Record attendance at the 4MBS Brisbane Shakespeare Festival

CBAA News, 25th September 2012
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It appears that Brisbane audiences of all ages still love their Shakespeare! The sixth annual 4MBS Brisbane Shakespeare Festival concluded on Sunday 16 September, having brought the beauty of the Bard’s words to the trendy suburb of Bulimba for the Shakespeare on Oxford weekend and to the seaside suburb of Sandgate for the Shakespeare by the Bay weekend.

The highlight of both weekends was a free production in the parks of Shakespeare’s historical drama, Henry V. More than 2000 people attended the performance in Bulimba Memorial Park, with over 600 coming along to Einbunpin Lagoon park, Sandgate.

Directed by Opera Australia’s Tama Matheson, the new production was presented on five different stages, bringing the characters and the famous 1415 Battle of Agincourt to life in and amongst the audience. Theatre writer Alison Cotes reviewed the Bulimba performance in arts e-bulletin A Little Gossip, writing:

“The very talented Tama Matheson both directed this production and played the title role, and he excelled in both.”

The cast featured 14 very fine local professional actors, of whom Alison said: “I was particularly impressed by Gavin Edwards as Fluellen, making mighty swoops of his leek; Kevin Hides as a baffled Nym; Anna Mowry as a very sexy cheeky Katherine, Henry’s French bride; and of course the unsurpassable Eugene Gilfedder giving the best impression I’ve ever seen of someone being hanged.”

The 4MBS Brisbane Shakespeare Festival is produced by 4MBS Classic Arts, the live performance arm of classical music radio station 4MBS Classic FM – the only radio station in the world which produces a Shakespeare Festival. Now in its sixth year, the “Play in a Park” segment of the festival, supported by the Brisbane City Council, has become a beloved and highly anticipated quality outdoor event.

As Alison wrote:  “It’s not often you get as intelligent a production of Shakespeare as this, nor one as well-performed. With a show like this, 4MBS continues to make a strong mark on the cultural landscape of Brisbane.”

The festival also featured Shakespeare sonnet readings and performances in local cafes, authentic swordplay, music performances and a film screening. Most events were free and suitable for all ages – in keeping with the festival’s aim to make the great classics accessible to young and old.

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