Special Offer for ‘Bob Downe: 20 Golden Greats’

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Bob Downe: 20 Golden Greats

Exclusive Sydney Season | Sydney Theatre | 23-26 May

Australia’s clown prince of polyester has been making the world laugh for more than 25 years… and he’s funnier than ever in his brand new solo show! BOB DOWNE is finally returning to Sydney to sing and swing his way through 20 GOLDEN GREATS. Direct from his triumphant 15th Edinburgh Fringe Festival, it’s the show where you’ll come IN humming the classic pop, disco and rock hits. “I give you my solemn promise,” says Bob, “There won’t be a single song you haven’t heard. And there’s prizes too!”

“**** Bob Downe is a treasure. He’s the king of synthetic fabrics, the man with the smile cheesier than Bega.”

Melbourne Herald Sun

As a special offer to Aurora supporters, you can book tickets to the preview on Wednesday 23 May and save $10 per ticket. Book here and quote GOLDEN to access the discount.

Grant Recipient Snapshot: Twenty10

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Twenty 10 is a community organisation working with and supporting young people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities, their families and friends. Managing Director Rebecca Reynolds talked to us about what Aurora’s grants mean to Twenty10 on 9 May 2012:


‘Last week, a 13 year old group attendee posted on our Facebook page, “Thanks for having me at your group but I won’t be coming anymore because I’ve decided that I’m straight”. This caused me a momentary smile. Imagine, at age 13 having taken the steps to investigate what your options are, and then not only that, to have the confidence to articulate that it’s not for you. Don’t get me wrong, the forays into early teen sexual identity is rarely more than an exploration of feelings about someone else in your world. The smile was more for the fact that as a community, we are creating places for young people to safely explore who they are.

This is not just true of young people. Even those in the over 26 cohort need places to go to talk through their worlds and the way that they’re coming to understand them. It’s a really big thing to invite someone into your life. To understand the impacts of your words and your decisions and to want to engage in a conversation with someone important to you – to have them accept you for who you are. This is the amazing gift of groups. Of places that are created for people to come together and talk about what is important to them. It’s not always about sexuality, but it’s a conversation that is couched in a shared understanding of what that part of our identity means.

There are so many individual stories that are woven together by our community organisations. Those stories are so often seen as fragments in time, the stories of one person’s life and experiences, separate from something bigger. They’re not always stories that are full of warmth, or stories that come from places that are easy to talk about but when you have the chance to see them as more than the fragments that they are, you begin to see the amazing role that organisations play within our communities. They bring people together and let them understand that they are not alone.

Many people come to our organisation and it is the first time that they have met someone else who identifies as the same sexuality or gender as them. It’s the first time that they have had somewhere to practice those big conversations, to explore those feelings which lead them on the next branch of their life journey. It’s a big thing. It’s a wonderful thing, and it’s true to say that many of these opportunities for connection would not be possible without the support of Aurora.’

Climb aboard the 2012 Annual Dinner

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MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday 7 May 2012


 The Aurora Group is pleased to announce that the 2012’s Annual Dinner will be aboard the largest and most luxurious passenger liner of her time, the Titanic, with a nautically themed evening including fabulous entertainment, food and wine. This year’s dinner will be held on Saturday 23 June 2012, at the iconic Sydney Town Hall.

“We are very excited to present to our guests the opulent and lavish theme of Titanic with the beautiful backdrop of The Sydney Town Hall,” says Marcus Bourget, Chairperson of The Aurora Group. “The Aurora Annual Dinner never disappoints, and with an over the top and rich theme that is Titanic, this year will be no different.”

The night’s entertainment will take inspiration from the Titanic, above deck and below, from the grandeur and elegance of the great ballroom, to the debauchery of the crew cabins, right down the depths of the ocean floor. Guests will climb aboard to discover high society, Captains and heroes, sailors and stowaways, mermaids, sharks and – of course – that­ iceberg.

“Titanic was to be the greatest ship afloat, shining proof of the industrial power of the modern world,” says Bourget. “We are calling on all of guests on the evening to dress up as elegant 1910-20 era high society, as sailors and captains, and pay homage to the marvel of the maritime world.”

The Aurora Group is pleased to confirm our food and wine partners Bayleaf Catering and The Oak Barrel are back on board this year’s Annual Dinner to provide the finest first class dining experience you would expect on board the Titanic.

“Each year, Aurora holds the dinner in late June to mark International Stonewall Day.” said Bourget. “On the evening of the 2012 Aurora Dinner, we will toast this date in solidarity from Sydney Town Hall and also commiserate the centenary of the Titanic disaster”.

