David McAllister honoured
It seems the ballet world cannot bear to let David McAllister retire quietly behind the wings. On April 28, the now former artistic director of The Australian Ballet was the guest of honour at a gala luncheon in Sydney, attended by hundreds of ballet lovers. Called “Celebrating David McAllister”, the event included a "This is Your Life" segment, hosted by his great friend and colleague Elizabeth Toohey and featuring surprise guests, including his father Don and sister Dianne; Wesley Enoch AM (David’s partner and outgoing director of the Sydney Festival); Graeme Murphy AO and Janet Vernon AM; Maina Gielgud AO; past general managers of TAB Ian McRae AO and Richard Evans; and Darren Spowart (an ex-TAB dancer and childhood friend).
In addition, McAllister was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, the highest honour awarded by the Royal Academy of Dance. In receiving the award McAllister joins a glittering pantheon of ballet stars, including Sir Frederick Ashton, Dame Marie Rambert DBE, Rudolf Nureyev, Dame Gillian Lynne DBE, Sir Peter Wright CBE, Sir Matthew Bourne OBE, Maina Gielgud AO and Carlos Acosta CBE. The award was presented by with a video message from the UK from the RAD president, Dame Darcey Bussell DBE.
The lunch was organised by the Friends of The Australian Ballet (NSW) to support the David McAllister Fund. McAllister personally donated to the company for many years; this gave him the freedom to invest in the people around him and make special projects possible. The vision is that the David McAllister Fund will give future artistic directors of The Australian Ballet the same opportunities. The lunch raised $150,000.
Friends of the Australian Ballet (NSW) is a not-for-profit organisation has been connecting members and inspiring ballet audiences for almost 50 years with a goal to make ballet accessible, inviting and inclusive.
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