President – Susie Smither
Susie began her career as a dancer and model, joining variety cabaret trio Triple Treat at an early age. While continuing dance and modelling, Triple Treat has achieved an Ace Award for Vocal Trio and 5 Mo Awards for excellence in live cabaret performance these proudly across 25 years. Moving into fashion event management and styling, while keeping the performance career bounding along, Susie has been project manager for David Jones Suburban Fashion events since 1997, managing up to 4 full fashion teams and 16 stores, both local & interstate, each fashion season. Store openings, book launches & hosting celebrity appearances add to Susie’s David Jones association.
Presenting, compere/MC work is a passion and Susie has interviewed and toured with celebrities from Trinny & Susannah to Tetsuya, Dora the Explorer to Maddie Zeigler. Adding diversity and constant experience to her presenting side of her career has also taken her on P&O Lifestyle Cruises with fashion style sessions. A natural progression was into the bridal world of wedding MC work. With MC role to many weddings including high profile client/venues. It is not surprising that one so involved in the Entertainment Industry would want to “give back”. Susie has been an active member of ALVA from 1982 and has been the ALVA President since 2005.
Vice President – Lisa Crouch
Lisa Crouch is considered by her fans and peers to be one of the most unique “Powerhouse” entertainers in the industry. She has an amazing vocal style, energy to burn and a natural, infectious sense of humour. Lisa is incredibly down to earth and it is this part of her personality that audiences love. Lisa began her career as a classical singer at Newcastle Conservatorium of Music and has gone on to perform in musical theatre, cabaret shows, jingles, and cruise liners. She has toured nationally and internationally with her solo cabaret show. Lisa is one of Australia’s finest female vocal entertainers and her outstanding talent has been recognised by the Entertainment Industry at a variety of events. Lisa is a multi-award winning entertainer who regularly performs her production show “Powerhouse Divas” and her new show, “Experience the Divine – An Evening with Bette Midler”. She also performs with her six piece retro band “Dig This” and her musical duo “Just Jammin”.
Despite Lisa’s busy schedule, she still finds time to be an active member of ALVA. Since joining in 2004, Lisa went from committee member to Vice President fairly quickly. She loves to help and you will often find her doing everything from picking up tables to welcoming guests at a function. Lisa can be relied upon to help in any situation. She has been Vice President since 2006.
Secretary – Kerri Lacey
Kerri Lacey is a multi award winning entertainer with a number of MO Awards to her credit. Kerri trained at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and has a Masters in Performance on Bassoon. Kerri not only performs in the duo Just Jammin’, singing and playing keyboards, but she also performs in the 6 piece band “Dig This”, and is a member of the cast for a variety of Production shows where she shows her talent in Drama and comedy. Kerri is also a Secondary Music Teacher currently working at Kirrawee High School. It is here that she uses her extensive knowledge of the entertainment industry to assist the up and coming young performers to achieve their goals. She also owns Klerrisa Custom Music, which is an educational portal designed to help music teachers and students here in Australia and around the world. And to top it off, she is also a photographer who has had her work recognised globally.
When Kerri is not engaging in all of these activities, she is working on and for ALVA. She started on the committee in 2004 when Maria Venuti was President. She has then supported the current committee as Treasurer from 2005 – 2014, as committee member from 2015 – 2016 and now as Secretary. Kerri’s purpose in life is to help people and it is this philosophy that gives her the drive to find time to be involved in this incredibly important charity.
Treasurer – Gayle Wakeling-Taylor
Gayle has been an active member of ALVA since 2003. She started dancing professionally in 1968, taught dancing from 1976, and specialises in treating people with disabilities and spinal dysfunction through Pilates, massage and vibration training. Gayle has over 30 years experience in the fitness industry, and in that time has been able to provide rehabilitation and core strengthening work to literally thousands of clients. Gayle has the ability to give individual attention to a class of varying ages and stages, and makes you feel completely comfortable with your own abilities. She has an extensive comprehension of physical abilities & limitations, and is able to tailor exercises in a group to accommodate any problems.Her enthusiasm and encouragement enable her to be an integral member of the ALVA Committee. Gayle put her hand up to be the Treasurer in 2015 and has not looked back. She is usually the first person you see at the function and always with a smiling face and quick wit.
