Lucette Aldous has received a Companion (AC) of the Order of Australia in the 2018 Australia Day Honours – the highest honour in the Australia Day awards. It was bestowed on her for “eminent service to the performing arts, particularly to ballet, as a Principal Artist at the national and international level, to dance education, and as a mentor and role model for young performers”.
Lucette Aldous. Photograph supplied by Australian Dance Awards © Barry Moreland
Aldous is now 79 and lives in Perth where she continues to teach ballet, having already taught generations of young people at institutions including the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). A former Principal Artist with The Australian Ballet (1971-1976), she also danced with The Royal Ballet in London and was a Principle Artist with London Festival Ballet and Ballet Rambert.
Born in New Zealand, Aldous moved to Australia in 1941 and trained in Sydney and Brisbane before a scholarship to The Royal Ballet School took her to London in 1955. At 1.52m tall, she was short for a ballerina but her stunning technique and radiant energy made her a favourite with the likes of Robert Helpmann and Rudolf Nureyev which whom she danced on numerous occasions during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
When she returned to Australia in 1970, Nureyev asked her to dance the role of Kitri to his Basilio in his famous production of Don Quixote for the Australian Ballet, which was subsequently filmed. In 1972 Aldous married Alan Alder, a Principal Artist with the Australian Ballet, and they had a daughter Fleur who now runs a ballet school in Perth. In 2009, Aldous was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Dance Awards.
Actor John Gaden has been awarded an Officer (OA) of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to the performing arts through seminal performances as a stage actor, as an artistic director and administrator, and as a role model for, and mentor of, aspiring actors”.
Born in Sydney in 1941, Gaden’s career stretches back to the early 1960s. When Richard Wherrett became Artistic Director of the newly formed Sydney Theatre Company in 1979, he asked Gaden to join him as Associate Director. Gaden held the position for three years from December 1980, during which time he directed several productions and co-directed the STC’s legendary production of The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickleby. He then spent four years as Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia (1986 – 1989).
John Gaden and Peter Carroll in No Man’s Land for Sydney and Queensland Theatre Companies. Photograph © Rob Maccoll
However, it is as an actor that Gaden has really made his mark. A member of the STC Actors Company from 2004 to 2007, his many credits include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The War of the Roses, The Lost Echo for STC, Cloudstreet for Company B (now Belvoir) and Black Swan Theatre, The Seagull and The Wild Duck for Belvoir, and No Man’s Land for Queensland Theatre and STC, among numerous others. Now 76, he is still as busy as ever and performs with John Bell in Diplomacy by Cyril Gély at the Ensemble Theatre in March/April.
Speaking to The Australian in 2011, Cate Blanchett, who performed with Gaden in The War of the Roses, said: “he’s Dorian Gray in a lot of ways in that as he gets older he becomes more risk-taking, if that’s possible, and more dangerous. Often, as one grows older in this profession you either go mad or calcify, and he’s done neither. John has a direct line to the muse”, while The Australian theatre critic John McCallum said: “There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of our greatest actors… He has such grace, warmth and dignity as an actor, plus a wonderful comic mischievousness when needed… You never tire of watching him, as you do with some actors. He has never descended into mannerism.”
Ulrike Klein also received an Officer of the Order of Australia for “distinguished service to the performing and visual arts through philanthropic support for a range of cultural organisations, particularly to classical and chamber music”, while Jennifer Claire Rosevear was made a Member (AM) for significant service to music education in South Australia.
Order of Australia Medals (OAM) were presented to Roland Auguszczak for services to the performing arts and choral music, Rosalind Carlson for service to choral music and education, Roslyn Frances Dunbar-Wells for service to the performing arts, Glenn Elston for service to the performing arts, Roberta Groot for service to music education, Alpha Louis Gregory for service to music in the Australian Capital Territory, Marlene Jones for service to music education, Andrea Janice Messenger for service to music, and Wouter Jaap Van Nieuwkuyk for service to the performing arts.
A full list of recipients can be found here