2021 National Volunteer Week Showcase
National Volunteer Week is an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers.
With the 2021 theme of Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine. Regional Arts WA wants to celebrate the strength, diversity, and hard work of volunteers in our regional arts sector, and recognise the difference they make within their local communities.
We invited submissions from all over regional WA, encouraging people to nominate a volunteer who is doing amazing work in their community. Throughout Volunteer Week, we celebrated these volunteers across social media. But, if you missed it, now is your chance to read all about them.
Gemma Little. Photo by Gemma Little.
“Gemma Little is the casual photography hero of the Peel theatre community. Armed with a Canon DSLR camera and a 18-250mm zoom lens, she is responsible for documenting many local theatre productions & events over the last 9+ years. So many musicals, plays and more, for so many clubs and individuals that it is actually difficult to estimate exactly how many! Gemma is also often found at social gatherings capturing memories for her friends & family.
The quality images taken by Gemma (and sometimes by her mum, if Gemma is in the show!) are cherished by many as memoirs of fun times had perfecting each performance, when theatre itself is so fleeting. Leading actors and chorus people alike feature in the hundreds of photos she takes of each show- usually at a dress & tech rehearsal, as well as plenty of fun backstage shots.
Gemma does this all with a big smile and a bigger heart, she is known to many across the community as a ray of sunshine who gives great hugs!”
Submitted by Ruby Liddelow (Riptide).
John Matthew. Photo by Chuck Thomas.
“Arts volunteers come in lots of different forms. John, at 70, is a business coach, sits on the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Council and is Chair of Artgold, which he gives 4-6 hours a week of his time to for free.
Fully invested in the prosperity of the arts in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, John is involved in the day to day running of Artgold and attends all Artgold events. As well as this, John is involved in various arts organisations in the City, and is always happy to help young artists find their path. As a keen painter himself, he has just put on his first exhibition of work.”
Submitted by Claire Ford (Artgold inc).
Elizabeth (Liz) Parker
Elizabeth Parker. Photo by Frank Parker.
“Liz Parker, former teacher and Librarian, moved to York, a small country town 97kms east of Perth in 1996 with her husband. A neighbour soon asked Liz if she would be interested in joining The York Society as the Secretary of the Arts & Crafts & Photograph Awards section. This was the beginning of Liz’s journey of volunteering in our community.
Liz has been volunteering with the York Society by managing and organising both the Annual Art & Craft Awards and the Annual Photographic Awards since 1997. This shows true dedication both as a community volunteer and to the Arts in regional WA. The York Society Annual Arts & Crafts Awards, held in the York Town Hall attract in excess of 300 entries from all over the state, whilst the Photographic Awards attract approximately 100 entries and are held annually in the Sandalwood Gallery. Both these events are high on the calendar of events in the community of York and attract many visitors to our town.
I believe that Liz’s contribution has helped to make the Arts more accessible in regional WA as well as providing opportunities to artists, both established and emerging, including youth.”
Submitted by Denese Smythe (The York Society).
Barb Thoms. Photo by Tony Tropiano.
“Barb Thoms is an oil painter and one of the founding members of the Mandurah Plein Air Artists (inc). She is also co-founder, with award-winning Australian artist Leon Holmes, of the Plein Air Down Under (PADU) Outdoor Painting Festival in the Peel Region. Both organisations are not-for-profit and run entirely by volunteers.
Inclusive of all painting methods and all skill levels, both groups encourage participation through weekly events and the annual PADU festival. Barb’s enthusiastic energetic approach to sharing her love of painting and bringing people together outdoors is an amazing example of active citizenship. Working with her volunteer steering committee she puts thousands of hours into making the festival a prominent world-class event on the Peel Region event calendar.
Now in its third year, the festival is modelled on significant international outdoor painting festivals where Leon Holmes has been a guest artist. The festival is set to invite participation from internationally recognised artists once travel restrictions are lifted.
Events within the festival are designed to attract as many members of the local and broader community as possible, from local government to business owners, tourism operators, artists and art collectors, art groups, enthusiasts, seniors and youth.
Painting locations in Mandurah and Pinjarra provide inspiration to capture the beauty of our landscapes and waterways and attract plenty of interest from onlookers – some of whom are inspired to pick up a brush again.
Barb’s strengths are in strategic organisation, hospitality and networking. She invests countless hours writing grant applications seeking funding and sponsors. Barb sources and invites nationally recognised guest artists to run workshops, participate and judge artwork produced at the festival. She also invests many hours meeting with and liaising with West Australian art groups to invite and include their members in the festival.”
