Announcing the new Chair of Bell Shakespeare
4 Nov 2021
Katherine Brazenor is a barrister and Bell Shakespeare supporter based in Melbourne. Kat has been watching us for over a decade, having first seen The Players in high school.
In 2020, Kat hosted a professional development session with James Evans for her colleagues at the Victorian Bar, and since then has played an important role in developing the Lawyers’ Circle, to launch at the beginning of 2022.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to love Shakespeare's work?
My love of Shakespeare started early in high school, when I read a book called Shakespeare Without the Boring Bits. It was a summary of each of Shakespeare’s main plays that sought to make them more ‘accessible’ for children and young adults by re-writing them in ‘modern’ language. I loved it – I read it until it fell apart (quite literally, after I dropped it in the bath one too many times whilst reading). I then hunted down copies of the plays themselves, and spent hours wrestling with Shakespeare’s language, trying to understand what he was saying. Then, when I was in year 8 of high school, I was cast as Titania in our year’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I made my own costume out of a bedsheet and fashioned myself a makeshift floral crown out of flowers strategically purloined from the garden. I was a complete ham on stage, I’m sure, but I had a wonderful time, strutting about, loudly declaiming my lines as my floral crown progressively disintegrated during the course of the performance.
2. Tell us about your first experience with Bell Shakespeare?
When I was in high school, I attended a performance by Bell Shakespeare that was designed to introduce students to Macbeth. The actors delivered the same scene in several different ways, to demonstrate how profoundly the meaning of Shakespeare’s words can change depending on how the lines are delivered on stage. It was a wonderful experience that has stuck with me, many years later. It is one of the reasons that I support Bell Shakespeare – so that students can continue to have lovely experiences like this.
3. What has been your favourite Bell Shakespeare production and why?
Richard 3 with Kate Mulvany starring in the titular role was one of the most amazing productions I have ever seen. She was utterly astonishing as Richard III – even in the scenes in which she was not a direct participant, the choreography had her skulking about the periphery of the stage, eyes glittering with malice as she regarded the other actors. I was captivated from start to finish.
4. Why do you support Bell Shakespeare?
To co-opt a famous phrase: those who can’t act, provide financial support to those who can! I boast no skills as an actor, but I certainly appreciate what an art form it is. I derive so much enjoyment from the performances that Bell Shakespeare puts on – it is my absolute pleasure to return the favour in any way that I can.
If you would like to share your story about what moves you to support Bell Shakespeare, we would love to hear from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org