John Bell was named Australian Humanist of the Year for 2016 joining such people as Lionel Murphy (parliamentarian and jurist who introduced no-fault divorce and civil marriage ceremonies among many other reforms), Fred Hollows (ophthalmologist), Eric Bogle (singer/songwriter) and many others. It is customary for the recipient to give an address on the occasion of their presentation. Unfortunately, John Bell wasn’t able to be present in Brisbane in person but gave his address from Humanist House in Sydney. His address is reproduced here in full where he speaks about his life journey through the works of Shakespeare and how it has led him to a humanist philosophy and outlook on life. Continue reading “A Humanist life from Shakespeare”
The Council of Australian Humanist Societies inc. (CAHS) is pleased to announce that the Australian Humanist of the Year for 2016 is John Bell AO OBE, one of Australia’s most acclaimed theatre personalities. He is recognised as Australia’s premier Shakespearean actor and director. Over five decades he has won many accolades from theatre critics and playgoers alike for presenting plays with a secular, yet theatrical flair. His outlook on life, like Shakespeare’s, is distinctly humanist.
CAHS is also pleased to announce that the inaugural Young Australian Humanist of the Year is Jason ball, an LGBTIQ+ activist. Jason has been successful in leading the charge against homophobia in sports, particularly the AFL with the start of a Pride Cup in his local league which has been followed up with a Pride Round in this years AFL Fixture.
“These two winners help demonstrate the diverse fields that one can find Humanists in,” said Scott Sharrad, president of CAHS. “John Bell has, for decades, brought the works of The Bard to audiences with a distinctly secular yet theatrical flair. While Jason Ball shows us all that we cannot be complacent, we must continue to strive to make the community and the world we live in a better place for all; not just for ourselves.”
Bell was raised a Catholic and acknowledges that the theatricality and mythology of church-going had an important influence on his life’s work. In an interview he said: ‘It’s easy if you were brought up as a Catholic, you believe anything … heaven and hell, and devils and angels, all those very vast concepts. The imagination is ready to receive Shakespeare.’ Continue reading “John Bell – Australian Humanist of the Year 2016”
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Scott Sharrad, president of CAHS said, “Supporting an inclusive environment for all children, teenagers and young adults as they undertake their studies is vital for their success. The moment any student is subjected to bullying and isolation their welfare and education deteriorates. We owe it to the generations that we are educating today and all those that will follow to ensure that they are given the best possible environment to succeed in; that means ensuring all students understand, accept and welcome the diversity that humans have evolved.”