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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 9018

Mrs WICKS (Robertson) (10:33): I rise to pay tribute to an incredible organisation on the Central Coast, Options Theatre Company. I first heard about Options a couple of years ago when I was invited to a screening of its short film called Killing Hope at the Avoca Beach Picture Theatre. I'll never forget how incredibly moved I was by this funny film which carried a very simple but powerful message: no matter how hard you try, you cannot kill hope. Since then I've had the chance to see a number of performances from Options. I try to get to every single one of them, in fact. There are so many talented actors there. They've made me laugh and dance—on the inside, of course—at their performance of Grease, laugh at their hilarious short films and smile at their talented dancing routines. After every performance, I leave with a heart full to the brim with joy, inspired by their talent and their passion and glad to be able to meet and to get to know many of the performers. They really are my heroes. Options Theatre Company describes itself as a 'living, breathing, operational theatre with a company of creatives, actors, technicians, musicians, directors, dancers and artists, who happen to be people with disability'. I think that sums up beautifully what Options is, what it strives to do and why it holds such a special place in my heart.

I will always be a great supporter of Options and the work that they do on the Central Coast. I was honoured to be able to attend the grand opening of their new studio and theatre in Tuggerah after they relocated from West Gosford. It was a great event, complete with a special opening night show. The Options artists performed for a packed audience a song, 'From Now On', from the very popular film The Greatest Showman. There wasn't a dry eye left in the house by the time they'd finished. It is an already powerful song, but, seeing it performed with their talent, their passion and their heart, I have to admit I had tears streaming down my face, although my heart was warm on the inside. We had the treat of catering from the Options Edible Garden crew followed by a superb cake from Mr Alexander's Sweet Eats. Mr Alexander's is a very successful business run by Alex Copland and supported by Options. His is a great story, because Alex was able to chase his dream of becoming a baker through the support of his NDIS package.

I'd like to pay tribute to all the artists and the entire team at Options and congratulate everyone on the official opening of your new space. A special thanks go to the musical director, Andrew Sampford; Stuart and Michelle; and CEO Denise Stingmore.

May I finish by completing a speech I outlined earlier in the House about an afternoon tea we hosted to present portraits of the Queen and thank those who came along: Wayne and Phyllis Sparks from Bensville; Sally and Ray Dwyer from Wamberal; John George from Terrigal; Sharon Palmer from Somersby; Gosford High School students Liam and Marc; Joseph Timmins and Denis Critchley from Umina Beach; James and Alicia Holmes and their beautiful baby, Adelaide; Kerryn Roberts from Woy Woy; Max Davis from North Avoca; and Peter Lawley on behalf of Brisbane Water Legacy.