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Bogga - Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble

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by Kiesten McCauley (subscribe)
My early career was in teaching, writing, producing and directing for theatre, comedy and impro shows. Now I'm a professional creative person. Mostly high-end branding, strategy, writing, editing and digital content creation.
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Arresting theatre that's sure to entertain
boggo, bogga, road, gaol, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, rob, pensalfini
Bogga is Playing Now


Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble (QSE) has stepped away from the tights, thous and iambic pentameter for something a little different. Founder and Artistic Director of QSE, Rob Pensalfini has penned a tale as thrilling as a Shakespearean tragedy, but instead of Europe, it's set right here in Brisbane. Bogga is playing right now at the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio, University of Queensland and it tells the fascinating story of the gaol.

Cast: Paige Poulier & James Elliott / Image: Benjamin Prindable Photography


The script is based on verbatim oral histories of the inmates and employees of Boggo Road. It's hilarious, poignant, chilling and amazing. The play explores the history of the decline and fall of the infamous Bjelke-Petersen regime in the 1970s and 1980s – a time at which infamous inmates were breaking out every other day and the gaol was plagued with negative press.

The QSE tell us, "Bogga is the result of a long partnership between the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble and the Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society. With the support of the Brisbane City Council through their Community History grants, historian Chris Dawson recorded oral histories from a dozen former guards and prisoners, and with their permission Rob Pensalfini wove these into a lively theatre script."

Chris Vaag / Image: Benjamin Prindable Photography


That means every word and event in the play, including tales of murders, riots, corruption, escapes, and daily prison life really happened and comes direct from the people involved. Nothing has been added or altered in their words.

Performance Times and Dates

7:30pm on 9 - 11 Nov 2017 (Thu-Sat); and 15 - 18 Nov 2017 (Wed-Sat)
2pm Matinée on Sat 11 Nov 2017

Q&A: Thu 16 Nov 2017 (20min Question and Answer session after the show)

boggo, bogga, road, gaol, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, rob, pensalfini
Scary, exciting and funny stories straight out of prison.


About Boggo Road Gaol

A large red brick building from the end of the Victorian era, Boggo Road Gaol in Annerly operated for 119 years as a prison. Some of the facility still stands today as a Heritage Listed historical and tourist attraction. You'll find an array of fascinating guided tours and events always on offer at the gaol.

The gaol became iconic for all the wrong reasons, especially in the 80s when there were riots, breakouts and hunger strikes reported almost nightly on the news.

Getting to the Theatre

BCC Buses 29, 109, 139, 169, 192, and 209 stop closest to the venue. You can also get to the campus via ferry and walk about 400 metres to the studio.

If you're driving in, give yourself some extra time to find a park and walk to the studio as sometimes parking can be a challenge. Take Sir Fred Schonell Drive - drive east to Campbell Road, then turn left onto Blair Drive, then right onto Union Road. If it's a weeknight, you'll also need to pay for your parking (it's free on the weekend).

boggo, bogga, road, gaol, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, rob, pensalfini
A photo of some of the only remaining section of Boggo Road Gaol.


How Much is it?

Tickets are $30 for adults; concessions are $25 or $24 per person for a group booking of ten or more. If you're a full-time student, pensioner, health care card holder, MEAA card holder, 4ZZZ subscriber or QSE member you can get a concession price. It's easy to book online here.

This is a great chance to see a fabulous new home grown work performed by amazing actors. Even if you've never seen theatre before, you'll find this show a fascinating first foray into live local drama.
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*Kiesten McCauley was invited as a guest
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Why? See a thrilling new local play
When: 8-18 November, 7:30 (one matinee at 2pm, see website for details)
Where: Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio, University of Queensland, St Lucia campus
Cost: $24 - $30
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