Queensland Ballet Returns to the New Thomas Dixon Centre

Queensland Ballet has returned home to the heritage-listed Thomas Dixon Centre in West End. The building has just completed a multi-million-dollar renovation which commenced in August 2019.



Queensland Ballet returned to its home for the past three decades in July 2022, celebrating the opening of the brand-new Talbot Theatre with its season opener, “Bespoke.”

Talbot Theatre
Talbot Theatre | Photo Credit: Thomas Dixon Centre / thomasdixoncentre.com.au

The new theatre is part of the $100-million redevelopment of the Thomas Dixon Centre.

Aside from the new, 350-seat Talbot Theatre, the 110-year-old building now boasts six dance studios, a costume workroom, a wellness centre, a gym, and stunning public art.

 Kite Terrace
Kite Terrace |  Photo Credit: Thomas_Dixon_Centre / thomasdixoncentre.com.au

It also features Kite Terrace, a rooftop bar that offers amazing city views and a central promenade.

“The redevelopment of this historic building is a truly transformational moment for the arts in Brisbane. More than an incredible home for Queensland Ballet, the new Thomas Dixon Centre – as a centre for culture and community – will impact the Brisbane artistic landscape for years to come.” –  Queensland Ballet’s fifth Artistic Director, Li Cunxin AO

About Thomas Dixon

Thomas Coar Dixon
Thomas Coar Dixon| Photo Credit: Thomas_Dixon_Centre / thomasdixoncentre.com.au

Thomas Coar Dixon was a leather tanner who arrived in Australia in 1866 from Yorkshire, England. He then moved to Queensland in 1869 from New South Wales and established a small tannery in Hill End (now known as West End) in 1873. He also went on to purchase the land on which his tannery sits.

Thomas Dixon Centre with plaque that reads “Established 1873” | Photo Credit: Thomas Dixon Centre
Thomas Dixon Centre with plaque that reads “Established 1873” | Photo Credit: Thomas_Dixon_Centre / thomasdixoncentre.com.au

In 1906, Dixon purchased the land bounded by Montague Road, Raven Street and Drake Street to establish a new factory. He commissioned architect Richard Gailey to design the two-storey red brick building.

The factory is now known as the Thomas Dixon Centre. It opened on 11 April 1908. Dixon died a year later.



Upon Dixon’s death, his sons took over and continued the business which was later registered as Thomas C. Dixon & Sons Limited. In 1973, the business moved to Wacol where it faced tough competition from cheaper vinyl imports and then closed down after seven years. 

Thomas_Dixon_Centre
Photo Credit: Thomas_Dixon_Centre / thomasdixoncentre.com.au

The Queensland Government acquired the centre in 1975 and converted it into a storage facility. The building then underwent refurbishing in 1991 to serve as the home of Queensland Ballet, Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra and the Queensland Dance School of Excellence.

The Thomas Dixon Centre entered the Heritage Register in 1998.

Dance And Sing With Queensland Ballet, Humphrey B Bear In New Series Of Free Videos For Kids

Dancers from Queensland Ballet in West End will have special appearances in the Humphrey B. Bear’s series of free educational videos and resources created by Monash University’s AllPlay team.


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Queensland Ballet is among AllPlay’s ambassadors who will be featured in the series, along with AllPlay Dancers and AFL Disability League.

This series, which stars the iconic Humphrey B. Bear was launched with an aim to help educators and parents support children of all ages and abilities to regulate their emotions through movement and better settle back into school life.

It includes a music and dance collaboration of original songs and music videos for children with disabilities to be released in AllPlay and AllPlay Learn.

The series kicks off with three songs and videos: ‘Angry Pixie Stomp’, ‘Shake My Blues Away’ and ‘So Calm’ feature original music compositions by Corinne Gibbons, lyrics by Julie Greene, production by FIKA Entertainment.

Professor Nicole Rinehart, Director of Research at Monash University’s Krongold Clinic and founder of the AllPlay program, highlights how research shows that emotion regulation through movement and labelling is a simple but effective way of helping kids build resilience and coping skills.

According to Monash University, 1 in 6 children in Australia experiences developmental challenges or disabilities which can impact how they participate in school. 

humphrey b bear free printable
Printable movement card (Photo credit: AllPlay)

“Humphrey B. Bear has always been a leader when it comes to inclusion. He loves exploring, creating, playing, learning and giving anything a go. Humphrey was the perfect choice to be the face of music videos that can help children understand their emotions and recognise them in themselves and others,” says Professor Rinehart.

AllPlay Learn takes a strengths-based approach to disability and turns this into tools and strategies that everyone can access. 

“Ten years ago, we set out to change the status quo for children with disabilities. Thanks to our great partnerships and research funding partners, we have made significant progress towards our goal to make the world fit for all kids,” says Professor Rinehart. 

