A Conversation Worth Having
A UNIQUE AND IMPORTANT TRIBUTE TO A YOUNG LIFE TAKEN TOO SOON BY THE DISEASE OF DEPRESSION
For the first time ever, on Friday 26th August 2016, nine of Sydney’s finest community musical theatre companies held a massive combined concert to raise funds for the mental health charities ‘The Black Dog Institute’ and ‘beyondblue’.
Earlier in 2016, the Sydney musical theatre community mourned the passing of one of its talented brothers, James Jonathan. James was a 27-year-old performer who engaged with numerous community theatre organisations in sharing his gifts and talents on stage. James was a talented young man who was well loved and respected among his peers. He gave tirelessly, always entertaining and creating happiness for those around him. His positive personality, beautiful bass voice and classic clean cut looks were just some of the wonderful qualities that contributed to his popularity, but tragically James was hiding a personal battle and took his own life.
While this event was a terrific night of entertainment, it also wanted to embrace our broader community, honour James and aim to establish a regular means of helping those within our ranks who need our support and need to know that they are not alone. As a collective of creative people, performers may be more prone than most to mental health issues, and we wanted to address this in a non-stigmatising, safe and educational way. Marc Levinston from beyondblue and JJ’s sister Koren addressed the audience briefly during the concert and funds raised from ticket sales were shared between beyondblue, and The Black Dog Institute.
If we can learn anything from this tragedy, it is that we need to look deeper than people’s public persona, we need to connect with each other emotionally, we need to raise people up rather than put people down, and we should never take for granted how fragile life is and how quickly it can be taken away.
With leading performers across so many theatre companies, this concert was a truly amazing event. There were also some terrific prizes from some generous sponsors on offer.
The organising committee, along with JJ’s family, invited everyone to come and support this very important event. It was a truly wonderful night for everyone to enjoy.
WITH THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES, SOCIETIES AND GUILDS WHO PERFORMED ON THE NIGHT
Miranda Musical, Engadine Society Musical Society, Bankstown Theatre Company, Willoughby Theatre Company, Strathfield Musical Society, Shire Music Theatre, Canterbury Theatre Guild, Rockdale Musical Society, The Regals Musical Society
AND A HUGE THANK YOU TO THE SPONSORS!
Loud & Clear Audio Pty Ltd
Peter Appleyard Graphics
The evening showcased the splendid depth of talent across our community, celebrated our similarities and differences, opened up some much needed dialogue on mental health among our friends, and acknowledged the life and contribution of our departed brother James Jonathon.
Please visit the Facebook page “A Conversation Worth Having” to see the extraordinary singers and actors who lent their talents to this extraordinary evening.
The concerts’ organisers are aware that some supporters were unable to attend the concert. To this end the organisers have created an option for people to donate online in memory of James to either 'Beyond Blue' or 'The Black Dog Institute'. Please click on their logos above to go to their In Memoriam donation pages.
James’ family are overwhelmed with the amount of support this event has already received and are very grateful.
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