Tickets to the dinner are $225. “We acknowledge that tickets are not cheap” says Wayne Cox, Events Director, The Aurora Group, “but can confidently say that they offer great value for money. This evening of Titanic proportions is a once-a-year indulgence, which our guests continue to tell us is a fabulous social night, not to be missed.”

Tickets are limited, and booking early is strongly recommended due to past sell-outs. Further information is available at www.auroragroup.com.au and to book, people can email bookings@auroragroup.com.au or call (02) 8323 4041.

Bookings Open for Fat Tuesday V: ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’

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When: Tuesday 21 February @ 6.30pm.

Where: JohnandPeter Canteen @ Carriageworks. 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh ( View on Google Maps )

What: An extravagance of food, wine and fun. Celebrating the traditional date of Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), Shrove Tuesday and Pancake Day.

Hosted by Marney McQueen (Hairspray, Priscilla, Rosa the Russian Beautician) and featuring an array of talented performers.

Tickets: $120, inclusive of food, wines and entertainment.

Food: A grand Italian family feast, in three parts. Catering by JohnandPeter. Wines by Oak Barrel.

Early bookings are encouraged. Places are limited, and this event has sold out every year. Phone (02) 8323 4041 or email bookings@auroragroup.com.au.

Aurora’s Fat Tuesday to be held at Carriageworks

The Aurora Group is pleased to announce the details of the 5th outing of its popular Fat Tuesday event, celebrating Mardi Gras, Carnival, Shrove Tuesday and Pancake Day

The theme for this year’s dinner is Bonfire of the Vanities and the event has an exciting new home at Carriageworks.

Guests will be treated to a grand Italian ‘family’ feast will be catered by high-end caterers JohnandPeter, with wines selected and provide by Aurora wine partner Oak Barrel.

The evening will feature a feast of performances by a talented array of Australian singers and comedians. The night will be hosted by musical theatre star and comedian Marney McQueen, star of Hairspray, Priscilla, and the woman behind Rosa the Russian Beautician.

Fat Tuesday is always an Aurora audience favourite, and has sold out every year. As such, guests are encouraged to book and pay for their tickets soon to avoid disappointment.

Event Planet raises $2,500 for The Aurora Group

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Event Planet has raised $2,500 for The Aurora Group at “The Clubhouse” at Polo in the City Sydney.

Paspaley Polo in the City at Centennial Park brings together a who’s who of Sydney’s finest and this year Event Planet introduced The Clubhouse to the mix. The Clubhouse raised funds for The Aurora Group on the day and gave guests the chance to enjoy the exhilarating field-side action, fabulous fashion and polo atmosphere from the sheltered grandstand seating including gourmet BBQ and beverage services all day!

A huge thank you goes to all the Event Planet crew, and to DJ Murray Hood, DJ Beth Yen and DJ Kitty Glitter  who all donated their time for the cause.
Following the huge success of 2011, Event Planet plans to bring back The Clubhouse for the 2012 event, making it bigger and even better! Stay tuned for the details through The Aurora Group newsletter and website for your exclusive invitation.

Event Planet are Corporate Event Management Specialists, please visit their website to view all their latest offerings and sign up to their newsletter:  www.eventplanet.com.au!

Go in the draw to win a double pass to WEEKEND

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Thanks to Rialto Distribution, Aurora is happy to be giving away five double passes to the new British queer film WEEKEND, in cinemas January 26.

To go into the draw to win, just let us know in 50 words or less what you’re most excited about in the 2012 Mardi Gras festival season.

Email your answer to admin@auroragroup.com.auby 5pm, Thursday 24 January.

About the film:
A one-night stand that becomes something more – an unconventional love story between two young men trying to make sense of their lives.

On a Friday night after hanging out with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a nightclub, alone and on the pull. Just before closing time he picks up Glen. And so begins a weekend – in bars and in bedrooms, getting drunk and taking drugs, telling stories and having sex – that will resonate throughout their lives.

You can watch the trailer here – http://www.weekend-film.com/trailer

Grant Recipient Snapshot: the Benevolent Society

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With support from Aurora Group, and as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Benevolent Society will be hosting information events for GLBT community members to learn more about becoming foster carers.

The Benevolent Society has been helping people and communities out of disadvantage for nearly 200 years. Its goal is to bring about lasting change for people to overcome the barriers that prevent them from participating fully in society. At the heart of this work is the safety, wellbeing and resilience of children and families. Through service delivery, research and evaluation, and innovation, The Benevolent Society aims to create caring and inclusive communities and a just society.

Its Fostering Young Lives Program finds safe and nurturing homes for children aged 0-18 who cannot live at home. Through the program general foster carers are recruited, trained and supported to meet foster children’s ongoing physical, social and emotional needs. Kin carers are also supported by Fostering Young Lives across the metropolitan Sydney area.

