By Nayda Hernandez
One of the original residents of Forest Lake, Katrina Spencer is our very own shining star. In more than three decades, Katrina has done so much for Forest Lake, especially for young dancers, and her love for the community shines brightly every day. Katrina lives in Forest Lake with her family, and for more than 25 years has supported and inspired hundreds of young dancers as the creator of Allstars Performing Arts. Katrina has assisted with many community events including the Forest Lake Community Carols, and has coordinated concerts, musicals, community performances, and other events through her Spectacular Event Management organisation. In this interview we learn about Katrina’s incredible work, and the wonderful community champion that she is.
“I think that we should treat others as we wish to be treated. If everyone did this, the world would be amazing!” – Katrina Spencer.
What are some of your earliest memories of Forest Lake?
“We moved to Forest Lake from a rental property in Kenmore 32 years ago. We purchased a house and land package in Pine Village for $127K and it was built by GJ Gardiner homes . From day one, we loved it! Not only did we have a new home, we had amazing neighbours and lived in a family-focussed community .
At this time there was no lake and no shopping centre, but we had the Forest Fair shopping centre and an IGA that at this time was owned by a great man called Trevor. Everyone knew his name and he provided everything we needed including the most amazing fish and chips!
How have you supported young dancers as the creator of Allstars Performing Arts?
“Coming from a theatrical family and production background, my husband Greg and I wanted to create a dance studio here in Forest Lake, which I eventually did.
Greg and I love working with youth and the community. It’s something that we have always done and it’s so very rewarding. We are very grateful for what we have and appreciate where we live and the wonderful all inclusive community that we are surrounded by. We love working with like-minded people too.
Allstars has always been a family environment – the beauty about Allstars is that all the teachers started as students. I have seen my students grow, graduate high school, get married and have children.
Tell us about your early involvement with the Forest Lake Community Carols?
“Delfin were the original Forest Lake developers. Their vision was all about building a thriving community. Part of their plan was to organise community events. I remember going to the first Community Carols at Homestead Park where Rhonda Burchmore was the key act. Santa came on a fire truck. It was such a great production. The Brisbane Carols in the city were held the night before and Delfin tapped into the talent from that show, who stayed an extra night and performed at Forest Lake Carols the next day. Delfin did this for many years, which is why our local carols were held on a Sunday. Over the years we hosted performers including Troy Cassar-Daley and Laurel Edwards, and the Hooley Dooley’s.
Allstars was invited to participate in Carols and eventually we assisted with the organisation and production side of things in conjunction with the first Community Events committee.
Carols has always been a team event. Delfin’s plan was to gradually hand over the event to the community to fund and to organise. They set up a community event committee to begin the process. Initially it was quite a task, raising the funds required to continue the expectation of a professional production.
We were encouraged to source sponsors locally and to this day we receive local government grants as well as local business donations. Our major sponsor over the last few years has been Heritage Bank – they have been incredible with their support.