The Fabulous Fifties
BRISBANE: In its 51st year, the Queen’s Ball Awards will celebrate with a fitting theme – ‘The Fabulous Fifties’. By Michelle Cochrane.
This year marks the 51st anniversary of the Queen’s Birthday Ball Awards and to help celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the occasion is set to be a stylish retro affair.
Themed as the ‘Fabulous Fifties’, the night will be celebrated at the recently renovated Tivoli – one of Brisbane’s most elegant and unique venues. Brisbane Pride Festival President Deeje Hancock tells Queensland Pride this year is not to be missed.
“This year will follow the successful formula introduced last year with a more glamorous sit down-feel to the awards whilst maintaining its inclusiveness to the whole community. Brisbane Pride Festival will be taking what it learned last year and producing something bigger and better than before.”
From its beginnings at Mt Tambourine in 1961, the Queen’s Ball has had a somewhat tumultuous history. It has moved venues many times, struggled financially, and even faced dwindling numbers over the years. But the Ball always revives.
“I think there are two factors here,” says Hancock. “One is that this event has maintained throughout its entire history an attitude of inclusiveness to all, where no matter which one of the letters that define our community you belong to, you are welcome. The second thing is that Queen’s Ball has not been scared to change its format over the years to adapt to trends and community responsiveness.”
Throughout the years, this has included a shift away from the awards ceremony, but when Brisbane Pride Festival took over the organisation of the Queen’s Ball in 2009, they brought it back.
“It’s our community that really controls the event,” Hancock says. “I love this. There is no better truth than where the community puts in their voice and opinion, and from the nomination all the way through to the final winner, it’s our community who make the decisions.”
Last year’s winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Neil McLucas, says that the Queen’s Ball is always an important event on the community’s social calendar.
“The Queen’s Ball is a special event for all the community, and is a special event every year. I have only ever missed a few of the early balls but have absolutely supported it since then. I even starred in the Queen’s Ball during the year it was held at Nundah Hall [1970s]. I performed the number ‘Take Off Your Clothes’. In those days I was a bronze young spunk, but now the bronze has worn off due to indoor activities.”
McLucas achieved his award last year for his 35 years of service in the community and he will be back at the ball again this year.
“I’m certainly looking forward to this year’s occasion,” McLucas says. “I wouldn’t miss it.”
[Pictured] Local LGBTI figures Craig Worland, Sally Morris, Megan Alisha and Evan Vallance get into the ‘Fabulous Fifties’, the theme of this year’s Queen’s Ball Awards. Photo: STFU Media; Make-up: Jen Spiers: Lighting: Deni Keeshan; Location: Sean Young Studios, East Brisbane.
The 51st Annual Queen’s Ball Awards, presented by the Brisbane Pride Festival, is on Sunday, June 10, from 6.30pm at The Tivoli, 52 Costin Street, Fortitude Valley. Tickets $55 (includes canapés). Voting is now open for the awards. To vote, and bookings, go to www.brisbanepridefestival.com.au