Welcome to the Menagerie at the 17th Aurora Ball

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The cat’s out of the bag with tickets now on sale for the ‘Menagerie’ themed 2016 Aurora Annual Ball, returning to Sydney Town Hall on Saturday 18 June.

Released at an intimate event to a roomful of long-term supporters on Thursday night, this year’s theme invites guests to uncage their fabulous inner animal.

“We want to celebrate the exotic and unique creatures in our community – we want guests to showcase their animal instincts,” said Aurora Chairperson Alison King.

“Whether it’s the subtle flash of a feather or a full scaled suit, we can’t wait to see what twist our guests bring to their outfits.”

The Annual Ball occurs each year around International Stonewall Day and is the Aurora Group’s main fundraising event.

Funds raised on the night go to support organisations like Aurora’s main grant recipient, Twenty10 incorporating the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service. In the past year Aurora also disbursed $30 000 to six other community organisations like the Inner City Legal Centre through their Small Grants Program.

The Aurora Ball will feature a full line up of entertainment which will be revealed over the coming weeks, with three courses of food provided by The Caterer, Sydney. Other event partners are the City of Sydney, Radisson Blue Sydney Hotel, Same Love Photography and the Honour Awards. Media partners are SX and SameSame, the Star Observer and GayRadio.com.au.

Tickets to the Ball are $245 and are on sale now. Corporate and Community tables are also available. Tickets are limited, and booking early is strongly recommended due to quick sellouts in the past. For bookings people should email bookings@auroragroup.com.au or call 0448 405 642. Further information is available at www.auroragroup.com.au.

Building on high demand from previous years, Aurora is again offering a discounted table to guests aged 30 and under who have never been to an Aurora Ball before. Ten tickets will be made available at a reduced rate of $160 so that younger members of our community can experience the night.

7 April 2016

Media Contact:  Michael Vaughan, 0413 473 773, michaelv@auroragroup.com.au

First of Appetite Dinners Launched

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In February 2016 Aurora launched a new series of intimate events – the ‘Appetite’ dinners – that will tour the LGBTI community’s favourite neighbourhoods.

These new ‘Appetite’ dinners are an opportunity to support the community through smaller and more accessible events of celebration.

We want the Appetite dinners to feel familiar to our supporters: quality food and wine, gorgeous venues, and good company.

At the first Appetite dinner at Forage in Marrickville, forty guests raised over $3500 to support Twenty10 incorporating GLCS NSW.

See some of the fabulous photos here and here.

The dinner booked out in a few days, so stay tuned for future announcements to grab a seat!

You can follow all the developments at the special Appetite Facebook event page.

Photo: Cec Busby
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 – Aurora Appetite Dinner. Forage. Marrickville. Photos. Cec Busby

Recipients of Aurora’s Small Grants Program 2015 Announced

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It really is our favourite time of year! Aurora Group just selected six organisations to share over $25 000 to help LGBTI people in New South Wales. 

We are thrilled to announce the projects funded through Aurora’s 2015 Small Grants program:

  • The Inner City Legal Centre: a community campaign and legal assistance around the expungement of historical homosexual offences;
  • Headspace Newcastle: a support and social group for under-18 LGBTIQ youth in Newcastle;
  • Family Resource and Network Support (FRANS): support for young people with an intellectual disability to participate in the Rainbow Bridge Social Club, in association with Twenty10;
  • ACON: a campaign to highlight cancer risk issues, particularly for lesbian and same sex attracted women;
  • WayAhead – Mental Health Association NSW: a GLBT Anxiety Disorder Support Group;
  • OutStanding Short Story Competition: support for the OutStanding LGBTIQ Short Story Competition, in association with Mardi Gras.

As always, in addition to the Small Grants program, Aurora’s major grants recipient is Twenty10 incorporating the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service.

Our grants programs are only made possible because of our supporters. Thank you for continuing to be part of the Aurora family in 2015.

We can’t wait to see these projects roll out over the next year, and share their progress with you.

Aurora’s Small Grants Program Now Taking Applications

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Do you know a community group who could use $5000 to help LGBTI people in NSW? 

Aurora’s Small Grants program is now taking applications. Eligible organisations have until Friday 23 October to apply.

Last year, Aurora awarded $33 000 in small grants to 7 organisations, including:

  • Women in Prison Advocacy to enhance a mentoring program for recently released women associated with the LGBTI community;
  • Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia to provide a series of seminars targeting gay and bi men to create awareness;and
  • Queerscreen to host an event to help address the effects of drugs and mental illness in the LGBTI community.

You can find all the forms and details here.

Gayby Baby Screening 27 August

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Help raise money for Aurora and enjoy a night out at the movies for only $20!

Gayby Baby

We are hosting a special advance screening of Gayby Baby on 27 August at Dendy Newtown.

Buy Tickets
Buy Tickets

Tickets available here!

At Aurora we love rainbow families, and the unique stories behind them.

