David McAllister receives RAD award

David McAllister receives RAD award

During The Friends farewell event to David McAllister on Wednesday 28 April, David was surprised when the event took a turn and became “David McAllister: This Is Your Life”.

Celebrating David McAllister AM was a joyous occasion including many special moments. The day of tribute culminated in the Royal Academy of Dance bestowing the internationally coveted Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award upon David McAllister AM in a touching ceremony.

“David McAllister: This Is Your Life” was hosted by Elizabeth Toohey, current Ballet Mistress of The Australian Ballet and long-term dance partner and close personal friend of David’s. Elizabeth delighted David with a line-up of guests either in person or by video who recounted charming and cheeky stories from David’s extraordinary career.

They included Don McAllister (David’s father) and Dianne Morris (David’s sister); Darren Spowart (an ex-dancer of The Australian Ballet and childhood friend of David); Maina Gielgud AO (former Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet and Ballet Director); Ian McRae AO and Richard Evans (past General Managers of The Australian Ballet); Graeme Murphy AO and Janet Vernon AM (internationally renowned Australian dance choreographers); and Wesley Enoch AM (David’s partner and outgoing Director of the Sydney Festival); followed by a message of Farewell from the Company (The Australian Ballet at Sydney Opera House).

The biggest surprise of the event was the presentation to David of the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, recognised internationally as one of the most sought-after in the world of dance and the highest honour from the Royal Academy of Dance. Bestowed in recognition of David’s dedication to The Australian Ballet for 40 years and for his wider contributions to the world of ballet including the Royal Academy of Dance where, in 2005, he was elected Vice President. Past recipients of the Award have included Sir Frederick Ashton, Dame Marie Rambert DBE, Rudolf Nureyev, Dame Gillian Lynne DBE, Sir Peter Wright CBE, Sir Matthew Bourne OBE, Maina Gielgud AO and Carlos Acosta CBE.

The Award was presented by Dame Darcey Bussell DBE and Audrey Nicholls OAM FRAD on behalf of the Royal Academy of Dance. Watch Dame Darcy announce David as the recipient of the award below. Bussell is widely acclaimed as one of the great British ballerinas, having been a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet and guest artist with many leading companies around the world including The Australian Ballet. She retired from ballet in 2007, is a former judge of BBC TV dance contest Strictly Come Dancing and President of the Royal Academy of Dance. Dame Darcey said “I am absolutely thrilled that David is receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Award, the highest honour the Royal Academy of Dance can bestow, given in recognition of outstanding service to the art of dance.”

This joyous celebration of David also raised over $150,000 for the McAllister Fund, ensuring David’s legacy of generosity will continue well into the future.

David spoke with ABC Radio National’s Fran Kelly about the award and what it means to him. Listen here.


2021 Season Launch Event

2021 Season Launch Event


To thank you for your incredible FAB support this year, we’re pleased to invite you to attend an exclusive live online event, as we celebrate the start of an exciting new era for ballet in Australia.

Be one of the first to hear about David Hallberg’s dazzling first season as Artistic Director. Join David is Executive Director Libby Christie and outgoing Artistic Director David McAllister with some very special guests for an in-depth briefing on The Australian Ballet’s 2021 Season.


6pm Tuesday 1 December


RSVP by Thursday 26 November

Last Name:

Email address:


Event access details will be provided closer to the event.

A Virtual Evening with David McAllister

A Virtual Evening with David McAllister



In recognition of your ongoing support of The Friends of The Australian Ballet we invite you and your household to join us for a very special virtual evening celebrating The Australian Ballet’s Don Quixote choreographed by Rudolph Nureyev.

In an online event curated especially for our philanthropic community, you will be treated to a live in-conversation between The Australian Ballet’s Artistic Director David McAllister and Marilyn Rowe who performed the roles of the Street Dancer and the Queen of the Dryads in the 1973 film also starring Rudolph Nureyev and Robert Helpmann.

You will then be invited to view a screening of Don Quixote via The Australian Ballet’s Ballet TV.


Thursday 17 September
7pm Discussion and Q&A


David McAllister in conversation with Marilyn Rowe, introduced by Kenneth Watkins, Philanthropy Director


7.45pm Don Quixote
RSVP by Tuesday 15 September


Last Name:

Email address:

Event access details will be provided following RSVP.

Conversations with David McAllister

David McAllister with a portrait of his mother, Olive. Photo Jake Terry, stylist Pip Moroney, courtesy Vogue Australia

Beyond the Ballet

David McAllister was interviewed on ABC Radio’s Evenings program by Christine Anu, just a couple of weeks after The Ballet, and the rest of Australia, went into lockdown. Alongside some sneaky hints at what The Australian Ballet might have in store once they return to our stages, David details how Company members are keeping fit at home and how much he is currently enjoying dancing in his lounge room.

David reflects on the impact of dance on his life, his legacy and his plans for life after The Australian Ballet. He even reveals to Christine his favourite dance move.

Listen to the conversation below.





Want more of David? Listen to his conversation with the ABC’s Richard Fidler here.

Ballet TV – A very special season with a difference

Ballet TV – A very special season with a difference

We are delighted to share the very exciting news that The Australian Ballet has launched Ballet TV’. We encourage you all to bask in the superb free digital season that will beam premium-quality productions right to your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Ballet is powerful magic. It can draw you out of your lounge room and into forests, castles and starry skies. Escape the everyday and feel the freedom and exhilaration of unbridled leaps and lifts.

The Sleeping Beauty by The Australian Ballet is available to watch until 5pm Friday 17 April. Each ballet will be available free of charge for two weeks*. Click here to begin watching.

Free cinema-quality digital season brings full-length performances to Australians at home:

The Sleeping Beauty (David McAllister)
Sun 5 April – Fri 17 April

Cinderella (Alexei Ratmansky)
Fri 17 April – Fri 1 May

Romeo & Juliet (Graeme Murphy)
Fri 1 May – Fri 15 May

With many more to be announced …

David McAllister’s The Sleeping Beauty is a reawakened classic that will sweep you off your feet, from the hand-sewn, Swarovski-embroidered tutus, to the grandiose ballrooms and forests skittering with fairies and princesses, that seem to float in fast-paced intricate movements.


Artists of The Australian Ballet, photography Daniel Boud


In 2017 the Friends of the Australian Ballet NSW were appointed the official custodians of The Lilac Fairy character. This appointment came about thanks to your generous ongoing support of our organisation – through donations, fundraising and your pure love of ballet. We are delighted that our valued members can now share in some ‘Lilac Fairy magic’ in their own homes with Ballet TV’.


Amber Scott as the Lilac Fairy, photography Justin Ridley


Watch your lounge room melt away as magical forests, royal castles and country villages construct themselves around you. Jeté alongside forest nymphs and cheeky fairies as they protect you from evil spirits and wicked step-parents. And the best part is, there’s no need to rush home at midnight!

Click here to begin watching.


*International copyright restrictions mean we offer free access to the 2020 Digital Season within Australia.