Benevolent Treasurer – Pat Scroope
Pat Scroope was one of the original Charter members and has been involved with ALVA for most of her life. The wife of Australian Actor Doug Scroope, Pat has been an incredibly active in many of the committee positions over the years. A bookkeeper by trade, it didn’t take long for Pat to become the Treasurer. Over the years, Pat has juggled full time employment along with being Treasurer, Membership Manager and sometimes Secretary of this very busy charity. Pat has always been involved in ALVA’s Benevolence. In 2005, the committee, recognising the huge work load of the Treasurer’s position, decided to divide the job between two committee members. It was at this time that Pat started training Kerri in her role as Treasurer, whilst she continued to work with the many benevolent cases.
Pat keeps everyone on the committee on their toes, making sure the processes for ALVA are in good working order. She reminds us of our public obligations and ensures that ALVA has enough funds to help whoever may need assistance.
Publicity Manager – Kaye Coleman
Kaye Thomas, better known as “Miss Kaye”, is the mother of Natalie Ettingshausen, and former owner of Ettinghausen’s School of Dance. Kaye danced since the age of four years and as a teenager won the Channel 9 show “Opportunity Knocks. In her later years she worked professionally at the Tivoli, Her Majestys Theatre, Chevron Hilton, Chevron Silver Spade Room Sydney, Chevron Melbourne with Bert Newton, Theatre Royal, Channel 9, Bobby Limb Variety Show, and sang and danced as the lead in many pantomimes. She then danced overseas and returned to start her own dancing school full time, specialising in tap.
Kaye is a qualified teacher of the British Dancing Association jazz, tap and ballet syllabus and has been a BDA examiner for over 30 years. Kaye invests time in the community and has been the President of the Highfield Committee for Sutherland Hospital for the past 8 years and a member for 12 years.
Recently Kaye danced with Todd McKenny at Star City and danced in a TV commercial for Foxtel. At EDA, Miss Kaye teaches everything but her unbeatable knowledge and expertise is in Tap!
As an incredibly committed member of ALVA, the Australian Ladies Variety Association, she helps raise money for charities such as, Breast Cancer, Alzeheimers, The Garvan Institute and helps people who have been in show business and have fallen on hard times. Miss Kaye is the Publicity Manager and works tirelessly on events, particularly the Annual Banquet, where new members are introduced to the organisation.
One of Kaye’s mottos – “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you will land among the stars”. This is very fitting as Miss Kaye is one of our stars.
Committee Member – Karen Beckett
Karen grew up in Perth Western Australia where she performed regularly on children’s television. Karen was chosen, while still at high school, to take on the position of resident vocalist at Perth’s top nightclub, Romanos. After her move to Sydney, Karen began working on the NSW club, Convention and television circuits. This led Karen to audition for, and eventually win the 10 Network’s “You’re a Star” quest. This gave her the chance to perform a cabaret season at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
Since her return to Australia, Karen has appeared on all the major TV shows including the Mike Walsh Show, Don Lane Show, Parkinson in Australia, Ray Martin Show, Bert Newton, Hey Hey, Midday Shows as well as many regional appearances. Karen is a regular performer on various cruise lines including Cunard, and Royal Carribean, just to name a few.
In between travelling the globe, Karen takes time to be an active member of ALVA. She has been on committee several times, the most recent since 2015. Whilst she does lead a hectic schedule, Karen is always ready to help her fellow entertainer, whether it be by providing the infamous “Beckett Biscuits” at a function or providing transport via the equally famous “Beckett Bus”. Karen has a huge heart that has enough room for everyone.
Committee Member – Olive Johnston
Olive has been an active member of ALVA for many years. She began her dancing career as a Tivoli girl, working in all the cool places in Sydney. Tap was her specialty, eventually joining the Ballet of a Thousand Years. She remained a member of that group until the start of the new millenium, the year 2000. She has been a member of the ALVA committee for most of it’s life. Olive continues to support ALVA with incredible raffle displays and fantastic floral affairs.
Committee Member – Di Georgeson
Di started singing on radio 2SM’s The Gang and at 14 won the Coca Cola Talent Quest on 2UE. Her professional career took off at 16 on teenage TV shows 6 O’Clock Rock, Sing Sing Sing, Teen Time and The Youth Show. She then joined NLT Talent School for Channel 9 and was a regular on Mobil Limb Show, Australian Singalong and Bandstand, Melbourne Tonight, Adelaide Tonight and The Rex Mossop TV Variety Show. She also worked at nightclubs Chequers, Romanos and Taboo at Kings Cross.