Join us for a special screening of Gayby Baby to hear some of the real life experiences of kids in same sex families today.

Cancer Council NSW to Deliver Important Webinar 15 July 2015

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Cancer Council NSW Logo
Cancer Council NSW

Cancer Council NSW and Aurora Group invite you and your friends to join us for an important webinar:

Anal Cancer: In Gay and Bisexual Men. 

This webinar aims to “raise the awareness of prevention, screening, diagnosis and the lived experience of anal cancer”.

Click Here to Register

Even if you are unable to attend the event live, once you have registered you will be able to receive the completed webinar to view at a later time.

Date: Wednesday, 15th July 2015

Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm AEDT

Where: Online – join via your computer!

Presenters: Stephen Leppard, Andrew Grulich and Richard Hillman

Cost: Free

About this webinar

Anal cancer is caused by high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV). The annual incidence of anal cancer in HIV-negative gay and bisexual men is 5–20 per 100,000, and in HIV-positive gay and bisexual men is 70–130 per 100,000.

To put these figures in perspective, the annual incidence of cervical cancer in women is about 7 per 100,000. The most common cancer in men is prostate cancer, with an incidence of about 170 per 100,000. The incidence of bowel cancer in men is about 75 per 100,000.

In some decades, HPV vaccination will lead to reductions in incidence of anal cancer, but other interventions are needed until then. Screening for anal cancer has been advocated by some experts, but it is controversial as there are uncertainties which have greatly impeded the wide introduction of screening. Research is underway to urgently address these uncertainties.

In the meantime, the stigma around anal cancer means people often do not seek help for some time after the condition has developed. For gay and bisexual men diagnosed with anal cancer, they may live with the stigma of coming out as a gay man being diagnosed with HIV and also anal cancer.

Cancer Council NSW is funding important research into this neglected cancer. This research is being conducted by a leading international team based at the Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales.

Cancer Council NSW aims through this webinar to highlight the issues and start the conversation to provide support for gay and bisexual men with anal cancer.

Who should attend

Gay and Bisexual men at risk of, or living with anal cancer. Health Professionals, family and friends of men affected by anal cancer.

About our presenters

The discussion will be facilitated by Kim Pearce, Coordinator Cancer Support Group Leader Program and the panel will include:

Stephen Leppard was diagnosed with locally advanced anal cancer in 2013. Treatment with combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy was initially effective, but a local recurrence of the cancer was discovered in 2014. Major surgical intervention was then required, but one year following the surgery he is cancer-free and healthy.

Andrew Grulich is a medical epidemiologist and a Public Health Physician. He has worked in HIV research for more than twenty years.

Richard Hillman trained as a general physician in Edinburgh, Scotland, before specialising in HIV & Sexual Health in London, where he completed his PhD.

We look forward to your participation! Register Now for this important webinar and to learn more about the presenters.

Please share this event with your friends and colleagues!

Thanks to you we raised over $70 000

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We just want to say thank you.

Saturday’s glamorous Aurora Ball raised more than $70 000 in funds on the night. Now comes the fun part – making sure those funds go to organisations supporting the community we all care about.

We couldn’t have done it without our auction and raffle prize donors, our event partners, our media partners, and everyone who generously gave their time and money to make the night such a success. Our event partners are the City of Sydney, Oak Barrel, the Caterer Sydney, Chase Gallery, Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney, 32 Hundred Lighting, the Honour Awards and Scalawag Productions. Our media partners are SameSame.com.au, SX, the Star Observer, and GayRadio.com.au.

We also couldn’t have done it without all of you, and we love that so many of you dressed up for our fairy tale theme ‘Once Upon a Time’ as princesses, knights and woodland creatures. You can find photos online from our media partners on their websites: SameSame.com.au, SX and the Star Observer.

2015 Aurora Ball
2015 Aurora Ball

And of course our thanks to our fabulous entertainment who embraced our theme too, from Bobby Falzon and Michael Fox singing ‘Agony’ from Into the Woods, to Lady Sings it Better performing a medley of our favourite classics, and Katie Noonan’s magical interpretation of ‘Once Upon a Dream’, originally from Sleeping Beauty. We loved sharing Maya Newell’s touching and thought-provoking keynote speech with you, as well as the class and humour of our hosts Andrew Mercado and Nath Valvo, and we were thrilled at the secret ‘Maleficent’ show by Decoda Secret and her dancers Jason Jowett and Michael Corbett.

Funds raised from the night will go towards Aurora’s major grant recipient, Twenty10 incorporating GLCS NSW. It will also go towards our Small Grants program, which allows organisations supporting the LGBTI community to apply for up to $5000. Applications open later in the year and further information is available at www.auroragroup.com.au.

We can’t wait to show you how your generosity is making dreams come true.

Adam, Alison and the Aurora Board

2015 Aurora Ball: Hosts and Prizes

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The 2015 Aurora Ball is this Saturday, and we have two exciting pieces of news to share with you.

