Talent announced for opening and closing ceremonies22 Nov 2017
A world-class line-up of talent tasked with creating the biggest spectacle in the Gold Coast’s history, was announced on Wednesday when Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) revealed some of the key artistic personnel and companies working on the 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