The arts community is shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of Australian theatre legend Bille Brown on Sunday, January 13.
Bille lost a secret battle with cancer, aged 61. A great actor and mentor, Bille touched many lives both on and off-stage with his talent, wisdom and generosity of spirit.
At age eighteen, Bille got his start through QTC’s Theatre Residency week and had his first mainstage production in 1971 withWrong Side of the Moon. He has since worked with QTC on twenty-nine productions and produced four of his own written works over a period spanning four decades.
Bille performed extensively in Australia at all the major theatres including the Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, State Theatre Company of South Australia, Bell Shakespeare Company, Company B, La Boite Theatre Company and at the Sydney Opera House.
Bille’s talent also took him abroad where he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company for many years and toured throughout Europe, Paris, Vienna, Berlin and Munich. He also performed on the West End and on Broadway.
Last year, Bille was nominated for a Helpmann award for best male actor for his performance in the STC — Malthouse production of The Histrionic.He also nominated for an Olivier award as the gender-bending Wicked Witch inThe Wizard of Oz.
For the past few years Bille was the Industry Ambassador for the Actors’ & Entertainers’ Benevolent Fund of Queensland.
In 2001, Bille was awarded the Centenary Medal “for distinguished service to the arts” and in 2011, Bille was named as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day Honours List, “for service to the performing arts as an actor and playwright, and to education”.
In recognition of his contribution to the arts in Queensland, QTC officially opened the Bille Brown in July 2002. The space is currently home to QTC’s Greenhouse program; a place for emerging artists, new works, exciting ideas and constant debate.
QTC Artistic Director Wesley Enoch said this was a time to remember and give support to each other. “The artistic community of Queensland and Australia has lost a true gentleman. We are part of Bille’s legacy,” he said.
Every actor, playwright, director, stage manager, designer, musician and all the teams who work in theatre in Queensland owe Bille a huge debt. He brought a sense of adventure, love and respect. His talent and love survives in us all.
- QTC Artistic Director Wesley Enoch
A fitting tribute, Bille aptly recites with seeming self-awareness of his own ‘stage’ in life, the famous piece, ‘All The World’s a Stage’ from Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
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