Audrey Nicholls


(Please note the information below was taken from various newspaper clippings that are available and have not been confirmed correct by any other way)

Born 1934? in Townsville, Queensland, Australia

Daughter of Mr & Mrs Edward Nicholls, Leigh Street, West End, Townsville

married David Johnstone, a wool buyer, from Melbourne, Victoria. The marriage took place in Townsville in January 1955

Nationality – Australian

1945 – Audrey became a pupil of the Gwen Hardie School of Dancing in Townville.
1945 – Audrey gets a pass in the recent RAD exams in Townsville (Townsville Daily Bulletin Mon 15 Oct 1945)
1947 – Sat 4th January at the Trocadero Dance Palais, Cairns,Queensland, Patrons will be entertained with a programme of modern and old time dances. The special feature will be the appearance of Miss Audrey Nicholls, juvenile ballet dancer and acrobat, who gained the highest points in Queensland in recent tests. She is a pupil of the Gwen Hardie (M.R.A.D.) School of Dancing, Townsville.
1947 – October – Central Queensland Eisteddfod, Rockhampton, Queensland, winner of the Cabaret solo, 10 and under 14yrs. Awarded a Special certificate for Demi Character Solo, 10 and under 14yrs.
1947 – Friday 31st October, at the Paterson Playground children’s fancy dress party. Townsville Juvenile Choir conducted by Mrs Hudson as well as soloists from playground members entertained the children. Thirteen year old Audrey Nicholls performed an operatic ballet number entitled “The Rose”.
1948 – October – North Queensland Children’s Eisteddfod – Townsville. winner of the Song and Dance duet over 14yrs with Anne Hardie.
1948 – Saturday 23rd October – at the Theatre Royal, Townsville, for the Macrossan Fund benefit concert, Audrey danced a solo ballet.
1949 – Fri 9th & Sat 10th December – Theatre Royal Concert “The Christmas Bazaar” with the Townsville Juvenile Choir conducted by Mrs Hudson. Audrey danced a solo ballet.
1949 – Friday 30th December – Miss Audrey Nicholls, Leigh St, West End, accompanied by her mother and friend Miss E.King leave by mail train tonight for Sydney, where Audrey is to continue her ballet studies. (Townsville Daily Bulletin Fri 30 Dec 1949)
1950 – At 15, Audrey joined the Frances Scully School of Dancing in Sydney.
1950 – Townsville Daily Bulletin Wed 8 Nov – A Townsville girl, Audrey Nicholls of Leigh St, West End, is one of three Australian girls chosen by “Borovanski” for his ballet. Eleven of Sydney’s most advanced pupils did the audition which Borovanski supervised. Audrey was given the chance by her teacher for “experience” not even thinking she would be chosen.
1951 – joined the corp de ballet of the Borovansky Company in Sydney.
1951 – A scholarship founded in 1951 by the late Miss Frances Scully to give talented pupils of her school a chance to study abroad. It is awarded every two years. The founder called it the Frances Scully Travelling Scholarship, but after her death it was renamed “memorial” as a tribute to her. Although the scholarship has been awarded only twice before, it has actually benefited three young Australians. The original winner was Audrey Nicholls, a Townsville girl who was not eligible because she had not been a student of the Scully School for the required time. The 500 pound went to Sydney girl Dawn Swaine, but , at the instigation of the girls’ ballet mistress, Miss Danetree, Townsville & Sydney people raised 1,000 pounds to send Audrey overseas. She justified their faith by becoming a soloist with the Marie Rambert company and several other famous ballet companies in England.
1952 – Thurs 6th March – Audrey Nicholls arrived back in Townsville before leaving for Europe.
1952 – Thurs 13th March – Theatre Royal Concert in aid of her appeal. She will dance the Bluebird Variations from “Aurora’s Wedding” and the Polka from “Façade”.
1952 – Sat 15th March – A 17 year old girl, whom Townsville believes may become a future ballet star, leaves by air on the first stage of her journey to London. She is Audrey Nicholls of Leigh St, West End. She is the youngest of three children of Mr & Mrs Edward Nicholls. Townsville’s faith in the obviously talented dancer was demonstrated by a donation of 1,000 pounds to enable her to seek a chance in Europe. Audrey will leave Sydney on Tues 18th March on the liner Orion for London. There she will have an audition for entry to the Sadlers Wells Ballet School. Originally she won an audition with Sadlers Wells as a scholarship in Sydney.(Townsville Daily Bulletin – Sat 15th March 1952).
1953 – Mon 26th Oct – Audrey, 18, made her British television debut. She appeared with another Australian girl, 22yr old Patricia Dyer of Perth in a show with British orchestra leader Geralds.
1953 – Mon 2nd Nov – Audrey Nicholls, 19, one of the members of the Ballet Rambert which gave a two hour performance for the Queen Mother. Miss Nicholls is also in the ballet of the Clark Gable – Gene Tierney film “Never Let Me Go”.
1954 – October – Audrey appears in Dublin in the ballet (1st act of Giselle) in the opera “Joan At The Stake” with the famous Ingrid Bergman, who has the title role of Joan. (Townsville Daily Bulletin – Sat 2 Oct 1954).
1954 November –  Townsville ballerina Audrey Nicholls has been chosen to play the lead in the curtain-raiser to the London opera “Joan at the Stake” which stars Ingrid Bergman. Audrey has been engaged by the Stoll Theatre to play this part. (Courier Mail).
1954 – Thurs 8th Dec – Townsville ballerina Audrey Nicholls, 22, will leave England to return home for her wedding in January. She is doing this instead of staying as a prima ballerina with the Ballet Rambert. Travelling in the same ship , the Orsova, will be Audrey’s fiance, Melbourne woolbuyer David Johnstone whom she met on the voyage from Australia two years ago, and who has been working at Bradford, England’s main wool centre. After their wedding they will live in Melbourne for two years until Mr Johnstone’s business takes him back to Bradford. (Courier Mail).
1955 – Audrey Nicholls recently returned to Australia and will continue her ballet career as soloist with Walter Gore in the Australian Theatre Ballet Company.
1958 – The Ballet Guild of Victoria (Ballet Victoria) was her next stepping-stone with some outstanding principal roles especially in Giselle and Coppelia.
1958 – 1968 – In the ballet of Melbourne Television HSV7’s variety show “Sunnyside Up” for 5yrs – In the ballet of “The Spider’s Banquet” on ABC-TV.
1963 – Sun 13 Oct 8.00pm ABC TV Melbourne & later in other states – “Simone         Boccanegra” by Verdi – A lavish Italian Opera with a cast of 50 singers. Audrey Nicholls played Amelia (sung by Nance Grant) and Gabriele played by Robert Pomie and sung by Lorenzo Nolan.
1973 – In 1973, Audrey Nicholls was appointed as a Graded Examiner of the Royal Academy of Dance. From 1982, she has taught RAD teaching courses and classes throughout Australia. Audrey instigated the Victorian Grade Awards and was honoured when the awards were named after her.
1997 – RAD appointed her as a Tutor and then Victorian Tasmanian Panel Patron. Her professional career has seen her work with such well known choreographers as John Cranko, Jack Carter, Michael Charnley, David Lichine, and Rex Reid. Her teaching career has seen her along with colleague Eve King, train many dancers including Holly Smart (Genee International Ballet Competition, Gold Medal winner), James Neumann (soloist, the Australian Ballet), Delia Harrington (soloist, the Royal Ballet) and Christine Howard (current character teacher, the Australian Ballet School).

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