Q Theatre founding member honoured with OAM

Kevin Jackson OAM.
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One of the founding members of the Q Theatre in Penrith has been posthumously awarded the Order of Australia Medal.

Kevin Jackson has been named in this year’s honours 17 months after his death for his service to the performing arts as a teacher.

George Khut, Kevin’s longtime partner said that Jackson’s dedication to the performing arts was unparalleled.

“He just worked tirelessly and also worked intelligently and had great compassion, care and commitment to the performing arts and the training and career development of all the actors he worked with,” Khut said.

“He didn’t pull punches… he knew that people who he was working with, and teaching shared a desire for excellence and so if there were problems with what they were doing he would talk about that and address that in a caring way but in an honest way as well.

“He had a commitment to what he would call truth telling and the artists responsibility to tell the truth.”

Kevin Jackson (centre) performing at the Q Theatre in the 1970s.

Jackson was one of the founding members of the Q Theatre in Penrith in the 70’s but his connection to the theatre isn’t well known.

“He identified as a founding member of the Q Theatre in Penrith, I’m not sure how well known that is documented,” Khut said.

“Some of the histories I’ve researched he’s not mentioned there as a founding member, but he certainly was [and] that was a really important part of his early career and kind of an embodiment of his commitment to theatre for all.”

After helping to found the Q Theatre, Jackson went on to work as an acting teacher at the National Institute for Dramatic Arts (NIDA) from 1983 through to 2011 where he worked in various teaching roles.

“He taught for more than 30 years as an acting teacher at NIDA and then from 2012 onwards he was teaching at smaller, intimate acting schools in Sydney,” Khut said.

One of the main legacies Jackson has left behind is his self-published theatre blog called ‘KJ Theatre Diary’ which he continued to work on until before his death in 2023.

Kevin Jackson (standing) performing at the Q Theatre in the 1970s.

“[He was] giving quite in-depth analysis a lot of time and also acknowledging and discussing the contributions of other crew members,” Khut said.

“So, the designers, the sound designers and the lighting technicians not just the actors.”

Jackson also co-founded The HubStudio in Redfern and taught at the Sydney Actors School in Waterloo.

Internationally, Jackson worked for Performing Arts International at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.

Jackson is now known as Kevin Jackson OAM.

Emily Chate

Emily Chate joined The Western Weekender in 2024, and covers local news - primarily courts and politics. A graduate of the University of Wollongong, Emily has contributed to The Daily Telegraph and worked as a freelance journalist.

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