Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Hats Off to star turnout for charity gala

After a two-year hiatus, the Hats Off Brisvegas variety gala returns to the stage on August 23 to support HIV/AIDS charity, the Hope Fund.


Hats Off Brisvegas will feature acclaimed comedians, cabaret performers and dance groups. Photo courtesy of Christopher Thomas

The one-night only spectacular at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) features a line-up of local and international performing artists, including the cast of Mamma Mia and comedic personality Bob Downe.

The director of Hats Off Brisvegas, Paul Dellit, hopes the gala will raise $15,000 for the Hope Fund, a charity that helps Queenslanders living with HIV/AIDS.

Mr Dellit said while the gala is a “mammoth undertaking to organise”, there is no shortage of performing artists willing to donate their time and talent.

“When you know you have a big show like Mamma Mia coming in to town, along with other shows at the same time, you can get a core group of high-profile performers with a built-in audience and following to do the show,” he said.

“I believe this is something that the performing arts and entertainment industry can do to contribute as we’re very good at organising events to raise money.”

‘Rare opportunity’

Hope Fund co-founder David Bermingham said while Hats Off is a rare opportunity to see world-class artists and support a good cause, the gala has had varying levels of success since its inception in 2004.

“The first one we had a full house and turned 100 people away on the night,” he said.

“The second and third ones were successful, but the last one in 2007, we had only 147 people turn up so we made very little.”

But Mr Bermingham said this year, the Hope Fund is putting up posters and actively encouraging the public to support the gala.

“It’s very hard raising money for charity but Australians and Queenslanders in particular are very generous,” he said.

“It’s not something that we’re asking the public to give us money and they get nothing in return.

“They’re getting a world-class show with some of the biggest names in Australian theatre.

“It all goes to a good cause and we’re not wasting money or using any of the money for administration – it all goes to help the people.”

The Hats Off variety concerts are an initiative of Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights Aids (OSCEFA), and are run annually in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Related Link: HATS OFF BrizVegas 2010, Playhouse at QPAC – South Bank, Brisbane