Kar­nak own­ers left shaken but not de­terred

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

DRAMA stu­dents will now have ac­cess to the Kar­nak Theatre thanks to James Bond’s son Ja­son Con­nery and his sis­ter Gio­vanna Volpe.

Af­ter the death of their mother Diane Ci­lento, who died on Oc­to­ber 6, the brother and sis­ter team ap­proached the State Gov­ern­ment to see if they could gift the theatre to the peo­ple of Queens­land which they said was their mother’s wish.

Af­ter sev­eral months of ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Ms Volpe and her lawyer and the State Gov­ern­ment’s lawyers, the Gov­ern­ment has cho­sen not to ac­cept the gift with one of the rea­sons be­ing the costs in­volved in the up­keep of the theatre.

“Nat­u­rally we are dis­ap­pointed, but the Gov­ern­ment peo­ple warmed to the idea and were thrilled at the of­fer of such a gift but said it re­ally just came down to dol­lars and be­cause of the present eco­nomic cli­mate said they could not take it on,” Ms Volpe said.

Shaken but not

de­terred, Mr Con­nery and Ms Volpe are in the process of start­ing a foun­da­tion which will be called the Diane Ci­lento Foun­da­tion which will be re­spon­si­ble for pro­vid­ing an av­enue and the venue, the Kar­nak Theatre, for as­pir­ing drama stu­dents to study and re­hearse in “a re­al­world en­vi­ron­ment”.

“I have al­ready held ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Queens­land Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy and the Cen­tral Queens­land Univer­sity and NIDA (Na­tional In­sti­tute of Dra­matic Art - Australia’s most recog­nised train­ing ground for per­form­ers) for their per­form­ing arts stu­dents to have ac­cess to the theatre for their re­hearsals and to stage their pro­duc­tions be­fore the public,” Ms Volpe said.

“This will give them re­al­world train­ing and should go a long way in help­ing fu­ture gen­er­a­tions of per­form­ers with their ca­reers.

“But this is all only at the ne­go­ti­a­tion stage and there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of things to sign-off on be­fore it can be­come a re­al­ity but so far the re­sponse has been very pos­i­tive.

“We want to make this the Tanglewood of Queens­land and the other thing is that we want to do is to keep prices as low as pos­si­ble and we hop­ing we can run it so that fam­i­lies can come in and only have to pay $20.”

Tanglewood is an es­tate and mu­sic venue in Lenox and Stock­bridge, Mas­sachusetts. It is the home of the an­nual sum­mer Tanglewood Mu­sic Fes­ti­val and the Tanglewood Jazz Fes­ti­val. In ad­di­tion to host­ing world-renowned pro­grams of clas­si­cal, jazz, and pop­u­lar mu­sic, it also pro­vides mu­si­cal train­ing for pre-pro­fes­sional mu­si­cians and drama stu­dents.

A me­mo­rial ser­vice for Lady Ci­lento is also planned for next month with a free pic­nic day at the Kar­nak Theatre.

“We are also busy plan­ning a me­mo­rial ser­vice for mum and we thought it would be lovely if peo­ple would like to come along and just en­joy a pic­nic day re­mem­ber­ing Diane and watch­ing a com­pi­la­tion of per­for­mances that Diane had starred in through­out her ex­ten­sive ca­reer,” Ms Volpe said.

The date of the me­mo­rial day is yet to be an­nounced.

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