World class talent to match world class event
The world-class line-up of talent tasked with creating the biggest spectacle in the Gold Coast’s history, was announced today when Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) revealed some of the key artistic personnel and companies working on the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) Opening and Closing Ceremonies.
An internationally-experienced team of producers, choreographers and directors have been assembled to deliver both celebrations to be viewed by a global television audience of up to 1.5 billion. Many herald from Queensland and bring with them experience and success from working on other Games Ceremonies and large-scale global events.
GOLDOC Chairman, Peter Beattie AC announced that the GC2018 Opening and Closing Ceremonies mark the biggest event in Gold Coast’s history and he has every confidence in the creative team that has been developed for an event of such scale and importance.
“The calibre of the people behind the creation and production of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies is remarkable. I am confident the right people are in place and that they will deliver exceptional shows that will make all Queenslanders and Australians proud,” Mr Beattie said.
Queensland talent will sit at the heart of the extended creative team, from artists of local origin who have stepped out onto the world stage to those artists and producers now calling the Gold Coast home.
Taking up the key role of Music Director is Queenslander and one of Australia’s most revered musical talents, five-times ARIA award winner Katie Noonan. Katie’s experience and versatility as singer, musician, songwriter, producer and fierce champion for the arts has seen her collaborate on stage with the likes of the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Queensland Ballet. She has served as the Artistic Director of the Queensland Music Festival since 2015.
Another local talent from Brisbane is Opening Ceremony Head of Choreography and Staging Director, Nathan M. Wright. Nathan is a highly respected choreographer and performer who has worked extensively on large-scale events, including choreography for the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of both the London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Closing Ceremony Head of Choreography and Staging Director, Drew Anthony, grew up on the Gold Coast having built his creative foundations through local eisteddfods and theatre companies before going on to perform in many Australian and international productions including Cats, 42nd Street, and Hot Shoe Shuffle.
Drew now specialises in large scale spectaculars having significant experience as Associate Artistic Director for events such as the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Winter Olympics Vancouver 2010. He also co-produced the Gold Coast 2018 Flag Handover Ceremony at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
GOLDOC CEO, Mark Peters said that the inclusion of Gold Coast and Queensland talent was instrumental in capturing the essence of the people and the places that the Ceremonies will represent.
“We’re delighted to see several Queenslanders included in the mix. Many of these artists have gained their skills through decades of experience working all around the globe and now proudly bring their wealth of knowledge back home.
“The local creative community is set to benefit from this skill sharing as they take on the opportunity to work on a production of such scale,” Mr Peters said.
Leading the Ceremonies team as Artistic Director and Project Director is Head of Jack Morton Worldwide Public Events David Zolkwer.
David is a leading creative director of highly acclaimed public events around the world. He has previously led the teams for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the Manchester 2002, Melbourne 2006 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
“The extended creative team is made up of great creatives from different places and backgrounds. At its heart are many local and home grown talents. It’s a real privilege for me to be working alongside practitioners who are so respected not only here in Australia, but also across the world.
“The Gold Coast Ceremonies will be truly and authentically homemade by a team that know this place, who love it, and who are excited to be sharing its story,” Mr Zolkwer said.
In the role of Executive Producer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies is Merryn Hughes. Merryn has over 25 years of experience working with international world class and public events in live production with previous Executive Producer roles including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2015 Pacific Games, in Papua New Guinea, and the Closing Ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, 2010.
Artistic Directors, choreographers and performers have been sourced from across Australia to take on various creative roles and include Wesley Enoch (Artistic Director, Sydney Festival), Stephen Page (Artistic Director, Bangarra Dance Company, Sydney) and Kyle Page (Artistic Director, Dancenorth, Townsville).
Hailing from Stradbroke Island (Minjeribah) and a proud Noonuccal Nuugi man, is Segment Director for the Opening Ceremony Wesley Enoch.
Wesley is a writer and director for the stage. He was the director of the Indigenous section of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, the Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company from 2010 to 2015 and is the current Artistic Director at the Sydney Festival.
During his career he has written and directed some of Australia’s most iconic Indigenous theatre productions, and directed for all major Australian theatre companies.
Kyle has collaborated with renowned choreographers including Meryl Tankard, Garry Stewart and Lucy Guerin before assuming the role of Artistic Director of Dancenorth in 2014. In 2015 Kyle was awarded the coveted Australian Institute of Management 30 under 30 and was recently awarded a 2017 Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship.
