The great thing about Actors at Work and travelling the country is the often random experiences that come your way out on the road.
After a couple of weeks touring Brisbane, Hervey Bay the Gold Coast and Lismore, the four of us were heading to Bendigo, via Sydney and Melbourne. It was a long day of travel ahead of us and the last thing we expected, was to run into one of Bell Shakespeare’s greatest supporters at the Lismore Airport.
While buying coffee and food at the Airport café, we heard the whisper that our ex- (26th) Prime Minister, our current Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mr. Kevin Rudd was flying in on the very plane we’d be taking out!
The plane lands, Mr. Rudd walks towards the terminal, sweeping his hair aside and within seconds Kat and Belinda had built up the guts to approach him for a brief chat. I couldn’t resist the opportunity either! And a brief chat seemed to be the least he could do for us. This is one of the only times I’ve had a chin-wag with one of Australia’s politicians and here he was, giving us a moment or two of his time before heading towards his day’s agenda.
Here is a man that has supported the arts for a long time and notably Bell Shakespeare! For the 2010 production of King Lear, Mr. Rudd was generous enough to offer a congratulations and best wishes letter, which appeared in the official 20th anniversary souvenir program of the touring production starring John Bell.
Here he was at Lismore airport and here he was showing a genuine interest in our pursuits. He asked us where the tour was taking us and commented that “Bell Shakespeare do such wonderful work in education, keep it up!” When he asked me what role I played, I told him of one, Macbeth. “Oooo”, says Mr. Rudd, “I hope your Lady Macbeth isn’t too hard to handle!” Clearly a smart man, with great knowledge of these wonderful Elizabethan texts!
We each had our photos taken which he was more than happy to appear in, giving us each souvenirs for life. He was gracious, friendly, completely hospitable and without doubt, one of the highlights of the tour for us 4. We were giddy for the rest of the day.
I feel the need to write him a letter, saying thank you and perhaps inviting him to a schools show to show him exactly what Actors at Work is up to this year. I’ve no doubt that our Foreign Minister is a very busy man, but something about his nature told me it’s the first thing he’d do if he had the time!
WHAT A HIGHLIGHT!!
When we checked our bags in at Lismore airport on Sat morning the airport staff told us that K.Rudd was due to fly in on the plane that we would then fly back out on to Sydney. We figured that if it was true that he was coming he’d rush through the terminal and on his way to his conference. But, just in case, I bought the newspaper so I could look intelligent. Then when he arrived, he collected his wheelie bag, came up to us in the airport and introduced himself. I said I’m Belinda and he said “G’day Bel”, and he shook Kat and my hands. He loves Shakespeare and said that nothing beats the Bard, and wanted to know what shows we were doing.
After a glorious week hugging the coast and performing for schools in Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Kempsy and Taree, our Actors At Work tour now takes us more inland to Armidale. So far, our performances have been great and our audiences even better, so thank you to all the schools that have watched our shows, or worked with us in our master classes. Your enthusiasm really fuels us to work harder and give you guys the best performance or class we can. I’ve had some amazing Richard III masterclasses with students coming up with great offers in working the text and getting a scene up onto the floor.
Looking forward to working with Duval High students on an Othello masterclass and then Most Excitingly…. seeing some Regional Performance Scholarship auditions. This is my fav part of my job, working individually with you on an audition monologue – can’t wait!!!!
Some pics below…..
So the Players have left Sydney and hit the country roads of NSW to let loose with some Shakespeare.
Today we spent the day performing in the town of Kempsey and these schools were some of our best audiences yet. Everyone was so excited to be involved and a few students said they understood A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the first time.
A lot of the drama students said we helped them realise that you can create quite a complex show with very little set or costume. I suppose as a general rule it is better for your character to have a clear physicality or voice before relying on technical elements. This show is the best acting challenge because every part involved fits into two small roadcases.
Anyway thanks Kempsey students you were great!!!!!
Well, we are off and travelling around Australia! First stop Port Macquarie, a beautiful sea side town where we will be performing our Midsummer Madness show later on in the afternoon. But with no shows before 2pm it’s time for some exploring and a quick stop via the city centre to pick up a pair of bathers for Teresa!
(ps. Some quick pics below from our travels)
So we are officially on tour!!! We (The Players) have been split up into two groups of four to perform our shows to as many schools as we can. Can’t wait! Unfortunately we won’t see the other guys until we get back to Sydney but that’s the nature of this beast.
First stop: Brisbane
I haven’t been to Brisbane since I was two so I was really excited about visiting it. It is beautiful. Everybody is really nice. Our first show was at St Joseph’s, thank you boys for being an awesome audience. We performed Midsummer Madness. The school was very hospitable. Finished up and back to the hotel to rest up. Really loving this job!
Hi everyone, my name is Samantha Tidy and I’m the Head of Education here at Bell Shakespeare. I just thought I’d drop by and let you know what’s been happening here at Learning Central this week!
The Players have been on the road for just two weeks, touring aroundSydney. We certainly miss their jovial and talented presence in our office, so it was great to welcome them back this morning for a rare day in the rehearsal room!
Even though the tour has begun, it’s important to keep an actor’s lines fresh in their mind, so today they are in the rehearsal room doing a quick run through of Romeo And Juliet. They’ll also rehearse fight scenes from the show, to ensure that when they come to do it all again in August (for our Melbourne season at the National Theatre in St Kilda), they have the right moves for those exciting knife scenes that take the audience’s breath away.
On Monday, Nathaniel, George, Teresa and Adele will head toCoffsHarbour, regional NSW and Paul, Kat, Belinda and Ivan head to sunnyBrisbane, which will be a great change for them fromSydney’s late autumn cold.
Back at Learning Central we are right now welcoming twelve regional and remote teachers into our rehearsal rooms. They are all recipients of our Regional Teacher Scholarship, supported by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.
Over the next four days the scholarship recipients will each be immersed in the world of Shakespeare, in practical drama activities that work well in the classroom and a crash course on staging a Shakespeare play in their school. They’ll see the production Much Ado About Nothing at the Opera House and learn about the behind the scenes design process for our productions. It’s all part of Bell Shakespeare’s commitment to regionalAustralia, ensuring that students and teachers everywhere in this great big country, have access to quality Shakespeare experiences.
So now that the wheels on the tour bus are turning, we can’t wait to see what tales The Players have to tell us, from regional Australia!