Michael Gow to leave Queensland Theatre Company

After more than 10 years at the helm, Michael Gow, the Artistic Director of Queensland Theatre Company has declined a further contract with the Company, and is leaving to pursue freelance writing and directing.  The announcement was made jointly today in a media release by Mr Gow and Dr Kate Foy, Chairman of the Board.

Michael Gow has noted how much he enjoys running the Company, and that he was honoured and excited by the offer of a further contract.  However, he added ‘after an intense period of reflection,’ and ‘a growing need to get back to myself as a writer,’ he had ‘sadly declined’ to continue in the state theatre company’s top job.

Kate Foy noted the Board’s natural disappointment at Michael’s decision, but that it understood and supported his decision completely.  ‘The Board has been delighted with Michael’s performance during the past ten years; he’s been a fine leader, and a hard-working and visionary Artistic Director.’  She noted Mr Gow’s programming boldness and the many initiatives he has brought to the Company during his period as AD.  She went on

The Company’s writing development and education programs are not always as visible to the general public as is its mainstage work, but the success of these significant developmental initiatives under Michael Gow, as well as his other achievements, has meant that his tenure as Artistic Director will undoubtedly be seen as one of enduring importance in the development and maturation of Queensland’s theatre.

Mr Gow will program the major part of the 2011 season, and continue his relationship with the company as a freelance artist.

Dr Foy noted that the Company will be looking to appoint a new Artistic Director by the middle of the year.  It will be an open recruitment process, and is anticipated to take up to five months.

This Week in Queensland Theatre: February 22-28

Looking over Brisbane's South Bank
Image by Dramagirl via Flickr

For further details check company websites

It’s a quiet-ish week in Brisbane after a flurry of recent opening nights, industry events, and festivals.

The much-heralded Australian production of Avenue Q strolled into town last week for a season, and is playing at QPAC.

Continuing:

Hamlet by William Shakespeare dir David Berthold at the Roundhouse.  Check the updated Greenroom reviews index.

The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane dir Michael Gow at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC  Check the updated Greenroom reviews index.

Other:

Artistic Director Michael Gow announces he will leave Queensland Theatre Company in August after more than 10 years.  He will pursue his career as a freelance writer, director and will retain his association with the Company in this capacity.

Reviews and Reviewers: a poll

UPDATE Nov 2011: Greenroom used to collect reviews into an index at the beginning of our time here i.e., when other groups and companies were not making it quite so easy for people. A couple of years on social media has really taken a grip and it’s not hard to access online versions of play reviews i.e., from those big media companies who bother to publish them on the web as well as from independent arts writers and bloggers. Indeed, there is far more writing about the arts in general now that we have so much free space in cyberspace. The issue of quality? Ah, well, another can of worms there.

Greenroom suggested last year – after the results of a poll on whether or not theatre workers read reviews – that another poll on the quality of theatre reviewing might be in order sometime.  Perhaps it’s always time to mull over such a thing – but that time is surely right now at the start of a new theatre season here.  Theatre reviewers around the traps have flexed their fingers over keyboards and let rip with their take on the new and older shows like Hamlet and The Little Dog Laughed which have opened this month in Brisbane at the city’s two full-time professional companies.  Play reviews posted to blogsites generally allow commentary, and readers – who may or may not have seen the plays being reviewed – are letting rip in return with their opinions on well … just about anything.

Michael Billington (Guardian) and Charles Isherwood (New York Times) – both distinguished reviewers – have also blogged on the business of being a play critic.  I particularly like Billington’s little piece from earlier this week on what you need to be a theatre critic.  There are four points that he makes, and they’re worth a look – I’ll let you click through and read for yourself.  Isherwood, in a Q&A post to his readers puts it this way

Maybe the best analogy is to consider us aesthetic referees – calling ‘em like we see ‘em. That is the ideal anyway. My responsibility is to write honestly, and (I hope) with eloquence and understanding and maybe even passion about what I see.

But, it’s time for that poll.  Here’s your chance to say what you think poll-style.  It’s open for two weeks, so have your say and share it round.  The results will be published here when the poll closes.

And, just in case you didn’t know, Greenroom does its best to gather all reviews into an index here on site.  You can find links to online published reviews and blog commentary by clicking our home page calendar during a play’s season; you’ll find links there to all shows entered in the calendar and the reviews we’ve ‘captured.’  Just follow the links to their originating sites.  To save you the trouble this time, here they are for La Boite’s Hamlet, and here for Queensland Theatre Company’s  The Little Dog Laughed.

World Theatre Day – #wtd10 and Dame Jude Does the Honours

Dench at the 2007 BAFTAs
Image via Wikipedia

You’ve seen the teaser tweets (maybe), or perhaps you’ve heard about it, so here’s a heads-up that World Theatre Day 2010 is now just under 6 weeks away.  March 27 is the day on which theatre lovers around the world – companies, groups, and individuals – do something to celebrate or mark the day when theatre is foremost in our minds.  It’s a perfect time to start organising what you’re going to do, and to send it through to the blog, or to tweet about it, or send in to the Facebook fan page.  You are a fan and following World Theatre Day on Twitter, aren’t you?

One of the traditions is to read the annual address before the curtain, or to pin it up on a company notice-board, or just to read it yourself and let it inspire you and your tribe.  The 2010 World Theatre Day address is from Dame Judi DenchHere it is for you.

There’s lots that you can do on the day … while you’re reading the address from Dame Jude, have a look at the rest of the website and see if any ideas there strike your fancy.  Everyone’s madly busy most of the time, so the WTD10 organisers suggest you mark the day by incorporating an acknowledgment as part of your programming or daily routine.  What you need to do is let everyone know what you’re up to, promote it in your own community, and then share – images, video, tweets, whatever works for you.

Last year in from Brisbane there were video interviews with cast and audience members at the after-party for That Face (Queensland Theatre Company).  23rd Productions recorded voxpops with their cast and the audience of The Pilloman then playing.  XSentertainment on the Sunshine Coast did a flashmob at midday at Sunshine Plaza, and QSE held a free, open rehearsal.  Images and videos from events made their way through to the WTD Tumblog and that was only from local celebrations … theatre lovers in the US and the UK, in Brazil and India held parties, rallies, read the address, streamed readings … and … held parties.  Seems that’s a great way to do it!

Another thing you can do right now – push this post out to your networks – Facebook, Twitter etc.  The more the merrier!

This Week in Queensland Theatre: February 15-21

Cover of "Hamlet"
Cover of Hamlet

For further details check company websites

The National Play Festival is in town with a huge range of readings, workshops and presentations.  You can get the details on their terrific website.   Hamlet and The Little Dog Laughed continue for La Boite and Queensland Theatre Company respectively.  Blog discussions on both productions can be found by following the links to posts in Greenroom’s live feed column on the home page.  Incidentally, you might be interested in this poster which just popped up out of nowhere; it’s from the the 2000 film production of Hamlet in which Ethan Hawke appeared as our film-student hero.

Opening:

The National Play Festival

Continuing:

Hamlet by William Shakespeare dir David Berthold at the Roundhouse

The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane dir Michael Gow at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC


Other:

Commissioning W/rights Industry Panel at !Metro Arts Studio (6.3opm Tuesday) followed by a free performance of  Chasing the Lollyman by Mark Sheppard dir Liz Skitch Debase TC