Our History

60 Years of Ballet

#The Beginning


Queensland Ballet was established in 1960 by Charles Lisner OBE. Charles trained with Edouard Borovansky and danced with his ballet company before going to London to continue dance studies with the Sadler's Wells Ballet School. He later joined The Royal Ballet , Covent Garden. In 1953 Charles returned to Australia to open the Lisner Ballet Academy, and in 1960, the Lisner Ballet Company. The Company was re-named Queensland Ballet in 1962 and became one of the first ballet ensembles in Australia to tour regionally, a commitment that continues today.

Charles Lisner OBE

Charles Lisner OBE

#Harry Haythorne


In 1974, Charles stepped down as Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer, and was replaced by Harry Haythorne.

#Harold Collins


Following Harry's departure in 1978, founding Company member and Principal Dancer, Harold Collins, was appointed as Artistic Director. Harold Collins led the Company until his retirement in 1997, maintaining Charles Lisner's commitment to the creation of uniquely Australian dance, and to forging a strong and independent company. 

#François Klaus


François Klaus was appointed Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer of Queensland Ballet in 1998. During his tenure, he established training programs which are now an integral part of the Company’s operations, providing pathways for talented young people who are committed to a career in dance. Over fifteen years, François Klaus contributed many new works to the Company’s repertoire, from new productions of classic ballets to works designed especially to appeal to families. 

François Klaus

François Klaus

#Li Cunxin AO


In 2012, Li Cunxin AO, an acclaimed former dancer and author of the best-selling autobiography, Mao’s Last Dancer, was appointed as Queensland Ballet’s Artistic Director, commencing with Season 2013. 

Li Cunxin AO

Li Cunxin AO


In its rich 60-year history, Queensland Ballet has continued to prosper and grow.The Company now enjoys international acclaim and holds a firm place in the Australian cultural landscape.