News & Events

25 November 2019

Shakespeare Q&A with John Bell AO OBE

The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation recently hosted John Bell AO OBE, actor, theatre director and founder of Bell Shakespeare, in conversation with our CEO Professor Simon Haines.
So how did John Bell’s life-long love of Shakespeare begin? Which is his favourite play, his favourite quote, the play he recommends people new to Shakespeare read or watch first?
Ahead of our event John Bell answered questions on what Shakespeare means to him.

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25 November 2019

Shakespeare Q&A with Professor Simon Haines

The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation recently hosted John Bell AO OBE, actor, theatre director and founder of Bell Shakespeare, in conversation with our CEO Professor Simon Haines.
While many Australians owe their first experience of Shakespeare on the stage to John Bell, Professor Haines has also introduced generations of students to the works of Shakespeare through his distinguished academic career.
Ahead of our event Professor Haines answered questions on what Shakespeare means to him.

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25 November 2019

John Bell AO OBE – Distinguished Speaker

On Tuesday 19 November John Bell AO OBE, actor, theatre director, founder of Bell Shakespeare, joined our CEO Professor Simon Haines for a conversation on Shakespeare and Bell’s remarkable career. It was our eighth and final Ramsay lecture event for 2019.

 

 

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18 November 2019

Ramsay Centre and The University of Queensland sign Philanthropic Agreement

STATEMENT FROM CEO PROFESSOR SIMON HAINES

 Sydney, Monday 18 November 2019: As part of a philanthropic gift to the Humanities in Australia, the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation has signed an agreement with the University of Queensland (UQ) to fund a new Western Civilisation study program and related scholarships, beginning in 2020.

This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with UQ in August this year.

Worth upwards of $50 million over 8 years, the Philanthropic Agreement will enable UQ to offer at least 150 undergraduate scholarships and hire world-class educators to teach its program.

From next year students will be able to study Western Civilisation in either UQ’s Bachelor of Advanced Humanities (Honours) degree, or in its Bachelor of Humanities/Bachelor of Laws (Honours) dual degree.

The study program will be led by internationally-acclaimed classicist Professor Alastair Blanshard and promises to immerse students in “…a creative and diverse curriculum with a strong focus on key intellectual works – artistic, musical, literary – that have shaped western civilisation from antiquity to the current day.”

Scholarships will be awarded to academic high achievers who desire to make a difference. UQ is seeking applications from school leavers who are creative and intellectually curious, with the critical skills necessary to challenge the status quo and cross boundaries, and who value discussion, debate and the opportunity to learn from others.

This is the second university partnership for the Centre, following its partnership with the University of Wollongong. Together with UQ we are excited about the wonderful opportunity for both students and teachers in the Humanities that this partnership presents.

The partnership is made possible through the extraordinary generosity of the late Paul Ramsay AO, founder of Ramsay Health Care.

Students interested in learning more about Western Civilisation study at UQ and the UQ Ramsay Undergraduate Scholarship can find more information at https://scholarships.uq.edu.au/scholarship/uq-ramsay-undergraduate-scholarship-western-civilisation#qt-scholarship_tabs-foundation-tabs-1

Media contact: Sarah Switzer 0407 816 098/ sarah.switzer@ramsaycentre.org

 For more information on the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation please visit our website: www.ramsaycentre.org

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7 November 2019

SHAKESPEARE: Q&A with CEO Professor Simon Haines

On 19 November the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation will host John Bell AO OBE, actor, theatre director and founder of Bell Shakespeare, in conversation with our CEO Professor Simon Haines.
While many Australians owe their first experience of Shakespeare on the stage to John Bell, Professor Haines has also introduced generations of students to the works of Shakespeare through his distinguished academic career.
In preparation for their dialogue, Professor Haines answers questions on what Shakespeare means to him.

