A permanent home for WASO?

September 5, 2008 § 9 Comments

For reasons far too complex to deal with here, WASO is the only state symphony orchestra without a permanent home. This means the musicians have no practise rooms, no easily accessible storage for their instruments, no lockers to store their concert clothing and sometimes no place to rehearse. This week we’re at the Judith Cottier Theatre at Perth College. While the venue is perfectly fine, it’s not ours.

We also often rehearse at the Perth Concert Hall which is wonderful, but it’s still not ours. We are visitors there.

When oh when will the Federal and State Governments and the Perth City Council put their heads together to solve this problem?

Ben Folds with WASO in Kings Park, Perth 2005


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§ 9 Responses to A permanent home for WASO?

  • Graham Wood says:

    I agree.. Let’s look after the arts as a high priority.

    Perth is a great place but the government needs to recognise the need for (and invest in) arts places. The lack of a home for WASO is a perfect example of this.

    There are numerous buildings that could be modified. One that springs to mind is the old law chambers building on the corner of St Georges Tce and Barrack St… It has been empty for years while the government very slowly decides what to do with it. It’s a beautiful heritage building and of immense significance to Perth city. It’s also very close to the concert hall. I’ve never been inside but I’m sure that some modifications could be made for an orchestral rehearsal space and there would be heaps of rooms for practice. It would cost millions but it’s worth it

    Another spot is the recently closed mental health instituition in Dalkeith. I’m sure the goverment want to clean up and sell it off as prime real estate but it would be better used in the long run as a prime arts space


  • Yvonne says:

    A footy stadium?! The WASO’s home has been an issue for years now – when will the powers that be get their priorities right. An orchestra needs a home if it’s to perform at its peak and not waste funds unnecessarily, and like you say, it needn’t cost much, although it does need to be done properly.

    I would add that an orchestra needs a home that will keep its rehearsal, performing and administration activities all in close proximity (within short walking distance if not the same physical building or complex). That, of course, was the big deficiency of the UWA campus proposal that was made about 8 years ago. It was a pretty riverside location, but it would have put the rehearsal venue and admin a drive away from the concert hall and totally out of touch with the “city space” of which the orchestra ultimately forms a vital part.

  • alexmillier says:

    Thanks for your comments.

    Graham thanks for your suggested alternatives. The Law chambers building sounds great. For the reasons that Yvonne outlines, having the rehearsal and main peformance venues within close proximity enables a smoother functioning of the organisation.

    Yvonne, thanks for giving a sense of the history of this and some of the criteria required for an ideal location.

  • alexmillier says:

    I recently received this reply from Alan Carpenter about the home…


    Thank you for your question to Alan Carpenter regarding a permanent home for the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra. The Premier has asked me to respond on his behalf.

    The Labor Party of Western Australia is committed to finding a permanent home for our state orchestra and it was placed within our Arts and Culture policy back in 2007. However we want a home that is suitable for WASO not just for today but for the future and we understand that the public as well as orchestra members may be getting frustrated with the time taken to find a permanent home but we are committed to finding a suitable permanent venue for the orchestra

    Thank you for your question
    Todd Gogol
    Australian Labor Party Western Australia

  • Hey Alex,
    Reading yesterday’s paper I got another clue as to why stuff like this doesn’t happen.
    Eventscorp was being pilloried for holding the One Movement music festival- because ‘it won’t make any money’. Sport projects make up to 15 times their investment back in cash, but this doesn’t.
    The sooner we as a society get the basic concept that it isn’t always about the cash, we will be dead.
    We need leaders who think beyond their term in parliament- a 50 year vision wouldn’t hurt.
    and we need a govt and private sector not afraid to spend LARGE amounts of money with possibly no financial return EVER.
    People need more than cash to enrich their lives, and they need more than possessions to experience fulfilment. Let’s try to at least consider the balance!

  • alexmillier says:

    Cheers for that Nev. I hear you loud and clear.

  • freoview says:

    I am a bit more cynical about why WASO has no own home, or why the W.A. government is so reluctant to do something about it.

    Sadly classical music is seen as music for old people, so no votes to be get from young people, hence the WASO will be homelss for quite a while I fear, unless the Salvation Army or HomesWest can help out. &>(

    Roel Loopers

  • Helen Tuckey says:

    Easy fix – roll out the Republic, simply move WASO into Government House and responsibly use buildings and grounds. It’s right next to Perth Concert Hall! If the royals visit, they can stay in comfort at the Duxton or Parmelia Hilton, with free ticket to WASO and a drink afterwards. Space and location all in one! Or is this Treason?

  • alexmillier says:

    Interesting idea Helen.
    I don’t know that the Governor would approve of us “moving into Government House”, nor the monarchists amongst our audiences, but perhaps a small amount of the Governor’s land adjacent to the concert hall could be made available? If the State Government and the Feds seem so reluctant to help out, then maybe WASO could benefit from Royal largesse.

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