Simon J. Robinson – Performer, Writer, Director & Producer
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 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 sown. 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 it had inspired me to dust off one of the favourite stories from the UK, A Dinner to Die For. I assembled a cast of friends and an audience of their 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 not make it a one-off and so one of the cast and I set up a small company to be a part of the 2009 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Bare Elements Productions was born. To our relief we got great reviews and the rest, as they say, is history. This year we took part in our fifth Melbourne International Comedy Festival and now offer private and office parties, our unique blend of dinner shows and hosted games. The Retreat Hotel remains one of our favourite venue partners today.
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.
Simon J. Robinson
Simon J Robinson
Simon began acting and performing since the creation of his interactive entertainment business in the UK in 1991. He has subsequently written and produced dozens of interactive entertainment productions. He co wrote both A Dinner to Die For and The Time Machine. His performance experience combines with formal training from CAE and Actors Showcase in Australia.
Craig has been a professional host of pub trivia nights for over 2 years as well as being a trained facilitator in a variety of therapeutic community groups. He has written several short comedy performance pieces several of which have been performed. He has also applied his unique talents to be the creative force behind many interactive events at private parties.
Ben graduated from the Actors Showcase Theatre School in Spring 2010 and was keen to put his newly found skills into practice with Bare Elements and has been part of all of our shows ever since. Ben has ambitions to develop his solo stand up comedy act and played the lead in a recent production of ‘Clouds’.
Charlotte is one of the newest Bare Elements’ cast, but is no stranger to murder mysteries, having hosted them for around 15 years. She has put her degree in drama & performance studies to good use, appearing in theatre productions locally and internationally. These days, Charlotte can often be found recording voiceovers, role-playing for medical students or educating youngsters on environmental matters through performance.
Emma has always loved to perform, whether it be on stage, screen or at the local karaoke bar. She has a passion for all things creative but above all, enjoys making people laugh. She has trained at various schools in Melbourne over the years including VCA, The Rehearsal Room and most recently the Melbourne Actors Lab. She is very active in the arts community helping run a popular non-profit event for actors, writers and directors called Crash Test Drama Melbourne. She has recently been snapped up as Production Manager for the outstanding Independent Theatre Company, Mockingbird Theatre. When she isn’t playing Fanny Farquar and has some very precious spare time you would find Emma seeing a show, a movie or enjoying some of Melbourne’s amazing cuisine!
Teagan, an experienced actress and singer, having studied at The National Theatre and Swinburne Theatre Arts. She enjoys singing and playing guitar around Melbourne and always has been performing with Bare Elements for over four years.