Submitted by Pauline Bright (Plein Air Down Under).
Linda-Rae. Photo by Ten Sharks Photography.
“Linda-Rae is an artist living in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, who is always exploring ways to bring the experience of art to all kinds of people. Regularly volunteering for events and donating her artwork to the community, she believes “we can all benefit from more of the creativity, imagination, freedom and evolution brought to us through visual and performing arts as participants and spectators. We are all born artists”.
Linda-Rae works closely with the arts community group Golden Mile Art, where she is Vice Chair and supports many artists and organisations in the Goldfields.”
Submitted by Claire Ford (Artgold inc.).
Michael McLeod. Photo by Ten Sharks Photography.
“Michael has been engaged with amateur theatre groups in the Goldfields since 1999. In 2007, Michael moved with a small group of people to help create Boulders first and only Theatre Troupe, Stage Left. Since its inception, Michael has been involved in numerous productions, whether it be on stage or back. Michael has acted, directed, stage managed, and mentored. Michael joined the committee of Stage Left in 2010 and in 2019 took over as President of the troupe. Theatre is Michael’s passion, especially community theatre, he believes it plays an integral part of community wellbeing as it provides a space for those who can sometimes feel marginalised and need a creative outlet.
We love the energy that Michael brings to everything he does at Stage Left. He is tireless in his promotion of Stage Left and goes out of his way to keep things running on track, not always an easy task with the many passionate personalities involved in our theatre!”
Submitted by Kylie Ward (Stage left Theatre Troup).
Mitch Walker. Photo courtesy of Kylie Ward.
“Mitch has a Bachelor of Education with a specialisation in English. During the week, he teaches performing arts at a primary school where students have fallen in love with acting and leap at the opportunity to partake in extracurricular activity. On weekends, Mitch is the Director of Stage Left Acting Youth (SLAY), a programme that helps young students learn performing arts and gain confidence in themselves.
Mitch has performed in two Stage Left productions with a major role in Jungle King and a lead role in 3rd Rock From The Sun. Mitch directed his first production, The Little Mermaid Pantomime, in 2020 which was a hilarious success. This new role gave him the opportunity to work in all facets of stage production including set building and costuming.
Mitch was one of the main drivers in the launch of KBOLT (Kalgoorlie Boulder Online Theatre) in 2020. On a regular basis he hosts a new podcast that is designed to reach out into the community and provide free online content for locals, as well as the growing domestic and international audience.
Mitch is also an active member of the Stage Left Committee (or Gaggle). This allows him to have a positive input into the future direction of the Troupe.
We really appreciate all the hours Mitch puts into developing our youth theatre program. Our youth is the pipeline of future talent that keeps the theatre vibrant and thriving. Mitch has also taken on the role of mentoring our SLAY assistants making sure the program runs smoothly every week. More recently, Mitch has has taken on learning the intricacies of sound and lighting, or “tech”, once again showing there isn’t much that Mitch isn’t willing to take on.”
Submitted by Kylie Ward (Stage left Theatre Troup).
Stanley (Stan) Wilson
Stanley Wilson. Photo by Ten Sharks Photography.
“In addition to a full time career in sales in the mining industry, part time work as a freelance journalist, and running marathons and ultra-marathons, Stan began his theatrical life in 2016 when he auditioned for Stage Left’s production of “Revenge of The Pink Panther”. The bug truly bit, and Stan went on from acting to becoming part of the committee of Stage Left; starting as Building Manager, then Marketing, and then President for 2018. He is currently the theatre’s Vice President.
At the end of 2016, Stan introduced pantomime to Stage Left as they staged their first panto, “Puss In Boots”. His directorial debut was the classic TV short, “Dinner For One”, staged during the Troupe’s annual one act play festival in March of 2017. Since then, he has gone on to direct the musical “Shrek”, excerpts from Mischief Theatre’s “Play That Goes Wrong”, and “Groan Ups”. He also wrote and directed his own play, the very successful pantomime “Jungle King”. Stan is currently working with English agents to have “Jungle King” produced in UK. He has also written a stage adaptation of the award-winning TV sitcom “3rd Rock From The Sun” which was invited to perform in Merredin in 2020.
We love the hands on approach Stan brings to our theatre. Not just content with acting, directing and writing, Stan is also heavily involved in the stage set building and costuming. It is his influence that has given more recent productions that “wow” factor on stage. Stan is also willing to share his experience and has taken on a mentoring role for our younger directors.”
Submitted by Kylie Ward (Stage left Theatre Troup).