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Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble 2017

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by Kiesten McCauley (subscribe)
I'm a freelance creative. People and companies pay me to write ads, scripts, websites, marketing and corporate documents. I also produce and direct ads, podcasts and stuff. See some of my work or hire me here: https://kiesten.wixsite.com/portfolio
Published October 23rd 2016
More Fun than You Can Shake a Spear at
qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday
All the world's a stage for these players. L-R Anthea Patrick, Rebecca Murphy, Chris Vaag and Silvan Rus.


It's hard to believe only sixteen years ago Queensland didn't have a dedicated troupe of players performing Shakespeare's works. The fifteenth birthday of the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble is certainly cause to celebrate with a few 'hey nonny nonnys' and that's exactly what the troupe had in mind too!

qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday
Party goers celebrate 15 years of QSE.


qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday
Core Ensemble member Silvan Rus kicks off the evening's speeches.


The intimate affair was held at Room to Play in Paddington, and included celebrations, nibblies, drinks, speeches and a fun performance of a Shakespeare's Shorts version of Romeo and Juliet. The birthday party also served to launch the 2017 season for the players and to announce and introduce their new president Rebecca Hurst to members, media and artists.

qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday
President Rebecca Hurst delights the crowd with her maiden speech.


Ms Hurst said, "I'm excited and thrilled to be part of QSE's present and future... Truly there has never been a better time to be the president of this terrific ensemble. I look forward to 2017 and beyond."

qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday, rob, pensalfini
Founder, actor, writer and artistic director Rob Pensalfini.


The 2017 season which was announced by QSE founder Rob Pensalfini includes: Dare to Share, The Winter's Tale, and a new work, Boggo. In April 2017, Dare to Share will feature core ensemble members and apprentices sharing scenes, techniques and speeches from their training. The end of August and start of September will see a Roma Street Parklands performance of the bard's The Winter's Tale which hasn't been performed by a professional company in Brisbane in around twenty years. This play is arguably Shakespeare writing at the height of his abilities, and incorporates comedy, mystery and tragedy. Rounding out the year, Pensalfini's penned a homegrown piece called Boggo. The 2017 guide describes the piece as, "hilarious and chilling, poignant and explosive". It uses verbatim oral histories from guards at Boggo Road Gaol around the end of the Bjelke-Peterson era to provide insight into the politics, climate and culture of the time. While it's not by Shakespeare, joked Pensilfini at the launch, the play is by 'Queensland'.

"As I worked on it I realised," Rob confessed to the audience, "that yes it's a story about Boggo Road Gaol... but it's really a microcosm story about Queensland in the seventies and eighties."

qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday, romeo, juliet
No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.


qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday, romeo, juliet
Some sped up swordplay in this fast version of Romeo and Juliet.


Don't for a moment think that's all QSE will have to offer in 2017. Aside from the main stage shows, the troupe that deeply values community involvement, will be bringing the bard to the masses in a variety of ways. If you have a half an hour to spare you can catch one of Shakespeare's Shorts. The funny shows that see performers take his tragedies and edit them down to quick and easy to comprehend performances will be back. Plus the Shakespeare Prison Project will be helping inmates develop confidence, social and communication skills through learning and performing Shakespeare's words.

"The Shakespeare Prison Project is really a practical example of the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble mission statement" Kat Dekker, director of the project revealed, "which is using Shakespeare for positive change and that is what we do every Monday for three months of the year out at the Southern Queensland Correctional Centre, and it's my honour and privilege to be part of it."

qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday, kat, dekker
Kat Dekker's passionate about the Prison Project.


qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday, romeo, juliet
The famous balcony scene.


There's plenty on offer for budding performers too. Young actors in grades 8-12 can try the Young Actor's Shakespeare Intensive in July. Actors, teachers and public speakers are invited to join the Linklater Voice Training sessions in February. The season guide says the Theatre of the Oppressed lessons in July are ideal for "performers, directors, teachers, social workers, activists and other cultural fieldworkers." While actors and drama students who want to improve their skills in Shakespearean performance are encouraged to join the Speaking Shakespeare in Your Own Voice classes held in February and October.

qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday, romeo, juliet
True love's kiss binds one of the shortest marriages ever!


qse, queensland, shakespeare, ensemble, 2017, launch, birthday, romeo, juliet
Spoiler alert: things don't end well for Romeo and Juliet!


Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble is run by the artists themselves, with Core Ensemble members also holding business roles like Administration, Marketing, and Finance. Core members also have priority when roles are being cast, with apprentices and other professional actors filling any casting gaps.

If you're interested in joining the troupe, the logical place to start is with some training and joining the Apprentice Program. Professional actors who have attended QSE training in the past may want to attend the auditions for QSE's 2017 Core Ensemble on the 26th and 27th of November 2016, with call-backs on the 28th of November.

To book for one of the shows or find out more information about Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, simply visit their website.
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*Kiesten McCauley was invited as a guest
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Why? It's not hard to love the bard
Phone: 61 (0)411 172 390
Where: See website for details of particular events
Your Comment
Thank you Kiesten for this awesome write-up. It was lovely to see you at the shin-dig!
by r.pen (score: 0|2) 410 days ago
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