Queensland Theatre Company today marks the 40th anniversary of its being signed into existence … literally … by an Act of Parliament: the Queensland Theatre Company Act (1970). It remains unique in Australia in this regard, and is one of a handful of arts Statutory Authorities in the state. Perhaps this is indicative of the importance that a state government decades ago placed upon the theatre. The state government through the Minister for the Arts (currently also the Premier Anna Bligh) is the major financial supporter of the state theatre company, contributing 80% of all government funding revenue to the Company’s budget. The Federal government through the Australia Council provides the remaining 20% from government.
Queensland Theatre Company has had 5 Directors in those 40 years: the late Alan Edwards (MBE AM); Aubrey Mellor (OAM); Chris Johnson; Robyn Nevin (AM), and currently Michael Gow, who will step down in August this year to concentrate on his career as one of Australia’s leading playwrights.
My association with the Company began 2 years after its founding. I joined for the 1972 Theatre in Education Season; my first job was playing an emu in The Badly Behaved Bunyip by Michael Boddy, alongside Grant Dodwell and Steven Tandy (that’s us in the picture above). I then worked consistently as an actor, sometime director and writer as well as workshop tutor with Queensland Theatre Company until the end of 1977. I have been involved with the Company in one way or another for nearly 40 years, and am today the Chairman of the Board. It’s been an interesting ride!
Happy Birthday Queensland Theatre Company, thanks for the memories, and here’s to many more, robust years to come!