AUSTRALIAN of the Year Geoffrey Rush will return to his hometown next week where he will relive his childhood visits to the Empire Theatre.
Mr Rush will be joined by Young Australian of the Year Marita Cheng and Australia's Local Hero Lynne Sawyers as part of the Australian of the Year Awards program's Tour of Honour which brings the recipients of the nation's most respected honour into contact with community members to share their inspiring stories.
A community function open to the public will be held at the Empire Theatre on August 8 and will include a Q&A session with the three recipients and a performance by the Empire Youth Arts students.
Widely regarded as Toowoomba's most successful export, Mr Rush has been the patron of the Empire Theatres Foundation since its inception in 2003.
Empire Theatres general manager Kerry Saul said he was delighted to host these three Australian of the Year recipients, particularly Geoffrey Rush.
"His inspiration to become one of the world's most respected actors began here as a young boy in Toowoomba, so it will be a joy to have him return to the place where it all started," he said.
"It is an honour to have Mr Rush as our patron of the Empire Theatres Foundation and to now host him and his fellow Australian of the Year Awardees is certainly a highlight in the Theatre's exciting calendar."
Mr Rush has now celebrated 40 years as an Australian actor, achieving the rare international distinction of the 'Triple Crown' - an Oscar, a Tony and an Emmy.
He also has three Australian Film Institute honours, three British Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, four Screen Actors' Guild Awards and last year was inducted into the ranks of Australia's elite with a Helpmann Award.
The community function will be held at the Empire Theatre on Wednesday, August 8, from 6pm to 7pm. All members of the public are invited to attend.
For more information contact the Empire Theatre on 4698 9900.
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