Our story begins back in 1990 when I received a boxed murder-mystery game as a Christmas gift. It just so happened that for the New Year holiday that year a group of friends and I had booked a spooky old mansion house for a holiday in the Lake District in the North West of England. The scene was set to play the game in the perfect setting.
I was inspired and decided I could do it myself. So I wrote my first story (The Curse of the Pharaohs) , assembled a cast of thousands and found our first venue. Late 1991 saw the very first show take place. It ran over two nights and we had more cast than guests but the seed was sewn. Our cast reduced (12 was a tad excessive), the stories got better, the audiences got larger, we ran shows over just the one evening and the business built steadily. A business partner joined the team and we worked together over the following years. When things wound up in the UK we had six different stories and we were running shows most weekends across the north of England.
For totally unrelated reasons I moved to Australia in 2004. It was May 2008 when I attended a party in the Carringbush Room at the Retreat Hotel in Abbotsford. The lovely room and period feel inspired me to ‘dust off’ one of the favourite stories from the UK, A Dinner to Die For. I assembled a cast and an audience of friends and in August 2008 A Dinner to Die For played of the first time in Melbourne. It was meant to be a one-off and just for fun. The feedback was incredible and I was encouraged to continue and so one of the cast and I set up a small company to be a part of the 2009 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. To our relief we got great reviews and the rest, as they say, is history. Bare Elements Productions was born.
This year we took part in our eighth Melbourne International Comedy Festival and now offer a wide range of private and corporate entertainment with our unique blend of dinner shows and hosted games. In 2016 we began offering our shows and entertainment in Sydney. The Retreat Hotel remains our ‘ancestral home’ and A Dinner to Die For is still going strong.
A big thank you to all our cast members, venue partners and guests, in both hemispheres, over the last 25 years and to all those we’ve yet to meet.