Hosts Andrew Mercado and Nath Valvo
Hosts Andrew Mercado and Nath Valvo

Our hosts for this year’s Ball are Andrew Mercado and Nath Valvo. Andrew is an author, commentator and TV personality. Nath is a stand-up comedian, radio host and writer. Together they bring class and humour to the job of steering us through a magical night of food, wine and music.

Our second piece of news is about the fabulous prizes that will be raising money for our community on the night.

Prizes include an original etching from Salvador Dali’s “Caprices de Goya” portfolio, a trip for two to Thailand, and a private cabaret performance or workshop by Lady Sings it Better.

This year, our auctions are moving online to make bidding even easier. You can even access our online bidding system from Wednesday at www.galabid.com/aurora
to plan ahead.

So if you haven’t booked your ticket, then get in quick: email bookings@auroragroup.com.au or call (02) 8323 4041 to reserve a place.

Katie Noonan Headlines at the 2015 Aurora Ball

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Katie Noonan
Katie Noonan Headlines at the 2015 Aurora Ball

The 2015 Aurora Ball – ‘Once Upon a Time’ – just got an extra sprinkling of fairy dust with the announcement of iconic Australian performer Katie Noonan.

Katie Noonan’s technical mastery and pure vocals make her one of Australia’s most versatile and beloved musicians.

A mother, singer, producer, songwriter, pianist and business woman, the 4 x ARIA Award winning and 6 x platinum selling songstress first received widespread praise as the angel-voiced songstress of indie-pop band George.

The Aurora Group are thrilled to announce an artist who has been described as ‘one of the greatest all time Australian talents’ (weekendnotes.com), ‘a rare talent with a voice of extraordinary beauty and versatility (The Australian), and ‘arguably Australia’s greatest music superwoman’ (BMA Magazine).

‘We want to take guests at this year’s Ball on a journey of magic and enchantment, and Katie Noonan’s ethereal and soulful voice is the perfect way to take us there,’ said Aurora Co-chair Alison King. ‘Whether Katie is reimagining the classics or singing from her own songbook, her performances are always an unforgettable experience.’

Joining the musical line up for the night are Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood from Lady Sings it Better, one half of this formidable four-woman act that skewers the worst of misogyny in pop culture with tongue-in-cheek, high-energy comedy cabaret.

Maeve and Libby have been singing together for five years, in countless Sydney venues and at festivals including Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Sydney Comedy Festival, Festival of Voices and Edinburgh Fringe. This year, they’re also collaborating on new projects: Mother’s Ruin – a cabaret about gin and a folk musical with Van Badham. They’re accompanied by Hayden Barltrop, Lady Sings it Better pianist and rising star of Sydney’s growing indie musical theatre scene.

When guests are ready to move their glass slippers to the dance floor, Neil Singleton, AKA DJ Dirty Nelly, will play fresh from his 2014 US tour.

Tickets to the Ball are $235 and are on sale now. Corporate and Community tables are also available. Tickets are extremely limited with only a handful left, so book as soon as possible to avoid missing out. For bookings, people should email bookings@auroragroup.com.au or call (02) 8323 4041. Further information is available at www.auroragroup.com.au.

Media Contact:

Michael Vaughan
0413 473 773

Download media release (PDF)

Director of Gayby Baby to Speak at Aurora Ball

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Gayby Baby
Gayby Baby

The keynote speaker at the 2015 Aurora Ball will be Maya Newell – director of the upcoming documentary film ‘Gayby Baby’.

Gayby Baby premieres at the Sydney Film Festival today and tells the story of four 11 year old children growing up with same-sex parents.

Sydneysider Maya Newell grew up with two lesbian mothers and wants to share the stories of families like hers.

“Sometimes debates about same-sex families talk about us as hypotheticals – we’re not,” said Ms Newell.

“I want to give voice to the rich, complicated and loving experience of growing up in a rainbow family in Australia today.”

The theme of the 2015 Aurora Ball is ‘Once Upon a Time’: stepping into the stories which have intrigued us since we were kids, and spreading a little magic to the people in our community who really need it.

Maya will share her own experience of how drawing on our own life stories can help other people’s dreams come true.

“At a time when there is a national dialogue around equality that has direct implications for our community and families, we are delighted to have Maya speak at this year’s Aurora Ball” said Aurora Co-Chair Adam Niewand. “Maya is an eloquent voice in our community providing an important perspective on the topic of same sex families, and I for one cannot wait to hear her insights and stories.”

Tickets to the Ball are $235 and are on sale now. Corporate and Community tables are also available. Tickets are extremely limited with only a handful of tickets left, so book as soon as possible to avoid missing out. For bookings people should email bookings@auroragroup.com.au or call (02) 8323 4041. Further information is available at www.auroragroup.com.au.

More information about Gayby Baby and a trailer is available online at http://thegaybyproject.com/.

Media Contact:
Michael Vaughan
0413 473 773

Download media release (PDF)

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