The Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship and Fortinbras Proudfoot Esq Foundation’s Middle-Earth Dinner Dance returns for its fifth and biggest year yet.
It’s an understatement to call Peter Kenny just a Tolkien fan. Peter has been crowned the world’s biggest 'Hobbit' fan. “I own a collection of about 600-700 books and dozens and dozens of collectables,” Peter says. “Probably all up I have over 1,000 items. The house is like a museum.”
Peter’s obsession with all things Middle-Earth began in 1976.
“I had never heard of Tolkien before that,” Peter tells. “He was well-known in the United States and Europe, but not so much here in Australia, except for among people who were, for want for a better word, hippies. Some friends of mine, who with one look would say they look like hippies, gave me ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ as a birthday present. That’s where it began. I fell in love with the book and have been madly passionate about it ever since.”
Peter’s fandom goes further than just his collection. He’s met many of the actors, attended the world premiere of the film ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, writes poems based on Middle-Earth under the hobbit name Fortinbras Proudfoot Esquire and founded the Brisbane Tolkien Fellowship.
“Originally there was a Brisbane Tolkien Appreciation Association. Then it folded. So I decided that we better keep this group going and we give it a new name.”
The biggest night of the year for the Fellowship is the Middle-Earth Dinner Dance. “We have a guest singer come along who sings songs from Middle-Earth. We have dinner, raffles, and a costume parade,” Peter details.
Last year’s event big guest was New Zealand actor Jed Brophy. Jed has appeared in a variety of roles in the films, including Nazgul in ‘The Fellowship Of The Ring’ and most recently as dwarf Nori in ‘The Hobbit’ films. Jed returns for another feast, joined by Peter Hambleton and John Callen, who play fellow dwarves Gloin and Oin, respectively.
“I’ve met these guys because the media has tagged me as the world’s biggest 'Hobbit' fan and it has stuck. But having that tag has made it a little bit easier for me to meet these guys,” Peter laughs.
Along with the cast members, the Fellowship has made the event bigger by splitting it into two nights: a Friday night panel and the Dinner Dance on Saturday.
“We want to do a panel night on the Friday night so that people can actually meet them. What I found last year with Jed Brophy there, was not everyone got to meet him because on the dinner dance night there’s a whole timetable to run through. So this year I decided we’d have two nights.”
“It’s a good chance for people to actually meet the guys and stand around and talk to them, as well as the panel itself where they can ask them questions and the guys will bring a few things to show them,” Peter adds.
Proceeds from the events will be donated to the Pyjama Foundation, who assist children in foster care.
“For the last five years we’ve been donating money and books to them,” Peter says. “We have our own programme called ‘Hobbits For Kids In Care’. Any money we raise we give to the Pyjama Foundation, who do mentoring programmes for children in care.”