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Queensland artists centre stage at Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch has congratulated the amazing Queensland artists and creatives who shared their unique talents to an international audience as part of the spectacular Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

“It’s fantastic to see the arts take its place alongside sport as a major drawcard for visitors as we celebrate the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Minister Enoch said. 

“The opening ceremony allowed the world to get a glimpse of Queensland’s natural beauty including the Great Barrier Reef, the Torres Strait and our beautiful beaches and rainforests.

“Australia’s First Nations cultures were in the spotlight with performances from Queensland’s William Barton, who is recognised as one of the finest traditional didgeridoo players, rapper Mau Power from Thursday Island, Christine Anu, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander modern dance company Bangarra Dance Theatre with its strong representation of Queensland dancers,” she said.

“The inspiring opening ceremony also showcased top Queensland talent with performances from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Youth Orchestra, Brisbane-based Voices of Birralee choir, Bobby Alu, and singers Ricki-Lee Coulter, Emma Dean and Katie Noonan, who served as music director for both the opening and closing ceremony.” 

Minister Enoch said the work of Queensland visual artists added an additional wow factor to the Commonwealth Games.

“Cairns-based Brian Robinson designed the stunning athletes’ parade track, while Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, from North Stradbroke Island, designed artwork featured on Migaloo the whale during the ceremony and also was commissioned to design the gold, silver and bronze medals for the Games,” she said.

“Staging an event of this scale has provided our local creative community with not only the chance to tell and celebrate our local stories but also has provided the wonderful opportunity to share skills and develop their practice,” Ms Enoch said.

“The Commonwealth Games opening also kicks off Festival 2018, the 12-day arts and cultural festival happening on the Gold Coast, Cairns, Townsville and Brisbane.

“Festival 2018 features more than 3500 performers participating in more than 500 events.

“There is a mix of local, national and international artists that extends the Games experience for locals and visitors beyond the sporting arena,” Ms Enoch said.

“Festival 2018 will leave a lasting legacy for the Queensland arts and cultural sector in a program spanning theatre, music, visual arts, street performance, music, dance, circus, film and more.”

Highlights include the world premiere of Rite from Brisbane-based Circa; Songs and Stories of Henry ‘Seaman’ Dan hosted by Jimi Bani; Intertwined celebrating art, fashion, movement and song featuring 11 collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art; and Welcome to Sameville, an immersive theatre experience from Queensland’s Shock Therapy Productions.

“Audiences will see the new work Surge from the award-winning Dancenorth, and an exciting program of events from Bleach Festival, which is presented on the Gold Coast this year as part of Festival 2018,” Ms Enoch said.

“I encourage Queenslanders to embrace the celebrations, engage in Festival 2018 and support our local and visiting artists,” Minister Enoch said.

For more information on Festival 2018, visit