Kwinana’s oldest amateur theatre company have taken their final bow after 43 years of entertaining the Kwinana and
Rockingham areas and theatre patrons from across the state.
Reduced membership, lack of volunteers, escalating performing rights fees and other associated costs have taken their
toll on the group.
KTW President Pauline Lawrence says “I want to thank the committee and Koorliny staff for all their help and support.
With the lack of volunteers we were always struggling for help with set construction, lighting and sound, cost of lease,
overheads and the rights to put on a show. These amounts became too much with the lack of patronage which had
dwindled greatly over the years:.
The award winning club started in 1969 after a card was left in the window of the local newsagents asking for people
interested in forming a theatre group. About six people were the first members and they started by holding workshops in
drama, hence the name Kwinana Theatre Workshop.
The members rehearsed in each other’s homes and then hired the Medina Hall for performances. The first play was
The Killing of Sister George. After a few successful years they were offered the little house in Atkinson Road by the council.
The growing and popular club transformed the house into a 64 seat theatre and performed in the round.
Over the years Kwinana Theatre Workshop participated in the state drama festivals and entered and won many
competitions including the prestigious ITA Robert Finley Award for best production with Night Must Fall directed by Trevor
Hart in 1976, Find Me directed by Lee Wright in 1995, Too Far To Walk directed by Geoffrey Leeder in 2000, Deckchairs
directed by Teresa Felvus in 2008.
In 1990 KTW moved into the Koorliny Arts Centre. This came about when the council and the State and Federal
governments agreed to build the art centre, with the proviso that KTW was involved in the building. KTW became
sponsors of the arts centre and celebrated the opening with several members being cast in a big play called the
Lollybaggers in recognition of the Toc H’s regular lolly run each Christmas. KTW began occupancy and opened their small
theatre with a play called Sweet Charity.
Until recently, KTW would perform five plays, one musical and a Christmas show a year and had an average membership
of about 80 to 90 a year.
The members built all the internal fittings, the stage and the flats for building sets and originally the ladies sewed all the
black curtains. The costume wardrobe was a sea container out the back of the theatre and storage was another of their
Lawrence continues, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my position on the committee with Val Fischer mentoring and guiding me
till sadly she passed away last year. It would have made her sad to see us wind up. I also know the theatre had given her
much joy over the years she was involved. Along with the life members, long standing members, committee and myself
we still tried our hardest to keep the club alive, but unfortunately it was not to be”.
In June 2011, Life Member Val Fischer lost her battle with cancer, but even from her hospice bed she stage managed the
club she had been a member of, president of, actress for and committee member of for the past 21 years.
With the closure of KTW, the club has donated all their costumes, props, flats and cash to assisting other theatre groups
including Roleystone Theatre, Cat Baxter of Nine Lives, Mandurah Little Theatre, Arena Theatre, Independent Theatre
Association and Atwell College Drama Group.
KTW's blog | 1048 reads
Be a part of this fantastic production of 'The Phantom of the Opera', performing in November at the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre.