12 July 2006

Religion, sport, politics and probably sex will be raked over at the world’s biggest Shakespeare festival in Brisbane this month — but who cares?

`Is Shakespeare still relevant?` will be a question discussed at one of three public Shakespeare Sessions to coincide with The University of Queensland-hosted
VIII World Shakespeare Congress

“The Congress will be a bonanza of Bardolatry, with hundreds of Shakespeare devotees from at least 30 countries rapt in Bard-related events,” said the Congress Convenor, Executive Dean of UQ’s Faculty of Arts, Professor Richard Fotheringham.

“Topics will range from Shakespeare and Islam to Shakespeare’s role as a sporting motivator, and we can expect references to sex and politics (especially as two speakers are former politicians).

“But does anyone else care?

“To involve the public in this question we’ll have a forum from 7.30pm-9pm on Tuesday, July 18, featuring two international theatre directors: Gale Edwards (Australia / UK), Graham Watts (USA), and two international academics Yvette Khouryi (Lebanon/UK) and Ruru Li (China/UK).

“Writer and broadcaster Phillip Adams will facilitate the session, and will later broadcast the session on Late Night Live on ABC Radio National,” Professor Fotheringham said.

The other Shakespeare Sessions will be:

• A rehearsed reading of the world’s first English translation of Forget Hamlet by Jawad Al-Asadi (7.30pm - 9pm, Monday July 17).

The play has been especially translated from Arabic to English for the World Shakespeare Congress. Brisbane actor-director Carol Burns will direct the play, which will be followed by discussions on Shakespeare in the Arabic world. Actors will include UQ graduate and current NIDA student Yalin Ozecelik and hip hop artist NOMISe. The Shakespeare Congress’s Senior Program Manager, Melissa Western, will facilitate a panel discussion involving: Rafik Darragi of the University of Tunis; Yvette Khoury of Kings College, London; and Graham Holderness of the University of Hertsfordshire.

• ‘Shakespeare as a motivational tool in sports and business’ (7.30pm - 9pm, Wednesday July 19).
Ric Charlesworth, one of Australia’s most successful sporting coaches (he took the Hockeyroos to world dominance including dual Olympic gold) and author of Shakespeare the Coach, will facilitate a panel discussion involving: Steve Haddan, Channel Nine Sports Presenter / Reporter, and Sue Hunt, Director of CarriageWorks (former Director of Performing Arts at the Sydney Opera House, and former General Manager, Queensland Theatre Company).

All sessions will be in the Main Auditorium, Brisbane City Hall.

Tickets are included in Congress delegate registrations, although bookings are required. Tickets to non-delegates are $10 each (cash only at the door).

For more information or to make a booking email

For more information on the VIII World Shakespeare Congress go to:

Media contacts: VIII World Shakespeare Congress Senior Program Manager Melissa Western (telephone 07 3365 1125, melissa.western@uq.edu.au), or Fiona Kennedy at UQ Communications (telephone 07 3365 1088, mobile 0413 380 012).