Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) is set to throw open its doors for the first time in almost six months with a special series of live performance experiences in reimagined theatres and spaces.
QPAC Unlocked will showcase leading Queensland artists on Fridays and Saturdays from 28 August to 3 October 2020 within a varied program for limited audiences in the Lyrebird Restaurant, Concert Hall and Cremorne Theatre.
QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said the Centre was coming alive once again since closing its theatres to audiences in March this year due to COVID-19. “The safety of our patrons, staff and performers has consistently been front of mind throughout and, after months of closure, we are excited to be opening our doors soon for these smaller events that will allow us to step confidently into this new COVID Safe world,” said Mr Kotzas.
“Whilst we won’t be seeing full theatres in the coming months, as we work within social distancing guidelines, the way we are reimagining the use of our theatres and other spaces will ensure unique, safe and entertaining experiences for audiences.
The changed environment that we’re all working within has meant that we’ve had to challenge the way we usually do things and come up with creative and progressive ways of presenting theatre meaning this will be QPAC like you’ve never seen us before, and perhaps never will again.
“In addition to our QPAC Unlocked events, we are very pleased to welcome Australasian Dance Collective’s (ADC) Youth Ensemble premiere Echo on 28 and 29 August in the Cremorne Theatre and Brisbane Festival’s Leviathan by Brisbane’s acclaimed Circa from 3 September 2020 in the Playhouse.
It will be wonderful to feel the buzz between artists and audiences back here at QPAC. Bringing people together to enjoy live performance is central to what we do and we can’t wait to see our stages and theatres animated once again very soon,” said Mr Kotzas.
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the QPAC program was a great way to welcome back audiences, and experience live performance in a COVID Safe way. “It is wonderful to see QPAC highlight Queensland’s incredibly talented local artists and arts organisations and help connect audiences with their work, which will inspire, uplift, and help tell our unique stories,” said Minister Enoch.
“The Palaszczuk Government has supported the arts sector through these challenging times, committing more than $42.5 million to relief measures, which includes the $22.5 million Arts and Cultural Recovery Package as part of our plan for economic recovery. Artists have missed having an audience as much as audiences have missed the experience of live performances and I for one, cannot wait to return to the theatre again.”
QPAC’s first step back into the spotlight will see the Centre’s popular fine dining restaurant the Lyrebird transformed into a live music venue. Audiences will be treated to exclusive live music experiences paired with a special menu created by QPAC Chefs featuring delicious Queensland produce and matched wines.
The opening weekend of QPAC Unlocked in the Lyrebird (28/29 August) will see two of Opera Queensland’s favourite soloists, Katie Stenzel (soprano) and Samuel Piper (baritone) joined by leading Australian classical pianist Alex Raineri in Wonderland – An Evening of Classics – a program of well-known opera, operetta, musical theatre, Lieder and popular classical piano pieces.
On the following weekend (4/5 September), audiences can get “up close but socially distanced” with multi-talented Helpmann Award winning Australian musical theatre star Amy Lehpamer in An Evening with Amy Lehpamer.
QPAC’s Unlocked Concert Hall program will also offer a new perspective for audiences with seating at the rear, not in front of the stage. Opening from 4 September, the program will offer a series of one hour-long performances featuring some of Queensland’s most outstanding soloists and chamber musicians.
The stellar line-up features solo pianist Alex Raineri, Australian rising star violin virtuoso, Courtenay Cleary, Camerata-Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra with acclaimed flamenco guitarist, Andrew Veivers in Viva España, and the next generation of Australian musical theatre stars, Bachelor of Musical Theatre Students from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU) performing a mix of popular musical theatre songs in The Sky’s the Limit.
And for the adventurous, QPAC’s Cremorne Theatre will be the place to be. A little bit crazy, naughty and very entertaining, the Cremorne Theatre program, Club Cremorne, will feature a selection of incredible acts brought together by host, comedian Damien Power on Friday and Saturday nights from 12 September to 3 October. Offering a true cabaret experience, audiences will spend an exclusive evening with some of Queensland’s most exciting and ground-breaking burlesque, dance, circus, comedy and music acts. Beverage and pre-purchased food options will be available.
For more information about QPAC Unlocked, visit: www.qpac.com.au for details.
Image: Phoebe Armstrong – photo by Andy Phillipson