Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Diane Cilento | thank you

Diane Cilento gifts Karnak Theatre to the people of Douglas

Heather Beck
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
© The Cairns Post

Rich life, lasting legacy: Diane Cilento in her role as Peggy Guggenheim in Woman Before A Glass. Picture: NEIL WEAVERS

THE Karnak Theatre will continue its legacy with the family of Diane Cilento carrying out her wishes to gift the theatre to the people of Douglas.

Set in the rainforest of the Whyanbeel Valley, Karnak has played a major role in hosting arts and theatre in the Far North as well as nurturing and developing local artists.

Cilento’s daughter, Giovanna Volpe, said her mother had approached the State Government earlier this year in the hope the theatre could become a haven for creative expression.
"She worked with many young people of the shire, notably Aboriginal people, supporting their development in the arts and we would really like and urge the Government to take the
offer," Ms Volpe said.

Arts Queensland has acknowledged the bequest on behalf of the Government and will look into the offer in detail before making a decision.  "We’d like it structured so that it reverts to the family if they don’t honour the ideals of the bequest, which was to ensure the people of the region would have an arts venue they would be proud of," Ms Volpe said.

The process of gifting the facility is expected to take more than six months. Meanwhile, Ms Volpe and her brother Jason Connery, son of actor Sean Connery, are planning a public tribute for the people of Douglas and Cairns to celebrate their mother’s life. It is understood that flautist Jane Rutter and renowned pianist David Helfgott may perform as both were close to Cilento. "We’re hoping it will be a celebration of her life and work, as opposed to a commiseration," Ms Volpe said. "Mum lived her life utterly fearlessly and would hate to be remembered any other way." The event will take place in April as this was Cilento’s true birth month, not October as is commonly thought.

Ms Volpe revealed her mother, as a broke young RADA student in London, gave her date of birth as being six months later as this put her in a lower tax bracket.

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