Karnak owners left shaken but not deterred
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.