The Benevolent Society recognises that there are a number of misconceptions around whether GLBT people can become foster carers,in large part due to the confusion between adoption and fostering.

They are also aware that it may be difficult for some members of the GLBT community to approach an agency with a query about fostering, or attend an open information night, particularly if they have met with a negative response from agencies in the past.

To address some of these misconceptions and to facilitate an opportunity for the GLBT community  to learn more about how to become foster carers The Benevolent Society, with thanks to financial support from Aurora group, will be hosting information events through 2012 specifically for interested GLBT people.

The events will be held in established gay-friendly venues, and will provide a relaxed, pleasant and inclusive environment for members of the community to ask questions, hear stories, address concerns and seek information about becoming a foster carer.

The first of these events is scheduled on 21st Feb 2012 at Riverside Theatre in Parramatta, 7-9pm. Those keen to attend should contact Stacy Power on stacyp@bensoc.org.au. Look out for promotion of this event in GLBT press and online and through Riverside Theatre at their QueerScreen event.

A second event will be held in the CBD in July/August – further details to follow.

The Benevolent Society approach to foster care is that all kinds of people can provide safe, nurturing homes for children who are not able to live with their birth parents. 20 % of foster carers through The Benevolent Society’s Fostering Young Lives program identify as being gay or lesbian, demonstrating that a person’s potential to be a foster carer is not determined by their sexuality any more than it is by their marital status, age, gender or nationality. Fostering Young Lives wants to break down barriers that have traditionally excluded people from being considered as foster carers. One of the key messages is “All kinds of kids need all kinds of carers”.

Aurora provides $60,000 in grants to support GLBT projects

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The Aurora Group is excited to announce the successful Small Grants recipients for 2011/12 with $25,010 disbursed funding to support an important range of GLBT focused projects targeted at transgender teenagers, foster parents, story tellers, young people and the wider GLBT community.

These Small Grant recipients were announced at the recent ‘An Evening With Michael Kirby’ dinner” hosted by Aurora which raised over $14,000.

Marcus Bourget, Aurora Chairperson, said “This year’s small grants recipients demonstrate the range of creative projects that organizations are developing to address the diversity of needs in the GLBT community. Raising funds at fabulous events such as the ‘Evening With Michael Kirby’ dinner’ is a lot of fun for the Aurora directors, however it is disbursing funds to the GLTB important GLBT community projects to which we are most passionate about doing.”

“We are pleased to once again be able to fund projects based outside the inner city areas of Sydney as well as those focused on a range of age groups from teens to potential foster parents,” says Bourget.

In addition, Aurora will also continue to support its major beneficiaries, the newly merged entity Twenty10 and the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service, with $35,000. Aurora will continue to fund the continuing projects of the GLCS and Twenty10 with the two organisations working together following the merge.

Aurora is pleased to be able assist Twenty10 to strengthen its presence in the Western Sydney region as well as continue its group and counselling services.  Twenty10 and GLCS will be undertaking the creation of an extensive database and resource creation project to feed into a number of different community capacity building and support projects, including resources for volunteer counsellors and staff.  The money will also support GLCS’ relocation in the New Year and the fit out of new phone rooms that volunteers use to provide services to callers to the counselling lines, including the establishment of new technology and infrastructure.

The 2011/12 Aurora Small Grant Recipients are:

  • JoyFm – The Commitment Project – $2,850
    A billboard at Strathfield train station to promote and showcase long-term committed gay and lesbian relationships.
  • The Gender Centre – Transtopia – $4,210
    A 10 week social support group for transgender teenagers (14-19yo).
  • The Benevolent Society – Fostering Young Lives – $4,000
    Two events, one in Western Sydney and the other in Inner Sydney, will be held during Mardi Gras 2012 to inform and recruit GLBT people to be foster parents.
  • Regional Youth Support Service – GenQ – $4,000
    Support program for GLBTIQ young people on the Central Coast focused on community building and development – where young people develop a campaign and outreach activities to schools and community groups.
  • Queerscreen – The Queer Screen Community Screen Content Initiative – $5,000
    Project enabling members of the GLBT community to write and produce short stories to be broadcast on YouTube and at 2012 MGFF.
  • ACON Health – Lesbian & Gay Anti Violence Project – Same Sex Domestic Violence Resource – $4,950
    Production of a video resource to support same-sex domestic violence prevention, including five stories of personal experience.

“We are always amazed at the quality of applications made and the community needs which the small grants process alert us to,” says Bourget. “We encourage more GLBT community groups to submit applications in the 2012 / 2013 submission process.”

Aurora is also encouraging all supporters to mark in their diaries that its popular Fat Tuesday fundraiser will be held on 21 February 2012 and that it’s major annual gala, The 2012 Aurora Dinner, will be held on Saturday 23 June 2012.

