It’s season launch time again with other news in the wind. In fact, the wind threatened to blow away the crowd that gathered to launch Queensland Theatre Company’s Season 2009 at the State Library on Monday evening. Brisbane weather can be capricious at this time of year … storms boot up out of any direction, and blow in with a ferocity that reminds us that we really do live in the sub-tropics.
As it happened, things settled on the SL’s delightful ‘tea-cup terrace’ overlooking the Brisbane River. The arts crowd buzzed, and Minister for the Arts Rod Welford and Artistic Director Michael Gow delivered the news most … especially the artists and creatives not already booked for a gig … were waiting to hear. What would the main stage season hold?
2009 will be Gow’s tenth season with the state theatre company, and it bids fair to be his best yet. A mix of classics and brand-new works, Australian and international, home-grown, co-produced or hosted with other Australian theatre companies, and presented in the Company’s home venue the Bille Brown Studio in Brisbane’s own West End, as well as in QPAC’s Cremorne and Playhouse venues. Then there are the state-wide and national tours. A big year all round, especially for the artists; 2009 will probably be the largest contingent of actors for many years.
Other news in the wind …. La Boite Theatre and Toowoomba’s Empire Theatres are about to anoint their own new artistic directors. Facebook tends to be the media release tool of choice these days, though undoubtedly the heritage media will get the nod in a day or so. And so we learned that David Berthold (Griffin, ATYP and formerly of STC and Queensland Theatre Company) is going to La Boite, and Lewis Jones (Circa) up the hill. Exciting times ahead for Queensland Theatre. Good luck chaps!
Spent an afternoon on Brisbane’s delightful South Bank cultural precinct yesterday. It’s site until today of the annual Brisbane Writers’ Festival. The joint was jumping. Author talks, panels, coffee drinking, book browsing (and buying) and readings have been the stuff of the past 4 days. And if you think that’s boring, think again. And it was all very Brisbane … shorts and t-shirts, sandals and the kind of laid back atmosphere that is Queensland.
I was there principally to see Queensland Theatre Company second reading of Richard Jordan’s 25 Down due for production next June as winner of the 2008-09 Premier’s Drama Award. It was designed to give the writer an opportunity to hear and see a different cast of actors read his work, now in a 9 month development stage. A 15 minute Q&A afterwards gave the writer, and the Director Jon Halpin and his actors a chance to talk about the process of taking a work from page to stage.
How exciting to have so many people who still care about words.
I’m hearing the term ‘artist’ bandied around a lot lately. Maybe it’s a bit of strutting, maybe not. Maybe it’s just time actors claimed the title, and admitted egolessly to being exactly that.
The word ‘actor’ works for me, but so also does ‘artist’ when it’s used by someone who’s talented, experienced, and who’s paid her dues. I hate it when it’s splashed all over the place by wannabe no talents. Rant over.
But not any old night. Another class of actors enters the industry at their showcase performance and end of three years of intensive training. Their lovely talent shone through despite the grunginess of the venue. As always, I felt as though a bunch of fledglings was leaving the nest and needed protection. No, let them go and, hopefully, watch them fly. Along with many other actor-trainers, I hate showcases. They are artificial exercises designed to market a human product; they always make me feel incredibly sad and proud in equal measure. C’est la guerre.
I wanted it to go so well for them all, dressed up, clutching their business cards, learning how to pick their way through the minefield of industry schmoozing required to get agents, casting calls, auditions, jobs. It’s a tough business. Many will walk away finding it too hard, too compromising, too … .
Break a leg and never give up!