Hugh Jackman will return to Perth next month to launch a foundation to raise money for the star academy where his career began 20 years ago.
The Wolverine and Les Miserables star, his wife and fellow actor Deborra-lee Furness and Australian screen legend Jack Thompson are leading the push to support the WA Academy of Performing Arts
The Jackman Furness Foundation for the Performing Arts, with Thompson as founding patron, has a goal of raising at least $10 million over the next four years to support the academy and other WA performance entities.
Jackman, a 1994 WAAPA graduate, will host a cabaret performance for invited guests at the academy on May 17 to launch and raise support for the foundation.
“Deborra-lee and Hugh are both passionate about supporting the performing arts, and excited to be launching their foundation in Perth where Hugh’s career began,” foundation trustee Geoff Michael said.
Mr Michael said the foundation would support the performing arts through a range of initiatives which would be announced at the launch.
Thompson and Jackman hatched the plan to support WAAPA, a school of Edith Cowan University, while filming Australia in the Kimberley in 2007.
Thompson’s son Bill graduated from WAAPA last year.
Thompson has said he hoped the foundation could help plug the gap between WAAPA’s Federal and State funding and what it needed to train its music, drama, dance and design students.
On his last visit to Perth in 2006 as the star of the arena musical The Boy From Oz, Jackman ran a workshop at WAAPA and attended a ceremony to rename its main theatre after his friend and mentor the late Geoff Gibbs.
“We greatly appreciate his generosity for some 20 years now, in supporting WAAPA, the school from which his stellar career was launched in 1994,” ECU vice-chancellor Kerry Cox said.
“This new foundation for the performing arts is yet another example of the deep commitment he has to his roots,” Professor Cox said.
Neither Thompson nor Jackman could be contacted for comment.
An ECU report said in 2012 that WAAPA needed an urgent overhaul and $3.75 million extra in government funding.
It is understood the funding will also go to other performing arts groups across Australia.