Congratulations Isabella Kirkwood on her Barbara Sisley Award Celebrations at Parliament House


QACI would like to congratulate Isabella Kirkwood on her outstanding achievement in her AMEB Drama and Performance. Isabella who is also a member of the Queensland Theatre Youth Ensemble, for 2018 and 2019 recently received The Barbara Sisley Award, an award celebrating the outstanding achievements of students who have attained the highest results in Queensland for their AMEB (Drama and Performance) and Trinity College London (Speech and Drama) examinations from the preceding year.  These awards are held annually at Queensland’s Parliament House.

Barbara Sisley was a creative and dynamic actor, director, producer, and teacher of Speech and Drama; a founding member of the Art of Speech Association (now the Communication, Speech and Performance Teachers Inc), and a co-founder of the Brisbane Repertory Theatre (now known as La Boîte Theatre Company - the oldest theatre company in Queensland).  She had an enormous influence on the development of theatre, actor training and the Speech and Drama teaching profession in Queensland.  After her death, the CSPT Inc established the Barbara Sisley Scholarships, to honour the outstanding contribution of Miss Sisley to the association and to the Arts in Queensland. [1]

Isabella is to be congratulated for her efforts and has provided us with an insight into the work that she performed at the celebrations.

Accepting this award and performing in Parliament House was definitely an honour, especially since this was my second time receiving The Barbara Sisley award (the first when I completed my 1st Grade exam in 2014). Being surrounded by my family, reconnecting with old friends and meeting new people from around Queensland was a definite highlight of the evening. I found that the best part of the night was when I performed a piece from my upcoming AMEB exam.

The piece I performed is from Sophocles’ Antigone, a character that has inspired me throughout my own life as well as in theatre. Antigone’s monologue when she challenges her uncle Creon’s power (the now-ruling king), is something that is definitely relevant today. In a world where the worth of a person is based on factors that they can’t control, I found hope in a play written over two thousand years ago. The courage that Antigone has is inspiring, especially since she is being belittled because she is a woman.

I also drew a lot of inspiration from the work of Anne Bogart, an American theatre maker and theorist that we have been studying at QACI. The practice that has been guiding me throughout this whole process is that ‘to be genuine when making theatre, the actor must risk becoming completely involved in their work and being embarrassed by what they do’, mentioned in one of her handbooks, A Director Prepares. My piece focused on the genuine and more human qualities of my character, forcing me to risk my ego so that I can become truly invested in my performance.

It was a truly amazing experience and I will continue to cherish it.

[1] The Barbara Sisley Awards 2019 Program, held at Queensland's Parliament House

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Last reviewed 18 June 2019
Last updated 18 June 2019