For a man often regarded as the bard of modern Australia, Paul Kelly’s most treasured possession isn’t all that surprising: a three-volume collection of Shakespeare’s works that weighs as much as a small child. His latest album – Seven Sonnets & A Song – is a tribute to the legendary playwright, with Kelly performing his own takes on Shakespeare's poetic explorations of love and lust.
On the morning of Saturday 23 April – as the clock strikes midnight in Stratford-Upon-Avon, marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death – Kelly joins forces with Alice Keath and Vika and Linda Bull for a special performance of the album, and a discussion of one bard’s affinity for another.
Paul Kelly was born in Adelaide, one of nine children, in 1955. He wrote his first song in 1976 and has been making records since 1978, over thirty to date. He has collaborated with many other songwriters and written music for film and theatre. His prose has appeared in Meanjin, The Monthly, Rolling Stone and the Age, and in 2010 he published a ‘mongrel memoir’, How to Make Gravy. Love is Strong as Death: Poems chosen by Paul Kelly was published in 2019. His most recent albums are 2019’s Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds and 2020's Please Leave Your Light On, with Paul Grabowsky.
Alison Whyte is a multi-award winning Australian actor of stage and screen.
Bert is an Australian actor, recently Green Room-nominated for his body of work in theatre. He is known for a variety of shows across the country, including Lungs, I Am a Miracle, Birdland, Timeshare, The Good Person of Szechwan, Let’s Get It On, When I Fall in Love – The Nat King Cole Story and The Mountaintop (Green Room Award nominee), and as an original cast member of Rupert (MTC and Washington US tour).
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Clarke is the ABIA and Indie award winning author of over nine books for adults and children, including the critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil, the best-selling memoir The Hate Race, the Victorian Premier’s Award winning poetry collection Carrying the World, and the Boston Globe/Horn Prize winning picture book The Patchwork Bike, illustrated by Van T. Rudd.
She is the editor of Best Australian Stories 2017, and Growing Up African in Australia. Her forthcoming poetry collection is How Decent Folk Behave (Hachette).