Evening with Michael Kirby raises over $14,000

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The Aurora Group introduced its new Chairperson, Marcus Bourget, at last night’s ‘An Evening With Michael Kirby’ dinner at Hickson Road Bistro, which raised over $14,000.

The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG and his partner Johan van Vloten were Aurora’s special guests last night, in celebration of the launch of Michael’s much-anticipated memoir A Private Life: Fragments, Memories, Friends.

In his speech at the dinner, Kirby shared stories from the book and also discussed the recent attempt at CHOGM in Perth to abolish criminal laws against homosexuals and other minorities that remain in other Commonwealth nations.

‘’The story of my life, told in my book A Private Life, shows how pivotal was the reform of criminal laws achieved in the Australian states between 1974 and 1998” said Kirby. “Until those reforms, people were frightened and terrorised by police and other bullies just because they were gay. I know. I was there.  Sadly, this remains the case in 41 of the 54 countries of the Commonwealth.”

‘’It is not enough for citizens in Australia, straight and gay, to seek reform in our own country. These are our brothers and sisters. We know their pain. We also know how bad these laws are for successful strategies against AIDS.” said Kirby. “We must lift our voices. And not be silent until this horrible legacy of past ignorance is removed in every Commonwealth country. State sovereignty has to give way to fundamental human rights. In gender, race and sexuality.’’

Funds raised at last night’s dinner, which had 110 supporters in attendance, will be directed to Aurora’s annual grants program, donating to GLBT organisations including the Twenty10 Association and the Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW.

The dinner also provided the opportunity for Aurora to introduce Marcus Bourget, who was elected as the new chair of Aurora at its recent AGM. He succeeds David Moutou, who retired from Aurora’s board after six years as a director and the past two years as its Chairperson.

Bourget previously served as Chairman and Director of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras from 2005 to 2008. Bourget becomes the fifth chairperson in Aurora’s 12 year history, a role previously held by Bruce Pollack, Jane Marsden, Alex Sosnov and David Moutou.

“I am honoured and fortunate to be elected Chairperson of The Aurora Group,” says Bourget. “Over the last decade Aurora has consistently delivered fantastic events and made an impact to important projects in our community. I am thrilled to be part of the Aurora team and lead the dedicated 12 directors on our board.”

Moutou will continue to be involved with Aurora as a Life Member and as administrator of the Grants Program on a volunteer basis. “I am very proud of the way my relationship with Aurora grew from grant recipient, to volunteer to chairperson,” says Moutou. “I am proud of the impact Aurora funds has had in the community and I am equally proud with the fun and glamorous way in which we are able to raise those funds.”

Aurora is also pleased to announce that its popular Fat Tuesday fundraiser will be held on 21 February 2012 and that it’s major annual gala, The 2012 Aurora Dinner, will be held on Saturday 23 June 2012. Supporters are encouraged to mark both dates in their diaries and book early, as both events sold out well in advance in 2011.

UPDATE: ‘An Evening With Michael Kirby’

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As many will be aware, Aurora has had to relocate An Evening with Michael Kirby, due to the recent unfortunate closure of Bilson’s Restaurant.

We are pleased to advise that the event will now be hosted at Hickson Road Bistro, at Sydney Theatre.

The night’s activities will commence at 6.30pm with champagne and canapés.  This will be followed by a sensational three-course menu from acclaimed caterers Culinary Edge, who were caterers at our first ever Aurora Dinner 11 years ago.

In addition, a matching wine list has been developed in consultation with Aurora’s fine wine partner The Oak Barrel. To offer your palates something a little different at this dinner, four unique French, Spanish and Italian wines will be served.

Each guest will receive a copy of Michael Kirby’s recently released memoir A Private Life: Fragments, Memories, Friends. All books will be pre-autographed by Michael, who has told us again how much he and Johan are looking forward to the dinner.

We hope you are also looking forward to the evening, however, if you would like to withdraw your booking, please let us know by midday on Thursday 27 October. Any seats you have booked will then be released for sale to our waiting list.  To discuss your booking, please email bookings@auroragroup.com.au or call 8323 4041.

An Evening With Michael Kirby
6.30pm, Monday 7 November
Hickson Road Bistro, at Sydney Theatre.
20 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

Your name will be on a guest list on the door – note that no tickets will be issued. If you have not confirmed the names of any guests and/or have not advised us of any dietary requirements, please email us these details by midday Monday 31 October.

In addition to hearing from the inspirational Michael Kirby, Aurora will be conducting a raffle and live auction on the night.

Aurora recommends catching a taxi, public transport or walking to this event, particularly as wines for the evening are included in your ticket purchase.

Thank you for your patience and ongoing support. We look forward to seeing you on 7 November.

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