Ruth Alexander has been working at Koorliny Arts Centre (formerly Kwinana Community Arts Centre) for more than 25 years, and has seen many changes as the centre has evolved. Known for coordinating the annual Kwinana Dance Festival, Ruth is also an associate pastor, a former City of Kwinana councillor, likes travelling (is becoming a cruise-aholic) and enjoying a glass of wine with friends.

We asked Ruth to share some of her Koorliny memories in this 5 Times 5 post.

5 strangest things you’ve had to do at Koorliny:

  • One of the strangest things would have to be my recent ‘Rock Chick’ makeover (see below)! And yes, I do remember the ‘80s very well! I lived in London and played keyboards (a stack of 4), guitar and sang in a (gospel) rock band, so I suppose I was a rock chick of sorts – though not quite like the ones in Rock of Ages!
  • I have done many unusual things in the course of my employment at the Centre – I wouldn’t necessarily call them strange, but certainly beyond the normal call of duty, such as sleeping overnight on one of the sofas in the foyer when helping with a ‘Boys & Girls Club ‘ sleepover – thanks to Tanya Dupagne.
  • I also spent the night here with former manager Ryan Taaffe printing and making up Kwinana Dance Festival Programs. Time was running out and we were on a roll so we kept going until 6am!
  • Many years ago when we ran the cinema, I had to fill in as projectionist a couple of times. I’ve also set up sound systems and helped bump shows in and out.
  • I was even conscripted as pianist for several of Kwinana Theatre Workshop’s musical comedies/pantomimes. You need to be multi-skilled to work at Koorliny!

5 best things about your job:

  • The people I work with. I am in awe of the skills and talent of the guys I work with.
  • The ambience of the centre – it’s a happy place to be with lots of interesting people of all ages.
  • The ’buzz’ on a show night – there’s nothing like it.
  • It’s more than a job. You get drawn in (some might say ‘sucked’ in) and the place becomes a home from home.
  • I consider myself blessed to have been able to work in this amazing place for more than 25 years. There have been some hard and difficult times, but I have enjoyed my time here and trust I will continue to do so until I retire at the end of this year.

5 favourite shows you’ve seen at Koorliny:

  • Xanadu
  • Ruthless
  • Chicago
  • Spamalot
  • Evita
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Steel Magnolias … sorry, that’s more than five but it’s hard to choose – the standard of our productions is amazing.

5 things you do at Koorliny:

  • Number one task is Box Office/Reception duties. If you phone the Centre or drop in there is a very good chance that you will talk to me. This area also includes a variety of admin tasks that need to be done
  • Then there is the Café/Bar – during the week this is fairly quiet, but at weekends when there is a show on it can get very busy. I also keep the café stocked up with goodies – hot favourites are Curly Wurlys and Killer Pythons!
  • We have a very successful Music Theatre program for 5-13 year olds and I look after the enrolments and admin for that.
  • I prepare the copy for all our newspaper adverts. They appear in the Weekend Courier, Cockburn Gazette, Fremantle Gazette, and Mandurah Coastal Times every week (and occasionally in other local papers, too).
  • Last but not least, for the last 18 years or so I have been the ‘go to’ person for all things related to the Kwinana Dance Festival – communicating with dance schools, entries, collating entries and putting the program together. The dance festival is the biggest event in our calendar and currently runs for eleven full days of competition involving around a thousand dancers from 30+ local dance schools.

5 famous people you’ve met at Koorliny:

  • Jill Perryman
  • Barry Crocker
  • John Wood
  • Courtney Murphy
  • Keith Potger

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