Some people have kindly asked for a copy of the speech I gave on Monday this week at the memorial for Bille held at QPAC’s Playhouse.
I was frankly at a loss to know where to begin when I was asked by Wesley Enoch Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company to contribute to the memorial. Of course I wanted to speak about the man and the artist I’d known for so many years but what to say?
Eventually a theme emerged – ‘Bille the Actor’ – and, after reading back over our conversations over the years, I decided to reflect upon and use his own words. Many were taken from Bille’s Facebook snippets over the past 4 or so years. They reveal much about the way he thought about the work – its anxieties and joys, the pride and passion and the deep fondness he felt for home whether he was overseas or here at home in ‘the old house,’ as he called it, at Ascot.
I’m posting the speech here on Greenroom in memoriam
THIS IS THE STUFF: a memorial for Bille Brown AM – actor and playwright
Bille and I began our lives in the theatre as actors at Queensland Theatre Company. That’s when, at the end of 1971, I first saw his work beside Geoffrey Rush, another young member of the company. Bille was a most unusual ginger cat in THE WRONG SIDE OF THE MOON. We went on to work together in a half dozen or so productions for the Company, and later I directed two of his plays TUFF and EGGFROTH THE FRITHED. These, along with SPRINGLE form a trilogy of plays for young people that were commissioned from Bille by QTC. Continue reading For Bille – with love
In case you haven’t already heard via news and the social media, QPAC is hosting a memorial service for Bille tomorrow afternoon (Monday 4th February) from 4pm. Tickets were available for the event but had gone within 12 hours or so.
This caused some distress for the many who admired and loved one of Queensland’s finest theatre artists. QPAC responded to some gentle suggestions from various quarters that a live-streamed event would do the trick, sharing what will be an hour-long tribute from family, friends, and colleagues around Australia and to the rest of the world.
If you would like to get more information, go to QPAC’s page and read how to link in.
I am honoured to have been invited by Queensland Theatre Company, the place Bille and I met all those years ago, to speak and to perform some of Bille’s writing during the event.
Hope you can join us.
And so to Brisbane again the other night for a playreading of the three writers in this year’s YPP (Young Playwrights’ Program) run by Queensland Theatre Company. The Bille Brown studio on the edges of Brisbane’s South Bank Cultural Precinct was heaving with young’uns plus a few oldies who’d come to cheer on the writers and the actors who’d rehearsed for a day or so. The place was also full of teens currently attending the annual TRW (Theatre Residency Week) … all these acronyms are apparently very cool. This year’s lot had devised and performed the entire novel of Candide the night before! Now there’s cheek (and stamina) for you. It was a night of energy, high spirits, and no small amount of talent on display.
Queensland Theatre Company’s quiet claim to fame is its youth and education programs that run year-long and which cater for young artists, creatives and theatre-lovers. From their artist in schools programs and workshops to state and national tours, work experience opportunities, a season of plays specially devised to appeal to the almighty schools’ curriculum, plus the aforesaid TRW and YPP, there is now and always has been a determination by the state theatre company to work for and with Queensland’s young artists and creatives and their teachers. Well done, say I.