By Romy Stephens
Hollywood star Sam Neill will feature in a webinar hosted by the Rotary Club of Rowville – Lysterfield this month.
The Business Breakfast webinar was established to support the struggling entertainment sector amid Covid-19.
Proceeds from the event will go towards charities that support out-of-work actors and entertainers in Australia and New Zealand.
Event organiser and District Governor Elect Dr Daryl Moran said he reached out to Mr Neill after learning about the difficulty the entertainment industry currently faced.
“I saw Australian Story about six or eight weeks ago and the Sam Neill episode was on,” he said.
“He really just touched a nerve because he was particularly concerned for the plight of our entertainers and actors.
“He alluded to mental health issues, depression and continuing ongoing health concerns.
“A lot of actors, when their shows closed down, didn’t qualify for JobKeeper.”
After Mr Neill agreed to do an hour long Q&A session, what happened next was beyond Mr Moran’s imagination.
“We had tickets sold in every eastern state of Australia and both islands of New Zealand which is pretty remarkable,” he said.
“Normally if we’re running a Business Breakfast in Rowville, no one drives from the North Island of New Zealand.”
Mr Moran said a ticket was even sold from Saint Martin, a small island in the Caribbean Sea.
“We’re stoked. We are just a humble rotary club in Rowville and Lysterfield and suddenly we’ve got this attention. I fell off my chair when this woman from the Caribbean emailed,” he said.
The Rotary Club of Rowville – Lysterfield has been running Business Breakfast events for about 12 years. The past two events have featured Ray Martin and Nathan Buckley as guest speakers.
Due to Covid-19, a face-to-face Business Breakfast was not possible, so the club decided to take it online.
The overwhelming response to the webinar has paved the potential for more online Business Breakfasts, featuring big names, in the future.
However, for the time being, Mr Moran said the focus would be ensuring a successful event to help support the actors and entertainers who are vital for society.
“In all its various forms, whether you’re casually in front of a camera or microphone or behind a microphone, we all rely on these people for our entertainment,” he said.
“We all rely on these people for our music, our concerts, our television shows, our film, our media and it must be unbelievably hard for them that they can’t congregate.
“I would have to say it’s a cause we’ve never really supported before.
“What it’s showing us is that there are whole segments of our community that we can help, we can’t help everyone…But if we can help people that we rely on for our entertainment that’s a great thing.”
The Business Breakfast webinar will be held on 19 June from 7.30am.
Mr Neill – who is also a vineyard proprietor – will discuss all things ‘Wine, Movies, Business and the Way Forward’.
For more information or to book a ticket, visit www.rowvillerotary.com.au.