Townsville-Trained Talent take home Matildas

Meg Bowden in Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble's 'A Winter's Tale.' IMAGE: Benjamin Prindable

Townsville export and TheatreiNQ alumna, Meg Bowden, has been recognised with one of Queensland’s most prestigious performing arts awards.

Meg was awarded the Matilda Awards’ Bille Brown Award for Best Emerging Artist, for her involvement in Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble’s (QSE) The Winter’s Tale earlier this week. We caught up with Meg to congratulate her, and find out how her time in Townsville prepared her for a future on stage.

Congratulations again, Meg! How were you feeling when they read your name out?
So surprised! Truly! I was surrounded by my theatre company here in Brisbane (QSE) and my friends and family – had my friends holding one hand and my boyfriend the other. Couldn’t believe it for a second and then I made my way to the stage as quickly as possible!

To even be nominated for a Matilda Award is a huge feat. What does winning mean to you?
It’s such a wonderful thing to be recognised for something you are so passionate about! Winning to me means something huge. I have been chipping away here in Brisbane to create a name for myself, to push my way through the front door, and I have managed to do so with this award! I see it right now beside me and it makes my heart so warm.

This is pretty great recognition for the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble too, they scored a few wins! How has your time been with them?
How lucky am I to be involved in such a company! In early 2017 I was taken on board with QSE as one of their Apprentices and felt so welcomed into their ensemble. Throughout the six-month program I attended numerous workshops on movement, voice and Shakespeare and felt myself blossom as an actor under their guidance. They are a beautiful and humble team and I can’t wait for the next time we perform together.

TheatreiNQ Bridge Project alumni Meg Bowden took home the Bille Brown Award for Best Emerging Artist at the 2017/18 Matilda Awards. IMAGE: Elise Gellweiler (Milque Photography)

Tell me a bit about your role in The Winter’s Tale?
The QSE performed this in August/September last year at the Amphitheatre in Roma Street Parklands. I managed to score myself two roles: Mamillius (a 9-year-old prince) and Perdita (a 16-year-old shepherd-turned-princess). The roles were far apart in many ways (gender specifically), but I had so much fun with it! They were both wild and carefree spirits; Mamillius was playful and energetic and Perdita was witty and elegant.

What productions are in the works for you this year?
I am playing this year by ear mostly! A close friend (and fellow TheatreiNQ actor) Emma Lamberton and I are in the process of putting on a play written by a local Brisbane playwright! But that’s all I can say for now until we get everything locked in, more details to come!

Where did your passion for Shakespeare come from?
I don’t believe I ever liked reading Shakespeare in English classes as a teenager. It wasn’t until I was given a scene to perform in Drama class that I truly understood. The odd thing about Shakespeare is that sometimes it’s a challenge to read but can be so easily understood once spoken. I also did stage crew for the TheatreiNQ production of King Lear in 2012 and was amazed at how the script can come to life.

How did your time with TheatreiNQ prepare you for performing in the big smoke?
Such a smile appears on my face every time I see the word TheatreiNQ. I hold them in such high regard and they were the first to ever take a chance on me. They are what I believe every ensemble should be: strong, caring, hard working, passionate and ever so welcoming. When I made the decision to move, Artistic Director Terri Brabon and I had many conversations about what it would be like. That I would have to be determined and work hard to find my place down here. TheatreiNQ taught me how to be my best self and how to offer everything I have to productions.

Would you consider sneaking North for another TheatreiNQ production one day?
In a heartbeat! I adore their productions and every single person in that company!

What advice do you have for those people who may only just be starting out and not sure how to get a foot in the door?
Never lose the passion you had when you first started. It is what drives and motivates you to do your very best, and to never stop training and learning to be better.

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