4MBS Shakespeare Festival Production of Romeo and Juliet
4MBS Chair, Mr Matthew Farrell; General Manager, Mr Gary Thorpe; Shakespeare in the Park Director, Ms Xanthe Jones and Creative Producer, Mr Ben Lynskey; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen; boys and girls.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today.
It is my pleasure to be here this evening, during this wonderful festival, now in its 16th year and produced by 4MBS Classic FM, of which I am Patron.
And what a marvellous venue in which to experience this production of Romeo and Juliet!
As I’m sure you are all aware, many of William Shakespeare’s plays were written for an outdoor audience.
The original and very famous Globe Theatre on the bank of the River Thames in London, where audiences first saw some of Shakespeare’s best-known plays, was open-air.
A version of the original theatre still exists there and remains open to the elements, with audiences advised to dress for the weather as the show will go on, rain, hail or shine!
I’m not sure Shakespeare himself would have envisaged a sub-tropical backdrop such as this, but given the febrile, heady nature of this particular play, I think it’s quite fitting.
It’s also great to see more opportunities being provided for arts workers to perform in Queensland, particularly after the last few years of lockdowns and cancellations brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
After an extremely challenging few years, how wonderful it is to see our arts and entertainment industry thriving once more!
In the past month alone, I have had the great fortune to attend many wonderful performances, including the Queensland Ballet’s Manon, the Brisbane Jazz Club Big Band Festival, the Charters Towers Rush Festival, Queensland Theatre’s Othello, Chiharu Shiota’s exhibition at QAGOMA and the Queensland Youth Orchestra’s NYCC String Sensations Concert.
Queensland is truly emerging as a global Arts powerhouse.
I congratulate 4MBS for hosting this festival and ensuring our community has access to such high-quality yet accessible theatre.
For many in the audience, this will be their first experience of any theatre, let alone Shakespeare.
All I can say is, strap yourselves in. This week in the lives of two young star-crossed lovers and their forbidden romance is a wild ride!
Enjoy your evening.