Glenn El­ston Brings Shake­speare Out­doors

Glenn El­ston’s en­chant­ing out­door pro­duc­tions are set to de­light Mel­bourne once again. By Jenny Burns.

Where Melbourne - - Contents -


Com­pany’s sum­mer out­door pro­duc­tions have long been a much-loved Mel­bourne tra­di­tion and artis­tic di­rec­tor Glenn El­ston is promis­ing another sea­son to re­mem­ber.

“We are pre­sent­ing a new pro­duc­tion of “A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream” with a new ex­cit­ing cast and some hi­lar­i­ous new takes on the story,” El­ston ex­plained.

“This will be on dur­ing the evening, while dur­ing the day the ad­ven­tures con­tinue for the great char­ac­ters in “The Wind in the Wil­lows”, who will be re­turn­ing to the River­bank and Toad Hall.

““Alice in Won­der­land” and all its mad­cap char­ac­ters will be on their funny ad­ven­tures at the mag­nif­i­cent Rip­pon­lea House and Gar­dens. In­doors at the air­con­di­tioned Athenaeum The­atre, there will be a fairy­land for “Tinker­bell and the Dream Fairies” to play in and sing for all the lit­tle Fairies that want to join them.”

The suc­cess of the com­pany’s shows is tes­ta­ment to El­ston’s fore­sight and cre­ativ­ity.

He was work­ing as a pro­duc­tion man­ager at the In­sti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary Art The­atre in Lon­don when he came up with the idea of pre­sent­ing fam­ily the­atre out­doors.

“I came back to Mel­bourne in 1987 to go into part­ner­ship at the Athenaeum The­atre, de­ter­mined to get an adap­tion of “The Wind in the Wil­lows” on. Luck­ily the op­por­tu­nity came along,” he re­called.

“On the day that my first out­door pro­duc­tion of “The Wind in the Wil­lows” pre­miered in The Royal Botanic Gar­den I said, in all the ex­cite­ment, we have to do this of a night time with “A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream”. We have to light up the trees and make it mag­i­cal.

“Two sum­mers later we had the pro­duc­tion up and run­ning and it was mag­i­cal. We have con­tin­ued pro­duc­ing Shake­speare Un­der The Stars out­doors ever since.”

To­gether with these pro­duc­tions El­ston has di­rected nu­mer­ous other Shake­speare plays, adapted other clas­sics such as “Lady Chat­ter­ley’s Lover” and writ­ten and di­rected seven fam­ily pro­duc­tions.

His love of out­door pro­duc­tions, how­ever, shines through.

“These pro­duc­tions are a unique op­por­tu­nity to en­joy fan­tas­tic, clas­sic— and mostly com­i­cal—sto­ries in a beau­ti­ful, nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment,” he ex­plained.

“To be able to en­joy the­atre while hav­ing a pic­nic un­der the stars and not be con­fined in­side a the­atre makes for a joy­ful and re­laxed at­mos­phere that en­hances the whole ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Peo­ple are at ease with the com­bi­na­tion of art and na­ture and read­ily go along on the jour­ney with the char­ac­ters as they un­fold the story.

“Our fam­ily shows are fun, ac­ces­si­ble, in­ter­ac­tive and ex­cit­ing ad­ven­tures that the au­di­ence get swept up in and be­come a part of the ac­tion.”

When not work­ing on his great pro­duc­tions El­ston can of­ten be found walk­ing along one of Mel­bourne’s beaches at sun­set.

He’s also a great fan of Mel­bourne’s laneways for lunch, although his favourite restau­rant is in Sed­don—aji­toya Ja­pan’s Kitchen. His favourite shop is Jay Dil­lon’s Cloth­ing, which has stores on Lit­tle Collins Street and Chapel Street, and which he says has the best shirts ever!

He cites Mel­bourne’s his­tor­i­cal the­atres as must-see at­trac­tions for vis­i­tors to the city thanks to their rich cul­tural her­itage.

“And, of course, the Royal Botanic Gar­dens is a must-see as it is one of the most beau­ti­ful gar­dens in the world,” he added.

Dur­ing the sum­mer months the gar­dens also be­come amongst the world’s most mag­i­cal thanks to El­ston’s won­der­ful pro­duc­tions!


“A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream” is on in the Royal Botanic Gar­dens from 21 De­cem­ber while “The Wind in the Wil­lows” opens on 22 De­cem­ber. “Tinker­bell and the Dream Fairies” is on at the Geelong Botanic Gar­dens on 29 De­cem­ber and Athenaeum The­atre from 2 Jan­uary. “Alice in Won­der­land” is on at Rip­pon­lea House and Gar­dens from 9 Jan­uary. For more in­for­ma­tion and tick­ets visit


Glenn El­ston.

“The Wind in the Wil­lows”.

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