4MBS Brisbane Shakespeare Festival production of ‘The Tempest’
Councillor for Central Ward, Councillor Vicki Howard; 4MBS Chair, Mr Matthew Farrell; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.
I begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people with us this evening.
It’s lovely to be here with you for this most wonderful of Shakespeare plays, which holds a unique and enduring significance in the realm of English literature and the world of theatre.
And what a delight that this wonderful annual event, sponsored by 4MBS and now in its seventeenth year, can bring the world of theatre — and Shakespeare in particular — to this realm.
I am doubtful that Shakespeare himself would have envisaged The Tempest, originally set on an unnamed island in the Mediterranean, being performed in a subtropical landscape, as magnificently dramatic as the Roma Street Parklands are!
However, I’d like to think he’d approve, given that theatre is all about the power of imagination, and because being surrounded in nature can inspire so many raw and real emotions in us.
If not, he could take a leaf out of his own script for the The Tempest —one of the play’s central themes, after all, is the transformative power of forgiveness.
And Prospero, the play’s main protagonist, exemplifies this human capacity to seek redemption, make amends and heal.
In times such as these, with so many issues and challenges troubling people and communities throughout our State, nation and indeed the world over, it’s perhaps a message that brings a sense of comfort to you in the audience.
Regardless, I know this fine company of our very own Queensland actors will whisk you off to Prospero’s remote island and surround you with magic, and the transformative power of art.
For indeed, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on”.
Thank you, and on with the show!