return season of Animal Farm.
The Role of the Staging Director
An Interview with An American in Paris Australian Staging Director Hannah Ryan, during the Australian premiere season at QPAC.
A yarn about Frozen costumes
Read the interview with Frozen’s Costume Designer and Wigs associate Janet Hine who oversaw the creation of costumes for the Australian production of Frozen.