Read about who we are and our fantastical story.
South Metro Showtime (SMST) is an annual performing arts show, open to all members of Scouting and Guiding. We are a close community, leading to many lifelong friendships and wonderful memories for almost 40 years.
SMST is written, directed and run, by the youth members for the youth members
South Metro Showtime provides the opportunity for members to learn all facets of performing arts, from being on stage to behind the scenes, including staging, lighting, sound, costumes, make-up and more. In fact, many of our former members are now working in industry thanks to their start in Showtime.
The year was 1981. Three friends from the Beaumaris District, with some limited experience in theatre thought it would be a good idea to stage an annual variety show.
After discussing the idea at a District level, the idea grew somewhat and found itself at a higher level, being supported by the Scouting area then known as Bayside Area. An embryo of a new Scout show was born with the financial support of the Bayside Area and an expectation that an annual variety show, open to all members of the Scout and Guide movements within the Bayside Area could become successful in its own right within 5 years.
Little did the three instigators of the show, Mark Campbell, Leonora Goffin and Rod McKenna, realise what they had begun.
Within a few weeks, a number of personnel were recruited to take on tasks ranging from administration, technical, production, marketing and finance and lots of other areas needed to get a show off the ground. Everyone involved had a common trait – enthusiasm. Most involved had a common flaw – inexperience. However, blind experience was soon taken over by enthusiasm and planning for the new show, Bayside Showtime, was underway.
Little did all these people realise how much was involved in pulling a show together, and a short lead time was planned in order to get the show on stage in April 1982.
With a cast of about 30, three shows were planned to be performed at the Beaumaris High School hall. Friday’s opening night was a success. A problem was struck getting an audience for our Saturday matinee show, where only a handful of tickets were sold. None the less, the show must go on, and so it did. Felt a bit like a dress rehearsal, but it was good to polish up any final pieces for the final show.
A debriefing after the first show indicated everyones understanding of problems experienced during the first show and a desire to not repeat these mistakes for the following year. Overall, all were keen to return for the next season. A profit of $712.94 was able to be used for the start of the following year and agreement was made that the show should now look for a better equipped theatre.
And so, with a new set of scripts, some much needed experience and the satisfaction of knowing that this show can work, we moved on to the Pheonix Theatre in Elwood. With a slightly larger cast, of nearly sixty, and a theatre with limited dressing room and staging space, we had to adapt somewhat to fit the show into the venue, but adapt we did. The season was extended to 6 shows over two weekends, and more support through the Area was garnered to again create a successful show.
By now, everyone was getting a bit cocky, so it was agreed to move to an even bigger theatre. One which was able to fit our growing numbers of cast and more elaborate scenery requirements. The Alexander Theatre at Monash University was chosen as our new home. This was the most central theatre which could accommodate all our requirements and has proven to be an ideal home for the show for many years until it closed for renovations. Since then Showtime has found a home at River Gum Performing Arts Centre
To try and capture a wider spread of audience, the show season was extended to eight shows over two weeks, including two Saturday matinees. Apart from one year when the theatre availability only allowed a one-week season, the season has continued much the same.
A Sunday matinee replaced one of the Saturday matinees one year and this was highly successful and has been retained since, giving a good alternative for many of the Joey and Cub sections as well as being popular with many Grandma’s and Grandpa’s of the cast members.
During the early 1990’s a change to the structure of the Scout Association boundaries, Bayside Area no longer existed, and the show was renamed to become South Metro Showtime. The expansion of Bayside Area into South Metro Region meant that people from a wider range could become directly involved with the show.
Support and participation within the show has been growing slowly over the years and has involved people from as far away as Sorrento, Port Melbourne, Keilor, and Scoresby. Today the cast numbers well over 100, with many more than that assisting behind the scenes.
With the show passing 35 years of providing entertainment to tens of thousands of people, the show continues to grow from strength to strength. Many hundreds of young people (and not so young) can look back and say that they have experienced an adventure which has been loads of fun, a great challenge, and has enriched their lives forever.