Romeo and Juliet breaks box office record

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Westender reviewed Romeo and Juliet observing that “Artistic Director Li Cun-Xin has set out to make Queensland Ballet a world-class ballet company and his strategy is to please crowds with the best of the classics.” The people of Brisbane agree as the following press release from the ballet attests.

Swordplay in Romeo & Juliet
Tybalt and Mercutio cross swords in the market square

Queensland Ballet’s Australian première of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s iconicRomeo & Julietproduction has broken a 54-year box office record.

This world famous production of Shakespeare’s tragic tale of star-cross’d lovers, with guest appearances by international ballet stars Tamara Rojo, Carlos Acosta and Steven McRae, exceeded $1.1 million in box office takings, and was seen by over 15,000 people across eight performances from Friday 27 June – Saturday 5 July at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC.

Queensland Ballet CEO Anna Marsden said that Romeo & Juliet is now Queensland Ballet’s highest-selling ballet in the Company’s rich 54-year history.

“The season of Romeo & Juliet was a huge success, reaching 97% of capacity, and five out of eight performances completely sold out.

“We were also pleased to welcome so many new patrons – over 50% of those that booked tickets had never purchased a ticket to Queensland Ballet before,” said Ms Marsden.

Queensland Ballet’s Artistic Director Li Cunxin is immensely proud of the Company’s success.

“It was a huge coup and honour for us to perform Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo & Juliet, and we performed our hearts out to great critical acclaim.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the dancers, and every single person at Queensland Ballet who made this production such a smash-hit success,” comments Mr Li.

Lady Deborah MacMillan, who granted the Company the rights to perform her late husband’s iconic work, was extremely impressed with Queensland Ballet’s production of one of Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s most renowned ballets.

“I think the Company is stunning. The dancers are keen and eager to do the roles, and this shone through in the performances. I’m excited, and thrilled.”

Guest star Tamara Rojo thinks Queensland Ballet is world class.

“It’s been a pleasure working with Queensland Ballet. The company is completely committed to Kenneth’s choreography and the characters.

“This is a company hungry for new challenges and embracing them whole heartedly. It has been a pleasure to be here,” said Ms Rojo.

This super star project was made possible by the generous support of the Super Star Fund, a Queensland Government program that delivers super star performances exclusive to the state.

Arts Minister Ian Walker said Romeo & Juliet exemplified what the State wanted to achieve in the performing arts.

“World-class choreographers and dancers working with Queensland professionals to bring the best of their art to local audiences, breaking box office records and showing the rest of Australia what can be achieved with hard work, imagination and a dream-big philosophy, is a huge accomplishment,” Mr Walker said.

“Queensland Ballet has achieved this result with grace and distinction.”

Arts Minister Ian Walker says: “It’s great to see box office records smashed with this production of Romeo & Juliet.

Romeo & Juliet was the first project to receive Queensland Government investment through the Super Star Fund which supports local performing arts companies to feature internationally renowned artists in productions exclusive to Queensland.

Lady MacMillan wholeheartedly agrees that Queensland Ballet dancers would have benefited greatly from the experience of working with the international guests.

“Dancers learn from working with other dancers. To have them on the stage with someone like Carlos Acosta, Tamara Rojo and Steven McRae will have given them the most fantastic experience.

“Kenneth was always interested in helping younger dancers to develop their gifts, and this was a golden opportunity to do that,” said Lady MacMillan.

There is no doubt this production will leave a lasting legacy comments Mr Li.

“It was always my dream to dance Kenneth’s Romeo & Juliet, but seeing our dancers perform it has filled me with such happiness, I feel a greater dream has been realised.

“From the stars coaching of our dancers, a brunch at Brisbane City Hall featuring an in-depth conversation with Lady Deborah MacMillan, to Carlos Acosta giving a book reading at GOMA – this super star project will leave a legacy for the Company, and Queensland audiences for many years to come.”

The success of Romeo & Juliet follows a sell-out season in 2013, Artistic Director Li Cunxin’s debut season for Queensland Ballet.

Romeo & Juliet was undoubtedly the biggest undertaking in Queensland Ballet’s history, and I hope we have shattered some glass ceilings with its success,” said Mr Li.

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