Performing Arts Collection
Welch, Garth
Welch, Garth

Biography

Garth Welch (1936-), dancer, choreographer, artistic director and teacher was born in Brisbane, where began his dance studies with Phyllis Danaher.  His professional career began with his performance as the Clerk in the J. C. Williamson production of Call Me Madam in 1954, the same year he joined the Borovansky Ballet, eventually achieving the status of leading dancer with that company.  In the late 1950s he danced with the Western Theatre Ballet (later Scottish Ballet) and the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas, returning to Australia as a foundation member of The Australian Ballet in 1962.

From 1962 until 1973 he was a principal dancer with The Australian Ballet, dancing the lead in all the major ballets in the company's repertoire.  He also created roles of The Outsider in Robert Helpmann's The Display (1964) and Hakuryo in Helpmann's Yugen (1965), as well as The Instigator in John Butler's Threshold (1968).  As principal dancer he formed notable partnerships with Marilyn Jones, Kathleen Gorham and Marilyn Rowe, and partnered guest artists including Margot Fonteyn.  It was with The Australian Ballet that Welch also began is choreographic career, with Variations on a Theme in 1964; later works include Illyria (1966) for the Adelaide Festival, and Othello for the Australian Ballet School in 1968 and staged by the Australian Ballet in 1970.

During the 1970s Welch choreographed, danced and during 1974 was associate artistic director of Ballet Victoria.  In 1979 Welch choreographed his first full-length work KAL for the West Australian Ballet, where he was later artistic director between 1980 and 1982.  Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Welch taught extensively across Australia.  In 1984 he returned to the stage to create the role of von Aschebach in Graeme Murphy's After Venice in 1984.  He also performed in Murphy's Late Afternoon of a Faun (1987).  In the 1990s Welch returned to musical theatre appearing in The Game of Love and Chance in 1990, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying in 1993 and Nijinsky at Twilight in 1998.  Welch was inducted into the Australian Dance Awards Hall of Fame in 2002.

Collection holdings

The Garth Welch Collection is an extensive collection that covers the full breadth of Welch's career as a dancer, choreographer, artistic director and teacher.  Material includes personal documents such as his baptism certificate and Royal Academy of Dancing reports; correspondence, 1947-1993 (correspondents include the Australia Council, Australian Creative Fellowship, The Australian Ballet School, The Australian Ballet etc.); programmes, 1940s-1990s; photographs; scrapbooks; and costumes worn by Welch in performances at the age of 4.

Additional material on Welch is held in The Australian Ballet Collection, Ballet Victoria Collection, Anne Fraser Collection, Laurie Richards Collection, Sydney Dance Company Collection and J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd. Collection.

Materials include brochures, correspondence, costumes, magazines, newsletters, news clippings, photographs, programmes, reports and certificates, scrapbooks.

Date Range: 1939 - 1996

The Australian Ballet
Borovansky Ballet
Ballet Guild / Ballet Victoria
J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd
Helpmann, Robert
Fonteyn, Margot
Sydney Dance Company
Murphy, Graeme & Vernon, Janet