With Christmas just around the corner, Queensland Ballet decided to spread some festive joy across Queensland, gifting 1,000 tickets to their Best of the Nutcracker production.
Nominations ran for 24-hours, with people all over Queensland nominating friends, families, colleagues, frontline workers, and those adversely affected by COVID-19.
Those who were nominated included doctors, nurses, teachers, emergency service workers, defence and families separated by border closures.
For Tweed Heads local, Sarah Calder, the gifted tickets came as a heartfelt surprise, after losing 90 per cent of her eyesight, and consequently her job as a healthcare worker.
“I went blind during COVID. As my eyesight deteriorated, I had to stop working,” said Ms Calder.
“My biggest challenge was not having a job and trying to find $6000 to pay for eye surgery,” she added.
Ms Calder intended to enter her daughter, who had been there for her during her long recovery. It wasn’t until after submitting her application that she realised she had accidentally nominated herself.
“My amazing daughter supported me through this extremely scary time,” said Ms Calder.
“She had to put up with me crying every day, thinking that I would never see again. I am very excited to share this experience with her,” she added.
With 90 per cent of her eyesight restored, Ms Calder was elated to see the Queensland Ballet.
“For me, looking at flowers or the ballet is a real privilege. To be able to see the beauty.”
The Best of the Nutcracker was made possible thanks to a partnership with Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), and was a condensed version of The Nutcracker, largely due to budget and time constraints.
Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO says the Company is incredibly humbled to have the opportunity to perform live and thankful Queensland theatres are back at full capacity.
“It has been an incredibly difficult year, but we have so much to be grateful for. This ticket giveaway was our way of giving back to our community,” said Mr Li.
“Ballet has a special way of connecting people, we hope this performance allowed families and friends to share in the magic of this festive season and enjoy a live performance, something we have all missed sharing with you, as a result of COVID restrictions,” Mr Li added.
After what has been a challenging 2020, the Company was excited to be back on stage with this beloved Christmas story, sharing some festive cheer to those who need it most.
“This year marks the eighth year, in what has become an annual tradition for ballet lovers in Queensland, and the dancers are so excited. You can see it in their faces which light up as the familiar strains of Tchaikovsky music fills the air,” Mr Li said.
The show featured highlights from Ben Stevenson OBE’s production including the much-loved Snow scene and Snow pas de deux from Act 1, and crowd favourites from the Land of the Sweets including the Arabian and Russian dances and the famous Sugar Plum Fairy Pas de Deux.
Tickets were snapped up so quickly an extra show was scheduled for 4pm Friday afternoon.