Play It Forward
Having created Sydney Street Choir in 2001, Australia's first choir for those experiencing homelessness and disadvantage, Dr Jonathon Welch AM unveiled the Choir of Hard Knocks in 2006 to a national audience through the award winning ABC television documentary of the same name.
These ground breaking initiatives inspired the creation of a worldwide movement of ‘street choirs’, that have been recognised amongst the most outstanding social inclusion models of the past decade for re-connecting isolated, vulnerable and marginalised members of their community.
Today, Play It Forward is Jonathon's vision and legacy for the future of inclusive arts programs.
Jonathon’s ground breaking social justice work, combined with his decades of professional arts experience, knowledge and passion for music has inspired him to look beyond his original 'street choir' concept, inviting Australians of all ages and backgrounds to now participate in the nation’s mainstream cultural life.
Originally launched in 2012 as the School of Hard Knocks programs, Play It Forward has developed a truly collaborative, multi-sectorial approach. It combines professional music industry and community arts practitioners and disciplines, together with the health, education, research, welfare, volunteer, government and corporate sectors, to deliver the most unique range of diverse, tailored inclusive arts programs and events nationally.
Play It Forward is not a 'one size fits all' arts charity.
In addition to delivering locally based community choirs, projects and events (including Peace Choir Project, Men Aloud, No More Excuses) and national events on a large scale (Social Inclusion Week and Melbourne International Singers Festival), Play It Forward is reshaping the future of how the arts can respond to community and individuals’ artistic needs and tastes that also address current day issues.
By constantly exploring and embracing exciting new and emerging trends in contemporary training and performance practices, Play It Forward creates and nurtures a flexible, sustainable culture of innovation and inclusion that also builds resilient 'cultural villages' for the future.