As expected, theatre unites to help out

This Sunday, January 23, Australia’s Arts community will be out in force to raise funds for the victims of recent floods in Queensland.

This Sunday, January 23, Australia’s Arts community will be out in force to raise funds for the victims of recent floods in Queensland.

Deni Hines, Bob Downe, David Harris, Lucy Maunder and Andy Conaghan are among the star line-up for the Flood Light Benefit Concert, set to take place at SLIDE bar in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst.

Having already received a $5000 donation, the Flood Light Benefit team are hopeful they will make a significant contribution to the disaster relief fund.

Born out of a feeling of helplessness and a compelling drive to help fellow Australians in need, this benefit concert has become bigger than Ben Hur in a matter of days, thanks to the help of social networking.

“I thought, ‘There’s gotta be something I can do’,” said Rockhampton native and star of the upcoming show The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Andy Conaghan.

“Some other people were talking on Facebook and feeling similarly. Catherine Alcorn (producer), who is fantastic, said ‘Let’s do a benefit’’ and that’s how Flood Light came about.”

He described his feeling of helplessness as both his television and computer screens showed the three towns his parents and two sisters live in completely devastated by the raging flood waters.

“My big sister is up in Gatton, and she’s about to have a baby as well. Her and her husband had to get out very quickly,” Conaghan said.

“Mum and Dad are in Rockhampton, which was hit pretty hard, and my little sister is in Brisbane – so that’s my family in three separate parts of Queensland, affected.”

Conaghan excitedly rattled off some newly added performers for the event, including Christa Huges (lead singer from Machine Gun Fellatio), Veroushka Darling, DJ Alex Taylor and Lucy Durack [pictured].

Durack, along with her fellow Wicked cast members, was preparing for the show’s first preview at QPAC in Brisbane when they were evacuated from the building.

“We were in the middle of a technical rehearsal in the QPAC building, which is on the river,” Durack recalls.

The cast were apprehensive about the flood warnings, and for very good reason. The underground QPAC car-park Durack described as “an aquarium”, and they were evacuated from the centre a few hours before the scheduled preview.

“What was very strange about the Brisbane flood, as compared to the devastating flash flooding in other towns, was that it came as a slow, creeping of water,” she saod. 

Luckily, the cast and crew were able to be moved from the CBD back to their home bases without any issues, and Durack spoke very highly of Wicked’s management of the crisis.

Wicked did a really great job of keeping us informed as best they could, and although we were told we may have had power outages, we were very lucky. Buildings on either side were without power,” she said.

Durack is looking forward to performing in the Flood Light Benefit on her last day away from the Wicked set.

“The most amazing thing was watching the people of Queensland. They were really incredible – such an amazing show of strength. The people pulled together,” Durack said.

The Flood Light Benefit will be celebrating the strength of the Australian spirit and need your help to raise funds for this extremely worthy cause.

A silent auction, raffle and an evening of stellar performances is reason to come out on a Sunday night. That it’s supporting such a wonderful cause means there is no reason NOT to come!

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