A Performing Tradition
USQ has a well-established reputation in the Arts, with the Faculty of Arts entertaining the local and wider communities for close to forty years.
Over the years, the names have changed, faces come and gone, and the range and variety of productions extended and diversified.
In the early days of the (then) Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education, the Faculty’s Department of Performance Arts created PERFORMANCE. Under the Artistic Direction of David Addenbrooke, this centre incorporated The Arts Theatre Co; Studio 9; The Acme Sausage Company Children’s Theatre; The Darling Downs Youth Theatre; The Phoenix Singers and the Toowoomba Symphony Orchestra.
The 1970s and 1980s were heady times in Arts; a time when a fledgling music and theatre program developed into one of the most celebrated and highly regarding training institutions in the nation.
In 1987, came another name change; USQ PERFORMANCE CENTRE and with it, a new Director, Greg McCart. Arts continued to grow and evolve, with the Centre presenting brimming seasons of music, theatre and exhibitions showcasing student, community and visiting artists. Who could forget the Toowoomba Concert Orchestra, USQ Sinfonia, USQ Chamber Choir and USQ Big Band; theatre; theatre restaurants; opera; Children’s Theatre Week; and even the odd Greek classic in the Toowoomba Quarry?
2003 saw Kate Foy take over the directorship of the Performance Centre and also heralded the arrival of the Shakespeare in the Park Festival.
In late 2007, a new name came into play; USQ ARTSWORX. Under the leadership of Rebecca Scollen, Artsworx brought with it a wider administrative base, charged with the task of producing the annual visual and performing arts season, plus managing the USQ McGregor Schools; Shakespeare in the Park Festival and USQ Big Band.
Highlights have included the world premiere of Houdini: The Man from Beyond (2010); the 2009 Children’s Festival season of Spirits in Bare Feet, an especially commissioned work celebrating the local Aboriginal stone arrangement site of Gummingurru; and Ergon Energy USQ Big Band performances with Kate Ceberano (2007) and Rhonda Burchmore (2009).
Now, with close to 20 000 people annually attending Artsworx events, the future is looking bright for Arts at USQ.