Theatre

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Paying the piper

Queensland is reportedly the poor cousin when it comes to getting a fair shake of corporate sponsorship for the arts. Apparently Queensland gets just six percent of the national corporate sponsorship and donations dollar. It may be a result of the companies involved always looking to Sydney and Melbourne, where they are headquartered. But - and I'm playing devil's advocate here - could it also be that many Queensland arts companies aren't offering programs that appeal to corporate sponsors, or at the very least they are not "selling" their shows properly? Now I'm not saying that sponsors and donors should have artistic input, but many's the time I've seen somebody who has stumped up the cash to support a show looking totally perplexed afterwards.

Night of nights

What a line-up: Andrew Bevis, Rhonda Burchmore, David Campbell, Paul Capsis, Tamsin Carroll, Michael Cormick, Peter Cousens, Ray Crowe, David Harris, Josh Horner, Toni Lamond, Genevieve Lemon, Tim Little, Ana Marina, Derek Metzger, Sharon Millerchip, Amanda Muggleton, Leonie Page, Kellie Rode, Elenoa Rokabaro, Jennifer Trijo, John Paul Young - plus other performers from Billy Elliot, My Fair Lady, Shout!, Spamalot, The Phantom of the Opera and The Rocky Horror Show. The stars of Australian musical theatre are getting together at Sydney's Capitol Theatre on June 16 to raise funds for the Australian Parlaympic team's trip to Beijing. Details: here.
PS: On the subjects of China and fund-raising, if you want to know what you can do to help the victims of the Sichuan earthquake, click here.

Tony's award

The founding artistic director and managing director of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Tony Gould, will be awarded the Alan Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award from the Queensland Actors’ & Entertainers’ Benevolent Fund on Monday, May 12. Gould, who was also the inaugural artistic director of the Brisbane Festival, who previously held senior positions with the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and was federal director of concerts with the Australian Broadcasting Commission, is a certainly worthy recipient of the honour. At QPAC, he turned a concrete edifice into a living, breathing home for the performing arts, and everyone in Brisbane who has ever attended a performance there should tip their hat to him.

Son shines

Congratulations to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's son, Joe, who has won a spot to study in Mumbai, home of Bollywood, as part of his film and television degree. Of course, with the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and other initiatives, the state government has been very supportive of cinema - and that's a good thing. I just wish Ms Bligh could find some money in the coffers, and/or some steely political will, to help save and restore the historic Regent Theatre as a state-of-the-art live performance venue.

Something to Shout! about

It's not quite the real thing, but perhaps the closest you'll get to seeing the current production of Shout!, the stage musical about Australian rock icon Johnny O'Keefe, is to see the high-definition digital, surround-sound video version on the big screen at Brisbane's Cineplex cinemas. Reorded at Sydney's Lyric Theatre, it will play at the Balmoral, Victoria Point and South Bank complexes between May 15 and 21. Details are here. While I wish the exhibitors every success, I hope this sort of thing encourages people to love theatre so much that they want to see real, live actors perform at - say - a restored Regent Theatre.

Don't try this away from home

A serial gatecrasher called Alfie, who made it into the Logies and partied until 6am, shares his secrets:

"But you have to look like you should be there. I have got the gift of the gab. I can talk my way in anywhere. And free beer always tastes so much sweeter."

Remembering Brian Tait

I received this comment from Anthony on my old couriermail.com.au blog regarding an item about the death last year of Brisbane stage and television personality Brian Tait:

Like a number of contribuers on the death of Brian Tait, I was a kid in the 1960s and I remember that troup of Channel 7 Brisbane performers, and especially "Theatre Royal", with great fondness. They were terrific entertainers. And yes, the paucity of coverage of Mr Tait's death is in every sense a shame. People may not remember, but Channel 9 tried a number of times to run "In Melbourne Tonight" with the over-rated Graham Kennedy against Theatre Royal and were trounced every time. That by a show featuring almost exclusively Brisbane performers. Including Brian Tait.

Everything you ever wanted to know ...

Former Lyric Opera of Queensland staffer, conductor and raconteur Brian Castles-Onion has written a book about his favourite subject. For more about Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas, visit the Opera Australia website here.

Shaking it up

The question of the disputed authorship of Shakespeare's plays - addressed on this blog and its predecessors on several occasions - has reared its head again. This time, Mark Rylance, the founding director of The Globe theatre in London, has pointed to his belief that a group of people wrote the plays as one of the reasons why he quit his post in 2003. I'm keeping an open mind on the matter, but - as I've said in the past - a lot of the opposition to Shakespeare being the author on the plays seems to derive from class snobbery: the belief that a man from relatively humble circumstances could not be a great writer.

Wood you believe ...

It wouldn't be Logies weekend without a mention of John Wood - albeit in a story that has nothing to do with Blue Heelers. Wood is returning to the Brisbane stage in David Williamson's The Club - and this time one of his co-stars is a young actor-musiican called Guy Kable, who has put his ambitons to be a rock star on hold to tourr alongside the veteran actor. Apparently Kable, who stars in the latest Drumstick ad on TV, says he's "learned more from four months on tour with John Wood and the cast than four years at acting school". I won't name the school, it might sue me. The Club is on at the QUT Gardens Theatre in Brisbane on May 24 and 26.
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