Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

The Bard in the Bush

It was William Shakespeare’s birthday this week. He was born 450 years ago and I’m a big fan. I could go on (and on) about the beauty of his poetry, the drama of his storytelling and the unsurpassed versatility of his language but I won’t. I’ll let him tell you, in the quote at the bottom of this page.

Before you start wondering what has this got to do with strawberries in the desert, one of the most memorable nights I ever spent in Broken Hill was the night I joined a bunch of brave friends (none of them professional actors) and Julius Caesar in a creek bed.

With wine for courage and head torches for illumination we sat around a campfire built from the fallen branches of a coolabah tree and we read the play out loud, from start to finish.


Some passages were funny and some incomprehensible, others were stirring and some were surprisingly moving. It was Shakespeare in the raw; performances fuelled in the same way that filmmakers would have us believe he wrote – in his cups.

The leadership battles, political coups and assassination plots Shakespeare wrote about haven’t changed – slightly less bloody perhaps, but only in countries where killing people normally leads to a jail sentence. After four hundred and fifty years I’d like to think Shakespeare would have been pleased to hear his words resonate across an empty desert, in a land far removed from his birthplace.

I know I was. That night will stay in my memory for a long time.

May 1st marks the official publication of Love in the Outback, a deeply personal book that, for better or worse, is about to be shared, so I’ll leave you with this quote from Julius Caesar.

There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

I’ve spent many a long year bound in shallows and miseries, it’s time to ‘take the current when it serves’ and trust the book can sail on a full sea…

10 comments on “The Bard in the Bush

  1. monsoonwendy
    April 24, 2014

    Hola Deb! It was a WONDERFUL night. Incredibly memorable. I have everything crossed for you baby! Mal home on Sunday and table/ gazebo at the ready. I will want a blow by blow description of events told with Shakespearian gusto! Huge love, Wendy


    • debhuntinbrokenhill
      April 24, 2014

      Thanks so much Wendy, I’ll try and remember to ask someone to take lots of pics (something I only thought of as people were leaving the event in Sydney on Tuesday!) Hope you’re having a great time, haven’t read you latest post yet but it’s in my inbox! much love x


  2. Lisa McFayden
    April 24, 2014

    As do I Deb. I’m sure it will be a resounding success xxx


  3. debhuntinbrokenhill
    April 24, 2014

    Lisa you’re so gorgeous to say that, I can’t wait to see you to catch up on all your news x


  4. candidkay
    April 25, 2014

    I love the idea of reading Shakespeare with fire in the dark:). The closest I’ve come is a rainy weekend marathon with my college roommate, watching the entire set of Godfather movies. You win on the ambiance front:).


  5. debhuntinbrokenhill
    April 25, 2014

    Wow I’d have nightmares for weeks after a Godfather weekend! We once spent a weekend reading all of Shakespeare’s history plays out loud. Not much sleep that weekend!


  6. Adele Hughes
    April 27, 2014

    Deb – flow with the tide on May 1st and make sure you enjoy the ride. Your fortune… is in having such an interesting life to share! 😊 xx


  7. debhuntinbrokenhill
    April 27, 2014

    Thanks Adele, riding the wave and keeping my head above water so far! xx


  8. sharonmcintosh
    April 28, 2014

    Such beautiful comments from your supporters, Deb. The images of people reading Shakespeare around a roaring fire “in their cups” is grand. And you have a photo to illustrate that grand night.

    Now the sea is full, the tide lifting all in its path. Turn your boat to sail easily into the next journey of your life.
    In my thoughts this week, girl!


  9. debhuntinbrokenhill
    April 29, 2014

    Sharon thank you! What a lovely message of support. I’m off to Broken Hill tomorrow and I’m so looking forward to a dose of the Australian Ouback. Best wishes to you and thanks again for taking the time to comment


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This entry was posted on April 24, 2014 by and tagged , , , , , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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