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Johnson, Clift and Cohen meet Hydra's muse

The lives of Canadian poet Leonard Cohen and Australian writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston intertwined on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960. Cohen became one of the world's most celebrated singer-songwriters. Clift received more recognition for her writing overseas than in Australia while Johnston's novel 'My Brother ...

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Teen titles dominate! The YA publishing industry

The Young Adult, or YA, publishing industry has exploded in recent years. But what is driving this surge in novels for teenagers? Join a panel of YA writers as they explore why this once niche market has become a literary phenomenon.

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Dorothea Mackellar's 'My country' as a song

Do you know a poem with the line 'I love a sunburnt country'? The poem is 'My country' by Dorothea Mackellar. Find out what inspired Mackellar to write this famous poem and how she felt about teenager Christine Roberts basing a song on it. This is a black-and-white clip from a 1967 current affairs program This Day Tonight.

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Whingeing and the pursuit of happiness

Playwright David Williamson has probed aspects of Australia's social conscience since the 1960s. See him and actors Mark Lee and Anne Tenney discussing issues raised in the 2012 production of his play 'Happiness'.

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The force of destiny in Harry Potter

Have you been upset when a favourite character in a book dies? You might be surprised to know that JK Rowling cried when she 'killed' one of her characters in 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'. Consider why the famous author found it necessary for someone to suffer a 'horrible, horrible death'.

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Harry Potter, angry teenager

Imagine if Harry had remained eleven years old in each of the seven books of the Harry Potter series. How different might the stories have been? Listen as JK Rowling argues the case for creating characters who change as they grow older.

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'Romeo and Juliet': true love's passion

One of the most famous love scenes of all time is when Romeo and Juliet pledge their love for each other. Shakespeare's imagery evocatively captures the passion of two young lovers torn apart by their feuding families. Explore this pivotal scene as it is brought to life by Miranda Tapsell and Damien Strouthos of Bell Shakespeare.

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'The Tempest': two sides of Caliban

Caliban is one of Shakespeare's most fascinating characters. Half human and the son of a witch, Caliban attacks Prospero's daughter Miranda. However, he is not without a sympathetic side. In this scene from Act 1.2 of 'The Tempest', with Miranda Tapsell, John Bell and Damien Strouthos of Bell Shakespeare, Caliban's impassioned ...

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'Romeo and Juliet': growing up in a hurry

Act 3.2 in 'Romeo and Juliet' is a pivotal moment in Juliet's character development. Shakespeare manages to compress months of growing up into a single potent scene. Join James Evans as he explores Juliet's soliloquy from the beginning of this scene, and what it reveals about her coming of age, with Miranda Tapsell and ...

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'Romeo and Juliet': the language of true love

There are moments of extraordinary light and beauty amid the tragedy of 'Romeo and Juliet'. Join James Evans and actor Damien Strouthos from Bell Shakespeare as they discuss Act 2.2. Damien explains how Shakespeare's use of language reveals the intense passion, as well as frustration, experienced by Romeo and Juliet.

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'Romeo and Juliet': galloping towards tragedy

Have you ever waited for someone with such anticipation that you felt you might burst? That's exactly the feeling experienced by Juliet, played by Miranda Tapsell of Bell Shakespeare, in this soliloquy as she calls on night to arrive and bring her new husband. Shakespeare's masterful use of dramatic irony puts the audience ...

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'Julius Caesar': comprehending Cassius

Cassius from Shakespeare's 'Julius Caesar' is a very complex character! Although conspiring to overthrow Julius Caesar, the motivation to do so appears to stem from patriotism to Rome. Or does it? Join Bell Shakespeare's James Evans as he discusses Shakespeare's characterisation of this historical figure with actors Kate ...

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'Julius Caesar': conspiracy and crime

In this early scene from Shakespeare's historical tragedy, Brutus and Cassius discuss Julius Caesar's right to rule. It acts as a prelude to the infamous conspiracy to assassinate Caesar. This performance by Hazem Shammas and Kate Mulvany of Bell Shakespeare reveals the persuasive power of language in Cassius' clever tongue ...

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'The Tempest': Shakespeare's farewell?

'The Tempest' is believed by some to be Shakespeare's final play. With this in mind, could Prospero in some ways represent Shakespeare himself? If so, Prospero's epilogue at the end of the play takes on a new and poignant resonance. John Bell discusses the themes of giving up and letting go with Bell Shakespeare's James ...

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'The Tempest': set free at last?

The epilogue in 'The Tempest' signals Prospero's acknowledgment that his time is over. He has given up his powers and seeks to return to Naples to live out the rest of his days. John Bell of Bell Shakespeare delivers Prospero's farewell directly to camera in a powerful and evocative plea for release.

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'The Tempest': the island of grief

Caliban, the half-human antagonist of 'The Tempest', is often depicted as monstrous. Yet, modern readings of the play characterise him more sympathetically, particularly when viewed through a postcolonial lens. Join Bell Shakespeare's James Evans as he discusses with John Bell how Prospero's treatment of Caliban reflects ...

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'Julius Caesar': justifying murder

Brutus is in a dilemma! His friend Julius Caesar is about to be crowned Emperor of Rome. However, Brutus is concerned that Caesar will become a tyrant, and he wants to do what is best for Rome. Join interviewer James Evans and actors John Bell and Hazem Shammas from Bell Shakespeare as they explore the language of this ...

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'Julius Caesar': the adder and the ladder

Shakespeare's tragedies provide his audiences with moral dilemmas. Julius Caesar is no exception. In this soliloquy, Brutus ponders whether assassinating Julius Caesar would be in the best interests of Rome. Shakespeare's use of metaphor provides the key to understanding Brutus' motivation, convincingly brought to life ...

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'Othello': is Iago the vilest villain?

Some characters we just love to hate! Iago, the villain in Shakespeare's 'Othello', is a perfect example: scheming, manipulative but oh-so-clever. James Evans and actor Damien Ryan both of Bell Shakespeare, discuss the complex role of Iago. Evans explains just how skilfully Shakespeare employs language to fashion the dark ...

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'Othello': the birth of the green-eyed monster

You'd never want to get into an argument with Shakespeare, who certainly knows how to use words to convince! A key moment in Othello is in Act 3, scene 3, where Iago plants the seeds of doubt in Othello's mind about his wife's faithfulness. It is a study in masterful manipulation, as illustrated by Hazem Shammas and Damien ...