In 1993 outdoor theatre at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens began under the Zootango Theatre Company banner.
Unfortunately Zootango Theatre Company disappeared but Theatre Alfresco emerged to take on the running of family theatre in the gardens, and by 2003 had developed a strong following, not just for its work at the Gardens but also in producing shows for festivals around the state.
Most notable of these was the strong relationship built with the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, for which we produced a theatre program for 3 consecutive festivals. The total audience estimate in 2001 was over 20,000 including the gardens show. A show was even mounted aboard a ship (The Windward Bound”) and circumnavigated Australia performing in ports around the country, telling the Matthew Flinders story, through the eyes of his cat.
Some of the shows have been remounted with new designs, new actors different sites within the gardens. But all have been professional, imaginative, witty and a lot of fun for both the team and the audience and this has been the company’s brand.
The performers, the scripts, the music, the design and production have all been integral to the development of the brand – Big Monkey Inc. Our repertoire includes Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Aladdin, Sindbad the Sailor, Chaos at Cooee Creek, The Lizard of Oz and Pinnochio, all stories that captivate audiences of all ages.
Audience members have reported looking forward to their annual visit to Hobart because they would get to see our next show in the gardens. Each year the gardens Show has been transported to Camp Quality, and performers are always keen to ‘have a go at a gardens show’. The Botanical Gardens have been fantastic over the years and I would like to particularly thank Mark Fountain and Jim Cane for their enduring support and vision for encouraging theatre in the gardens.