Leave empathy at the door

TOP NIGHT: Nathan Johnston will be the host MC at the Night of Abilities at Tweed Heads on August 26.
TOP NIGHT: Nathan Johnston will be the host MC at the Night of Abilities at Tweed Heads on August 26. Nikki Todd

FROM musical genius to extraordinary painting completed on the spot, Tweed's upcoming Night of Abilities will be a night like no other.

Eight young people with a diverse range of abilities will star on the stage, in a performance which promises to wow their audience.

The event is the brainchild of Nathan Johnston and his mother Elaine, as part of their mission to showcase the diverse talents of young people with disabilities.

"The night is not about empathy or sympathy - you have to leave that at the front door,” Ms Johnston said.

"Rather, we invite you to come and share the extraordinary talent of these fantastic performers.”

Nathan Johnston will be be the host at the Night of Abilities.
Nathan Johnston will be be the host at the Night of Abilities. Contributed

Nathan Johnston, who has Downs Syndrome, will be acting as MC for the night.

"I'm hosting the night,” said the charismatic Mr Johnston, who describes himself as a cross between Jack Black and Liberace.

"There'll be dancing and choreography and painting.”

Now in its third year, the event has gone from strength to strength, and will this year graduate to a larger venue at the Elevation Church at Tweed Heads.

Ms Johnston said the eight performers, who would all be paid for their shows, had been carefully chosen for their incredible talent.

"I have so much faith in this young kids, they know exactly what they're here to do,” she said.

Nathan's support worker Mel Martin said the night would allow the performers to showcase their talents.

"They will earn respect they shouldn't need to fight for,” she said.

"They will change people's perspectives of people with a disability. Just buy a ticket.”

Shows will range from music to art, with renowned painter Jeremy due to set up his easel and paint as the mood takes him.

The show, which costs $25 per head, includes a light supper prepared by the hospitality students of Kingscliff TAFE.

The night aims to raise money for the Coolangatta-based charity Kids in Need Association, which has supported families of children with a disability in the region for the past 35 years.


When: Saturday, August 26, from 6pm

Where: Elevation Church, 56 Caloola Dr, Tweed Heads

Tickets: $25 online at Eventbrite

Contact: Phone Elaine on 0456 097 943, or email

Topics:  night of

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