Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

The Long Road Back Home

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

The Long Road Back Home

Article excerpt

Byline: Christine Mckee Christine.Mckee@gladstoneobserver.com.au

THE Gladstone schoolboy who was bullied for being "a poofter" in the 1970s returns this weekend as one of Australia's leading film and television agents.

His career, one any aspiring performer would die for, includes dancing for Prince Charles and Princess Diana and six years in the Moulin Rouge in Paris.

This weekend's Capricorn Film Festival brings him "home''.

Michael Montgomery says it was during the inaugural Capricorn Film Festival in 2015 that he reconnected with his home town.

His client, Steve Le Marquand, starred in the locally produced feature film Broke and Montgomery accompanied him to Gladstone for the festival.

"I was really surprised at the festival's international reach, with so many films from all over the world," he told The Observer yesterday.

"Having grown up here with so few opportunities and now to have that to aspire to is incredible.

"Seeing the steady growth in local entries, particularly from young people... it's not a mysterious thing that happens in other places."

Montgomery is the son of ballet teacher, Patti Gleeson who taught thousands of local children to dance between 1968 and 1988.

His talent was obvious as a very young child and after years of performing locally and taking out countless awards at the Gladstone Eisteddfod, he left home in 1985 to study at the Australian Ballet School.

"Gladstone was a little town that exploded overnight with QAL, " he recalled.

"Everybody came from somewhere else, but it was a strange mixture for me.

"Growing up with the dance school and Gladstone Light Opera Society, the artistic community was amazing, but school was hell."

Montgomery says he knew he was gay from the age of four and there was barely a day he could walk the school corridors without being called "a poofter".

"Especially in high school," he said.

"It was so closeted back then and I was afraid to admit it. Being a ballet dancer, the bullying was quite horrific. I felt like I was the only one."

It was at 16, during his second year at the Australian Ballet School, when he finally "came out''. …

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