18 June 2016
ANDREW HASTIE MP, MEMBER FOR CANNING,
AND SENATOR DEAN SMITH.
Well ladies and gentlemen, can I also acknowledge the judges here through Ben Elton. Each of you are cultural icons. And it means a great deal, I know, to the actors and all of us that you grace us with your presence and being part of today. So thank you again so much for being here with us.
Can I also acknowledge those who teach our actors. I know that for you, what you do each and every day, when you get up is far more than a job. It’s a calling. It’s something you can’t resist. It’s something you’ve got to do. So thank you for the contribution that you make to the lives of these young people.
When Andrew mentioned to me that he had the idea for a Shakespeare competition, I thought: ‘what a good idea’. But as I sat here today watching each of the actors, I thought: ‘no, this is a great idea’. So Andrew, to you and to Dean, thank you for instigating this competition.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think we should be very grateful to the actors that we have here with us today. Grateful to them for giving us the gift of vulnerability. You have got on stage. You have opened yourselves to us. You have put yourselves in our trust. And that is something that is incredibly brave.
And it’s something that’s a gift to us, because there aren’t many opportunities in our absolutely crazy lives where we have the opportunity to pause, and to reflect on what is important, and what it is that makes us human. And you have given us that opportunity. And the best vehicle of all, to explore what it is to be human, is through the works of William Shakespeare. He displays for us, in his plays, what it is that makes us tick, what our vulnerabilities are. He tells us that ultimately: who we are is in our hands. It’s our choice as to whether we’re victims in a situation or whether we will be triumphant. So again, thank you to you for what you have given to us today.
But, now we come to the moment at hand, the judges have had an incredibly, incredibly difficult task. As Ben said, everyone is a winner here today. I don’t know about the rest of you in the audience, but when I was in Year 11 or 12, I didn’t have the poise or confidence that these young people have. So congratulations to you all.