It is with great sadness that we report of the passing of Rod Dunbar. This article was found as part of a podcast featuring Rod. Please take the time to read through this intro and take the time to listen to the podcast. Cards can be sent to: Dolores Dunbar,37 Patrick Street,PUNCHBOWL NSW 2196
Rod Dunbar has relished a life in the theatre. As a boy from Rockhampton he ventured south to Sydney and quickly establish himself as an in-demand vocalist. He became a regular on channel 7’s SING SING SING, hosted by Johnny O’Keefe. Rod toured the country, doing gigs with other high profile entertainers and attracted attention everywhere, due to national exposure through the new medium of television. Looking to expand the possibilities of his career, Rod was soon spotted by J.C. Williamson’s Betty Pounder – and encouraged to pursue a career in musical theatre. Early work consisted of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CINDERELLA, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE and OLIVER; growing into an extensive career performing in productions of CHICAGO, COMPANY and MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG for the Sydney Theatre Company, tours of ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT, SOUTH PACIFIC, BIG RIVER and SHOUT – his most recent performance being DIRTY DANCING. Along the way he experienced personal triumphs in the Original Australian productions of a YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN and GODSPELL.. This reporter spent a delightful Sunday afternoon with Rod as he reflected on an extensive career and offered advice on the longevity behind it. Ladies and gentlemen – Mr Rod Dunbar
Carmen’s funeral yesterday (13 February), was a very special day of celebration of her incredible life and career. It was also inspiring to hear of her deep love and devotion for her family, friends and colleagues within the entertainment industry, and the passion she felt for her faith and the Lord Jesus. The service was held in a beautiful church in Edgecliff, where she used to attend Mass regularly, and the priest was a lifelong friend. There were hundreds of people in attendance, with ‘standing room only’ left! – so people overflowed into the parish hall next door, where there was a video screen and extra chairs! The celebration continued at a club in North Bondi, where many of the cast members from the musical “Anything Goes” performed, which was a joy – especially for Peter, as he was the musical director of the production which Carmen performed in three years ago.
Her daughter, Amelia, said she had always wanted to appear in a musical, and the experience was a dream come true for her. She was brilliant in the role, and much-loved and admired by the cast and company. ALVA friend and supporter, Craig Bennett, who was a close friend of Carmen, Paula and the family, spoke with great admiration of Carmen and her illustrious career, and also of the brave battles she fought with her health throughout her life, particularly during the last two years. Carmen embraced life with passion and joy, while inspiring others to do the same – and she will always remain a shining light in the lives of everyone who knew her, or admired her from afar. Our prayers are with Paula and Warren and families, and Carmen’s children, Duncan and Amelia and families. With love from Peter and Catherine Casey
Hi folks, as you are aware, ALVA is turning 40 so as part of our celebrations we thought we would take a trip down memory lane. Every 2 weeks we are going to remind us all of some of the most amazing things that ALVA has done over the last 40 years.
For our first post, I thought I would pay tribute to those who started this fantastic organisation.
In August of 1978, Toni Stevens and Harriet Littlesmith discussed the idea of forming a ladies association within the variety industry. Initially, the main thoughts for this association were to unite the women of variety in friendship and form an alliance to help others less fortunate than ourselves within our ranks. A preliminary meeting was held with ten entertainers to discuss the possibility. The idea was overwhelmingly supported, possible names for the venture discussed and The Australian Ladies Variety Association – ALVA – was conceived.
Those founder members were:
Toni Stevens – President
Tami Lind – Vice President
Lynece Morris – Treasurer
Pat Scroope – Secretary.
Each of these ladies invited 5 other ladies to get involved and together they had the 50 charter members.
Along with their friends and colleagues, a total of 104 attended the Inaugural Banquet at the Sebel Townhouse on the 26th February 1979. Toni had invited Dame Vera Lynn to be our International Patron – she graciously consented and was with us to present the ALVA badges to Founder and Charter Members. Our Constitution was drawn up and the Association was opened to female entertainers, the wives of male entertainers, retired female performers and the wives of retired performers. Over the years we have opened up the membership to others within the industry. We also have Associate Members, such as Rita Barnett (Cornish), our very first Associate Member, who are not entertainers, but who have helped ALVA tirelessly over the years.
Well our Vice President has been at it again, spending hours preparing this fantastic advertisement celebrating ALVA’s 40 fabulous years. We do hope you can join us in 2019 as we celebrate with the women who started the organisation, and the women who continue to maintain it.