  •  What was the first Shakespeare you read or saw? A Macbeth production at age 9 in my boys’ boarding school, the three witches were school prefects aged 13 and the cauldron boil and bubble scene with lots of shrieks and cackles was a big hit; and Julius Caesar in third year, we thought “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” was a hilarious line.
  • Which is your favourite Shakespeare play and why? Antony and Cleopatra because it’s such a grown-up play with such huge historical and emotional scope; and Comedy of Errors because you just can’t stop laughing.
  • Which Shakespeare play would you recommend people read or watch first? Macbeth is hard to beat in terms of gripping atmosphere.
  • Which Shakespeare have you found to be the most popular with young people? Why do you think that is the case? Romeo and Juliet probably. It’s obviously so easy for young people to identify with. Plus Macbeth (see above) and Othello, powerful male-female relationships and plenty of death and fight scenes.
  • Which Shakespeare play do you think is underrated? Troilus and Cressida. People are often uneasy with it as neither quite comic nor tragic – but its often bitter take on sexuality and politics is extraordinary.
  • Why do Shakespeare’s plays deserve ‘great book’ status? There is no other gallery of lives created out of language quite like this one. Only Greek epic and tragedy, and a truly great novelist such as Tolstoy, can compare in terms of emotional range and depth.
  • Favourite Shakespeare performances? John Bell’s Hamlet in I think 1974! My daughter Catherine as Cleopatra in Oxford in 2011; my son Will as Timon at the Bondi Pavilion in 2008.
  • Favourite Shakespeare line? Impossible question. Some random ones: Antony being a bit vain as he talks about getting older: “Though grey do something mingle with our younger brown”. Cleopatra: “Oh, my oblivion is a very Antony, and I am all forgotten”. Prospero’s “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep”. Hamlet: “the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought”. Richard II: “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me”……

Simon Haines is the editor of Shakespeare and Value, recently published in Routledge’s authoritative Shakespeare International Yearbook series. The volume contains one essay each by six major international Shakespearean scholars in addition to Simon’s two: the title essay, and a second contribution, on Measure for Measure, called “The Life of Pi”. Simon has also recently published a chapter on “Recognition in Shakespeare and Hegel” in Palgrave’s Shakespeare and Emotions, discussing Othello, King Lear and Antony and Cleopatra.

He has given many talks and addresses on Shakespeare including “Unhappy Consciousness in the Merchant of Venice at the prestigious annual Kingston Shakespeare Seminar at Garrick’s Temple; and “Shakespeare and Ideology” at the Lowy Institute. For seven years Simon ran the highly successful Chinese Universities Shakespeare Festival in Hong Kong, with up to fifty mainland and Hong Kong competing teams and twelve finalists each year. He has taught Shakespeare in universities for eighteen years.

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7 November 2019

SHAKESPEARE: John Bell AO OBE in conversation with Professor Simon Haines

 What was your first experience of a Shakespeare play? A struggle in a school classroom? An inspiring teacher? A revelation at a theatre?

 For many living Australians, their first experience of Shakespeare on stage would have been thanks to John Bell AO OBE, actor, theatre director, founder of Bell Shakespeare, and guest of the Ramsay Centre for our eighth and final Ramsay Lecture for 2019.

 John Bell will be interviewed on 19 November by Ramsay Centre CEO Professor Simon Haines, who has introduced many students to Shakespeare through his university teaching career.

 “It is a great privilege for the Centre to host John Bell,” Professor Haines said. “Shakespeare’s works are given ‘great books’ status because there is no other gallery of lives created out of language quite like this one. And no one has done more to ensure Australians have exposure to that richness of experience than John Bell.”

 John Bell founded The Bell Shakespeare Company in 1990 where he served as Director until 2015. His productions include more than 15 of Shakespeare’s greatest works, which have been played to almost 2.5 million Australians. He is one of the nation’s most illustrious theatre personalities, an award-winning actor, acclaimed director, “torch-bearing educationalist and speaker on leadership.” He has an honorary doctorate of Letters from the University of Sydney, New South Wales and Newcastle; and is one of Australia’s official ‘living treasures’.

 Professor Simon Haines is the editor of Shakespeare and Value, recently published in Routledge’s authoritative Shakespeare International Yearbook series. He has published a number of articles and given many talks and addresses on Shakespeare. For seven years he ran the Chinese Universities Shakespeare Festival in Hong Kong, with up to fifty teams competing from mainland China and Hong Kong. He has taught Shakespeare in universities for many years.

 The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation was created with an endowment from the late Paul Ramsay AO, founder of Ramsay Health Care, to promote a deeper understanding of western civilisation. The Ramsay Lecture series hosts speakers from all walks of life who have important and interesting perspectives relating to the world and our western heritage.

Printed versions of the lectures and video podcasts are available via the ‘News and Events’ section of our website: www.ramsaycentre.org

Media contact: Sarah Switzer 0407 816 098.

Please note the John Bell event is fully subscribed.

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10 September 2019

Rachel Fulton Brown – Distinguished Speaker

On Wednesday 14 August Rachel Fulton Brown from the University of Chicago delivered the sixth Ramsay Lecture for 2019 at the Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel. The title of her lecture was “Great Books of the Middle Ages; and how to read them”

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Wisdom is the recovery of innocence at the far end of experience"
- David Bentley Hart