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2007 Media Release - Digital technology takes ballet to regional Australia

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Issued Monday, 24 September 2007 

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY TO TAKE BALLET TO REGIONAL AUSTRALIA

Senator the Hon Helen Coonan, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts today announced the formation of a groundbreaking partnership between the Australian Film Commission (AFC) and The Australian Ballet that will take a live performance of The Nutcracker to audiences in eight regional centres around Australia.

Venues in Port Augusta, Yarram, Hervey Bay, Devonport, Katherine, Wagga Wagga, Singleton and Albany that are part of the AFC’s Regional Digital Screen Network (RDSN) will experience live via satellite a performance of The Nutcracker as it is performed in the Sydney Opera House. The performance will also be screened live to audiences in the Opera House forecourt.

“This is the first time in Australia that digital cinema technology has been used to give regional audiences the opportunity to experience a live performance by one of Australia’s flagship arts companies on the big screen at the same time as an audience in a metropolitan area,” Senator Coonan said. “This unique partnership between the AFC, The Australian Ballet and the Sydney Opera House represents an important step in making live performance more accessible to all Australians and shows how digital technology can transform our life experiences.”

The free public screenings of The Nutcracker on 7 December 2007 will allow audiences to see the Australian premiere of Peter Wright’s massive, opulent production of one of the world’s most popular ballets complete with Tchaikovsky’s famous score. Audiences will also get an exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ view of The Australian Ballet through cameras positioned in the rehearsal and warm up areas.

The AFC’s RDSN was launched in December 2006 and utilises developments in digital cinema technology to provide regional audiences with diverse Australian programs not often available in regional areas. Material screened on the RDSN includes short films, children’s films, Indigenous films, documentaries and films from the National Film & Sound Archive, as well as newly released Australian feature films that screen at the same time as in the major capital cities.

The RDSN transmission of The Nutcracker is part of The Australian Ballet’s 2007 season of the epic ballet that tours to Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney.

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