The resources, which include movement cards aside from videos, can be viewed at https://allplay.org.au/humphrey-b-bear/

Queensland Ballet Launches Program For People With Brain Injury

Did you know that ballet can have therapeutic effects to help improve the quality of life of people with brain injury? This is the highlight of Queensland Ballet’s new program, Ballet for Brain Injury. 


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Currently being held at Queensland Ballet Studios in West End every Saturday morning, Ballet for Brain Injury is a 10-week program tailored for people living with a brain injury to help re-inhabit their bodies and cope with emotional, cognitive and physical impairments brought by the injury. 

The program uses ballet-based movement, music and artistry to enable participants to experience the enjoyment, creative expression and wellbeing benefits dance can bring. As with the format of a standard ballet class, participants will start at the barre with smaller movements before learning sequences, choreography and partnering work.

Program Details

Photo credit: Queensland Ballet

Classes are held weekly on a Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. It costs $25, inclusive of bringing a support worker or family member, and informal morning tea following the class.

The carer/support worker/family member is required to also participate in the class alongside the participant. This creates an equal space where everyone in the class is learning and engaging at their own level to form a sense of community for all involved.

Why Get Involved? 

“We know exercise is healthy for our brains, and for people with brain injuries the opportunity to engage in physical activity is limited, but it could really improve their rehabilitation outcomes,”  said Griffith University program director and research co-lead Professor Elizabeth Kendall.

Participants are encouraged to complete a Participant Information Form before attending the first class so Queensland Ballet will be able to provide them with the most enjoyable and safe dance experience, and also understand their goals and motivations in attending the class.

This program is delivered by Queensland Ballet in partnership with Hopkins Centre, Griffith University, Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre and Citrine Sun Entertainment.

Here’s Where You Can Join A Senior Ballet Class in West End

What’s keeping older Brisbane women fit and active these days? In West End, it’s attending a senior ballet class at the Queensland Ballet studio! 



Since the Queensland Ballet opened the program for older women in 2017, the senior ballet classes have been receiving more students who have been reaping the rewards of dancing. They are physically improving their posture, control of bodily functions and agility. 

The senior ballet classes are conducted for eight weeks at the Beesley Street studio, whilst there is also a two-day training course for the teachers, who are then sent to the Gold Coast, Cairns, Mackay and Hervey Bay to train more senior women.

Photo Credit: Queensland Ballet/Facebook

According to Genevieve Dunn, the organisation’s head of community engagement, ageing women are taught ballet techniques to enjoy and to connect with their peers.

The focus isn’t on executing a perfect routine but on physical fitness and enjoyment. The sessions are purposely repetitive so that the women could re-invigorate muscles they have stopped using, which makes them more active and energetic. 

A study from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) underscored the many benefits of attending a senior ballet class. 

“Some of the participants reported that they found the classes positively euphoric and transformational in the pleasure they felt at being part of such weekly social engagement,” Professor Gene Moyle of the QUT’s Creative Industries Faculty said. “The physical benefits of movement and dance on ageing bodies is well documented and our project really re-enforces these findings, however additionally highlights the joy and benefits social connections in dance can bring to people’s lives.”



To learn more about Ballet for Seniors, as well as Jazz for Seniors and Dance for Parkinson’s contact community@queenslandballet.com.au or sign up for the classes online. 

Redevelopment Plans for Queensland Ballet’s Thomas Dixon Centre Released

Plans  for the redevelopment of Queensland Ballet’s  Thomas Dixon Centre  at 406 Montague Road, West End have been released and are already available to the public.

Photo credit: Conrad Gargett

Queensland Ballet has been one of the major contributors to Queensland’s arts and cultural offering. However, growth is restricted in the current centre due to the size limitations and the quality of existing facilities. To reach its goal of becoming a leader on the world stage, one of the institution’s strategies is to redevelop the Thomas Dixon Centre to be a state-of-the-art ballet centre.

Conrad Gargett  was the appointed architect for the redevelopment project. The proposed designs were already submitted for approval and are now available for public viewing.

Pedestrian view from Drake Street towards Montague Road (East Approach) Photo credit: Conrad Gargett

 

3D View of Drake St Photo credit: Photo credit: Conrad Gargett

 

Studio 04 with Integrated Service Beams Photo credit: Conrad Gargett

The proposed designs intend to enhance the efficiency of their Wardrobe and Production teams, attract more talent, and provide new performance spaces.

The plans also include the rectification of the heritage-listed building.

Heritage Rectification plan for South and West Elevation Photo credit: Conrad Gargett

 

Pedestrian view from Raven Street towards Montague Road (East Approach) Photo credit: Conrad Gargett

To see more details of the design, feel free to view the proposed designs and landscape designs. A video fly-through display of the proposed plans can be accessed in the foyer of the Thomas Dixon Centre. Simply visit their reception during business hours.