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100NO 272: Alan Hopgood AM on The Power Of Comedy To Help Prevent Suicide, Bullying, Depression, Dementia, Diabetes & More
18, Jun, 2018
Alan Hopgood is a playwrite and actor of nearly 60 years in Australia creating waves in the mental health and wider health world. Alan is 83 years old and still writes, plays, directs and is passionate about sharing messages of health with communities affected by health challenges.
His business Health Play (find out more at www.healthplay.com.au) has a series of 12 plays, any one of which can be featured in a local community to raise awareness of the featured condition. The plays cover issues including suicide, dementia, depression, grief, ageing, cancer, widowhood, diabetes and more.
Hopgood’s first very successful play was And the Big Men Fly in 1963 produced by the Union Theatre Repertory Company. The script writer at the time was Brad Hopgood. The play was adapted for TV by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 1973. In 1964, he followed with The Golden Legion of Cleaning Women. In 1966 he produced Private Yuk Objects, which he claims was the first play anywhere in the world on the subject of the Vietnam War.
Hopgood has also written a number of film and television screenplays, including the comedy film Alvin Purple (1973), which was the most commercially successful Australian film of the early 1970s.
Hopgood was an actor with the Melbourne Theatre Company for ten years and was an early “soap” star in Bellbird, in which for six years he played the town doctor. He has also performed in the later soaps, Prisoner (for which he also scripted many episodes) and Neighbours as Jack Lassiter (a role he reprised in August 2013).
As an actor, his cinema credits include My Brilliant Career (1979), The Blue Lagoon (1980), Roadgames (1981), Evil Angels (1988, released as A Cry in the Dark outside of Australia and New Zealand) and The Man from Snowy River II (1988). He has worked with a large number of actors including Frank Thring, Meryl Streep, Brooke Shields, Sam Neill, Judy Davis.
He developed prostate cancer and his book on the experience Surviving Prostate Cancer – One Man’s Journey (1996) was widely praised. He often tours giving humorous talks on men’s health.
Hopgood was awarded the A.M. (Member of the Order of Australia) in 2005 for his services to the performing arts as an actor, playwright and producer, and to the community through raising awareness of men’s health issues.
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