Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was to be one of the hits of the year but tomorrow night’s opening show is off.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was to be one of the hits of the year but tomorrow night’s opening show is off.

Arts carnage as virus forces QPAC closed for six weeks

ON the eve of the planned opening of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory QPAC has announced it will close down for more than a month.

The family musical was due to open Wednesday night but is now another victim of Coronavirus.

QPAC chief executive John Kotzas said that following the meeting of the National Cabinet and the Prime Minister's direction on Sunday, QPAC's theatres (the Lyric, Playhouse, Cremorne and the Concert Hall) will be closed until Thursday, April 30 2020.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has fallen victim to coronavirus with QPAC to close until April 30. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has fallen victim to coronavirus with QPAC to close until April 30. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

"The decision to cancel performances and projects is necessary and disappointing, however the health and wellbeing of the community is the Centre's number one priority," Mr Kotzas said.

"Our audiences and artists have been front of mind since the start of this international crisis and we have consistently acted cautiously and responsibly to unfolding advice.

"We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this will cause to our patrons.

"All performances and events at QPAC from Tuesday, March 17 to Thursday, April 30 2020 will be cancelled. All patrons impacted by these cancellations will be contacted by QPAC and will be offered the opportunity to receive a full refund. Beyond this period, QPAC is continuing to review the Centre's program in collaboration with companies, artists and producers. As the situation evolves and new information is made available we will provide updates."

QPAC will continue to work with the Queensland Government and Queensland Health and will follow their directives and health advice.

While theatres will close the facility will remain open and staff will still be able to come to work. The cancellations include: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (18 March - 19 April)

Queensland Ballet 60th Anniversary Gala (20 - 28 March) Spinifex Gum, Penn & Teller (7-11 April), The Wiggles - Fun and Games Tour! (16-17 April) and many others.

QPAC chief executive John Kotzas. PICTURE: MARC McCORMACK
QPAC chief executive John Kotzas. PICTURE: MARC McCORMACK

Many other arts events have been impacted. Curiocity Brisbane 2020, due to run from March 20 to April 5, is also cancelled.

Curiocity Brisbane partner events World Science Festival, Brisbane, and Water Up Late at QAGOMA have also cancelled their 2020 programs. A

decision on WOW (Women of the World) Australia 2020 is pending.

QODE Brisbane will continue as an entirely virtual event - QODE Brisbane Virtual.

Queensland Theatre has also pulled its latest production, Triple X.

Meanwhile Queensland Symphony Orchestra has announced that it is cancelling all performances and activities for the next five weeks. QSO chief executive Craig Whitehead said all ticket holders will be contacted with further information, including the opportunity to donate the value of the tickets they have bought.

QSO’s Craig Whitehead
QSO’s Craig Whitehead

"As a performance industry we rely heavily on ticket sales and the prospect of cancelling multiple shows will affect everyone significantly," Mr Whitehead said. "It is not just musicians but crew, lighting and sound technicians, producers, box office staff, casual workers and more. We appreciate your generosity and support at this time."

Opera Queensland has cancelled the upcoming season of the opera Lorelei which was to open at the Conservatorium Theatre, South Bank on March 27. Opera Queensland also announced cancellations of other programs in the near future. As with the QSO the opera will offer refunds but hopes patrons may donate the ticket price to the company.

Interstate some major galleries have closed but the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra remains open and QAGOMA is continuing to operate at this stage while the Institute of Modern Art in Fortitude Valley has announced it will be closed until further notice.

Executive director of the national Association for the Visual Arts, Esther Anatolitis said urgent stimulus will be required to make sure that Australia's cultural industries survive COVID-19 to inspire a healing nation according to executive director of the national Association for the Visual Arts, Esther Anatolitis.

"As arts and cultural events across Australia announce their cancellations, affecting thousands of artists and millions of audiences, it's vitally important that we take care of ourselves and one another," Ms Anatolitis said.

Esther Anatolitis, executive director of the National Association of Visual Arts. Picture: John Appleyard
Esther Anatolitis, executive director of the National Association of Visual Arts. Picture: John Appleyard

"And as we do so, let's not lose sight of what it takes for artists and arts organisations to create the experiences that inspire us," said Esther Anatolitis, Executive Director of NAVA.

""Every cancellation you're hearing about has a tail that's thousands and thousands of working-hours long. NAVA expects the total impacts on the $111.7bn creative industries to exceed $100m.

"At this devastating time for our health, our communities and our culture, we need to ensure that Australia's cultural industries survive and thrive, ready to inspire a healing nation."



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