In the cabaret club scene, Di supported many international acts including Des O’Connor, Gene Pitney, The Platters, Bobby Rydell, Toni Christie and Warren Mitchell. She has appeared at Wrest Point Casino, on cruise ships, and as a partner in Sentimental Productions. Di has performed in many shows at the Sydney Town Hall and AJC Randwick Racecourse, and with many with Big Bands including the Australian Army Band. Her greatest thrills have been to perform in the Great Hall Parliament House Canberra and being chosen to sing the Vera Lynn songs for 3 shows at the Sydney Entertainment Centre for the 50th Anniversary of the end of WW2, appearing with Jacqui Trent, Tony Hatch and our own Slim DeGrey. Di retired after 49 years in the biz.
As a founding Member of Australian Ladies Variety Association and twice recipient of “Golden Girl Award”, Di has served on various committees over the years, and is very much involved on committee, whose aim is to make sure show business friends are always cared for.
Committee Member – Jacqui Alexander
Jacqui has been performing professionally since she was 4 years old. She has worked as a cabaret artist on the NSW Club circuit, in Sydney Cabarets & Music Theatre, on Cruise Ships & Island Resorts, in London Cabarets, Liverpool Clubs and Blackpool Music Halls. Jacqui still performs solo on occasions and is currently a member of a Gospel Choir. Jacqui started teaching nearly 20 years ago. When Jacqui’s own two daughters were born, her choice was to be a committed parent, and so teaching became the logical step from full time performing. Jacqui’s early start in the entertainment industry has given her an insight and understanding to performing from the student’s perspective. She totally understands first hand the young voice going through voice change, adolescence and maturity as a professional entertainer. The external pressures, the internal expectations and the self awareness, have all been roads Jacqui has travelled for herself, and as a teacher, has helped many young singers along the same journey. Jacqui still performs occasionally, both for the love of it and also to stay current with the demands on performers.
Jacqui has been involved in ALVA since 1989. She has been on a number of committees. After 10 years in the position of secretary, Jacqui has stepped down due to a move down south. Despite the distance, Jacqui is still able to be an active member on committee thanks to the wonders of technology.
Committee Member – Irene St John
ALVA Welcomes Irene to the committee for 2017. Irene will be sworn in at the ALVA Banquet on May 22, 2017.
Committee Member – Anne Dargie
Annie Dargie is no newcomer to show business. She began her career at the tender age of seven when she appeared on the Delo and Daly Show. She hails from a famous show business family, her mother was Tivoli dancer Betty Glew and her father was the renowned Horrie Dargie. Anne and her sister Lynne made up Australia’s best known sister act “The Dargie Sisters”. They are remembered for their long term appearances on The Mike Walsh Show and toured with overseas acts John Inman, Acker Bilke, Warren Mitchell, Reg Varney, Dick Emery, Max Bygraves, Burl Ives, Tony Martin and Billy Daniels. They appeared in such venues as The Sydney Opera House, The Sydney Entertainment Centre and entertained passengers on board the very exclusive Royal Viking Line. They also toured extensively overseas. Since the death of her beloved sister, Anne has decided to continue working. She is currently appearing with her husband Reg Denver in a tribute show to Roy Orbison, which is receiving full houses all over the country.
Anne has been an active member of ALVA, having served on a number of committees. She is a ray of sunshine, always looking for the silver lining and we are very excited to see her join the 2017 committee.
Committee Member: Shirley Mc Donald
Shirley has been a member of the current committee since 2006, working tirelessly to help those in need. As avid supporter of the Mc Grath Breast Cancer Organisation, Shirley set up ties between this organisation and ALVA, showing how two charities can connect for a common cause.
Join the Committee
If you are a full member, you are invited to join the committee. This is such a rewarding experience and completely voluntary. Imagine being part of a team with your friends. Read More.
Attend an Event
ALVA has many events throughout the year. From the Annual Banquet and Christmas Ball, to luncheons and Trivia Nights. All events are for their members and their guests. You might have a smashing idea for an event. Read More.
ALVA has had many generous supporters over the years. From Hardy’s Wines to Eden Gardens, many businesses have benefited from their involvement with ALVA. Read More.
Become a Member
ALVA is very proud of its growing membership and we look forward to welcoming new members. We have three levels of membership: Full Member, Associate Member and Life time Member. Read More
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