Stephen Page is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh Nation from South East Queensland. Last year he celebrated his 25th year as Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation and widely acclaimed Australian performing arts company.
For the GC2018 Opening Ceremony, Bangarra will work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and Elders from across the Yugambeh Nation through their Rekindling program, culminating in a work which will see them perform together with Bangarra’s professional dance company.
Rekindling’s vision is to inspire pride, kinship and a sense of strength in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through a series of dance residencies with secondary school-aged students.
Participants research and gather stories with guidance from Elders within their communities, developing skills to produce thought provoking performances and community events.
And all eyes will be on the Athletes Parade which plays a significant part of the Opening Ceremony as Australia and the Gold Coast welcomes athletes representing the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
Cairns based Torres Strait Islander visual artist Brian Robinson has been commissioned to create this major scenic element – the Parade Track, an epic piece of art.
For more information on the Opening and Closing ceremonies visit www.gc2018.com/ceremonies
Download key personnel images and full biographies
Artistic Director and Project Director, Opening and Closing Ceremonies Head of Jack Morton Public Events
David is a leading creative director of highly acclaimed public events and ceremonies across the world. His successes include leading the teams for the Manchester 2002, Melbourne 2006 and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. He was the Project Director for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the Creative Director for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the FIFA 2009 Confederations Cup, South Africa and the FIFA 2010 World Cup, South Africa and played a significant role in the Royal Wedding public celebrations in 2011 and London’s New Year’s Eve celebrations from 2007-2016.
Of UK origin, David has been living on the Gold Coast and engaging extensively with community groups over the past 18 months in preparations for the ceremonies.
Executive Producer, Opening and Closing Ceremonies
Merryn has over 25 years experienced as Executive Producer of international world class public events. A leader in her field, Merryn has worked all over the world with some of Australia’s leading Artistic Directors and world class creative industry practitioners, leading the teams on the design and implementation of International Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Cultural Festivals and World Expositions.
Her impressive public event experience as Executive Producer includes The Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2015 Pacific Games, in Papua New Guinea, The Opening Ceremony of the Rugby World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand 2011, The Closing Ceremony and the 2014 Sochi Handover Ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, 2010; The Opening Ceremony of the Rugby World Cup in Sydney, 2003; The Cultural Program of the Australian Pavilion at three World Expositions, as well as producing the Outdoor Event Programme for six Sydney Festivals.
All these major international events were broadcast live to millions of people worldwide. Merryn has a great deal of experience working not only in the production of live events but also working with the broadcast Directors on the live broadcast of live spectacles.
For more than 20 years, Katie Noonan has been one of Australia’s most revered musical talents. A singer, songwriter, musician, producer, mother and fierce champion of the arts, Noonan’s career has seen her win five ARIA Awards and released over a dozen studio albums – achieving seven platinum sales in the process.
A relentless creator with remarkable versatility she has collaborated on stage with the Queensland Ballet, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Sydney Dance Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra amongst many others. Since 2015, Katie had served as the Artistic Director of the Queensland Music Festival, a role that allows her to act as an ambassador for the arts and the home state she is deeply proud of.
Nathan M. Wright
Head of Choreography and Staging Director, Opening Ceremony
Brisbane boy Nathan M. Wright is a highly respected choreographer and performer who has worked extensively in large-scale events, film and television and musical theatre.
Nathan’s experience spans a number of significant events including mass choreography for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of both the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
He has choreographed for television including So You Think You Can Dance Australia and worked as Associate Choreographer on Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. His other Australian credits include Xanadu, Guys & Dolls and The Rocky Horror Show as well as being nominated for Best Choreography in a number of awards.
Head of Choreography and Staging Director, Closing Ceremony
Drew grew up on the Gold Coast attending the local Currumbin State and Palm Beach Currumbin High School and laid down his creative foundations through local eisteddfods and theatre companies.
As a young man, Drew took out World Tap Champion in 1984 and performed with the Queensland Ballet Company, the Australian Youth Ballet Company and in Australian and international productions including Cats, 42nd Street, and Hot Shoe Shuffle.
Drew now specialises in large-scale events having significant links and experience with Olympic and Commonwealth Games as Associate Artistic Director for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the Vancouver 2010, Winter Olympics, the Doha 2006 Asian Games, the Doha 2011 Arab Games and the 2011 Rugby World Cup, New Zealand to name a few.
Drew co-produced the Flag Handover Ceremony at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and has most recently served as Creative Director for the 2017 Kaleidoscope – Perth’s light and illumination festival.
OPENING AND CLOSING CEREMONIES – SEGMENT DIRECTORS, CONTRIBUTORS & PERFOMERS
Segment Director, Opening Ceremony
Wesley is a writer and director for the stage, having directed for all major Australian theatre companies including the Queensland Theatre Company from 2010-2015, and is the current Artistic Director at Sydney Festival.
During his career he has written and directed some of Australia’s most iconic Indigenous theatre productions. The 7 Stages of Grieving which Wesley directed and co-wrote with Deborah Mailman, first produced in 1995, continues to tour both nationally and internationally. In 2000 Wesley directed the landmark production Stolen, written by Jane Harrison, which also toured Australia, London and Tokyo.
With a Matilda and Deadly Award already under his belt, Wesley went on to win Helpmann Awards in 2005 for Best Play for the stage production The Sapphires which he directed, as well as Riverland, that won Best Presentations for Children and his play The Story of the Miracles at Cookie’s Table that won the 2005 Patrick White Playwrights’ Award.
Segment Director, Opening Ceremony
Stephen is a descendant of the Nunukul people and the Munaldjali clan of the Yugambeh Nation from South East Queensland. In 2016, Stephen celebrated his 25th year as Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre, receiving both the 2016 NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement Award and JC Williamson Award.
Bangarra Dance Theatre
Widely acclaimed nationally and around the world for their powerful dancing, distinctive theatrical voice and utterly unique soundscapes, music and design, Bangarra Dance Theatre has forged its way over a 28-year history to become Australia’s leading performing arts companies.
As an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation, Bangarra’s mission is to create inspiring experiences that change society with its repertoire created on Country and stories gathered from respected community Elders.
Segment Director, Opening Ceremony
Beginning his career as a professional dancer at the age of 17 with Dancenorth, Kyle went on to perform in 17 countries and collaborate with renowned choreographers including Meryl Tankard, Garry Stewart and Lucy Guerin before returning to Dancenorth in 2014 to assume the role of Artistic Director of the company.
He has co-directed three full-length works for Dancenorth and recently directed Tectonic, a large outdoor installation work presented as part of the 2017 Strand Ephemera.
In 2015 Kyle was awarded the coveted Australian Institute of Management 30 under 30 and was recently awarded a 2017 Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship.
Visual Artist, Athletes Track Parade, Opening Ceremony
Born on Waiben (Thursday Island) and now Cairns-based, Brian is known for his printmaking, sculpture and public art in which he uses a variety of techniques to produce bold, innovative and distinctive works. His graphic prints and contemporary sculptures read as episodes in an intriguing narrative, revealing the strong tradition of storytelling within his community.
Brian’s work has contributed significantly to the built environment of the country through a number of major public art commissions including his iconic stainless steel woven fish sculptures installed in the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon and more recently Reef Guardian in 2017.
His work is held in major collections including the National Gallery of Australia and the Australian National Maritime Museum and has featured in many exhibitions nationally and internationally.
OPENING AND CLOSING CEREOMONIES BACKGROUND
· On 4 April 2018, the Gold Coast will welcome thousands of fans, athletes and officials for the XXI Commonwealth Games.
· This will be a momentous day for the Gold Coast as the biggest event in its history begins and sets the tone for 11 amazing days of world-class sporting competition. There’ll be spectacular, uplifting and surprising moments of theatre, breathtaking visual effects, dancing and music
· As a showcase of culture, colour, unity and diversity, the Opening Ceremony will epitomise the spirit of the Gold Coast and Queensland.
· Carrara Stadium will be the centre stage for glamour, theatre and entertainment as the venue for the Opening Ceremony.
· The curtain will draw on the XXI Commonwealth Games on 15 April but not before one final celebration in true Gold Coast style.
· Eleven days after a spectacular opening, the Closing Ceremony will deliver a fitting tribute to the remarkable athletic feats, extraordinary teamwork and marvellous community participation on show throughout GC2018.
· Carrara Stadium will host the Closing Ceremony with an emotional, fun and dazzling finale.
· As the ‘baton’ is passed to the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the Gold Coast will say its goodbyes and show the world that it knows a thing or two about throwing a great party.