A look back at some of the ‘Best in Show’ events

A look back at some of the ‘Best in Show’ events

Through out lock down the Showtime team has been busy keeping our morale up by looking back and reminiscing on some the events we thought we’re our ‘Best in Show’. Interestingly, we all had a very different perspective on what we thought were some of the best. For a few of us, it was the grand events with a lot of fanfare and red carpet arrivals. For others, it was the first time we activated a new space, or an existing venue in a different way. Some of us felt nostalgic about an event that helped us grow as an event professional, and there was one big softy among the group who felt proud of doing something for the kids. These are our memories, from the Showtime event archives that we cherish the most.

The very first seated dinner held in the Redmond Barry Reading Room - (Roan)

" We literally had 90 minutes to set for 350 guests . . . it was a very tight turnaround "

“We were very excited when we booked in the very first seated dinner to be held in the reading room. Up until this point there had not been events allowed in the space. I enjoyed it for its logistically challenge – we literally had 90 minutes to turn a reading room in to a seated event for 350 guests. It wasn’t just the challenge of the table, chairs, and settings – we also had a full production team bumping in a stage, lighting, sound and a substantial performance that insisted on having at least two dress rehearsals. But we pulled it off with such ease. So much work went in to maximising event minute we had. The client was so impressed, and I had never felt more proud of pulling off such a tight turn around”.

Roan McCreth is a Senior Event Producer and has been with Showtime Event Group for over 7 years. Starting out overseeing operations on South Wharf, Roan now produces the largest and grandest events to take place at the State Library Victoria.

My first large precinct event as the lead producer - (Devin)

" I knew it was a successful event when they extended on the night . . . twice! "

“It was my first big event as lead producer and is always one of the biggest events on the Showtime calendar. This corporate client had held their major networking event with us for the last 4 years, and each year we strive to elevate the experience for them. Our promenade event concept is very famous, and we activate 9 venues along South Wharf so we can accommodate up to 5,000 guests. Each venue always has a different activation that is themed with various cuisine, production and entertainment. It’s like producing 9 events that occur concurrently. with it being their 5th year coming back. I knew the event was a success when they extended on the night twice. I was also pretty chuffed we nailed the cloakroom. Sounds silly but getting the cloak room on entry to work successfully for over 5,000 guest is a pretty ambitious task”

Devin Bosley is an Event Producer based in South Wharf. Whilst Devin today looks after the core corporate clients, she began our Showtime journey as a wedding producer. 

Activating the library forecourt for an unforgettable red carpet arrival - (Abi)

" To greet our guests on the iconic SLV forecourt . . . with so much entertainment and fanfare . . . the show was breathtaking "

“Despite the definite nostalgia that it was one of the last large events we were able to host before lockdown, it is still stand alone one of my favourite planning experiences. There is nothing we like more than working with our phenomenal team of suppliers to showcase this amazing city, it’s people, and it’s expertise with food, beverage and hospitality. More than that, the cultural institutions and venues we partner with our steeped in historical significant, while equally passionate about engaging with the future of education, collaboration and entertainment. To be able to greet our guests on the iconic SLV forecourt, in the middle of the CBD, with so much entertainment and fanfare while the passers buy stopped and enjoyed the show was breathtaking. All those little details that turned it from a get together to a MetMelbourne Gala! – Cocktails, live chefs, local produce, beautiful styling, the amazing Melbourne Gospel Choir, and each and every guest how got in the spirit (dressed in their best and excited to celebrate the transformation of the Ian Potter Queens Hall for a new generation).

Everyone summed up the feedback in one word –  WOW! We had the unique privilege of meeting with many of the attendees at the trade show over the following few days. All of which are key event planners, Association Directors, or leaders in their individual fields. To have the option to host a Conference, discussing significant issues at Victoria’s most prestigious seat of learning, and to also know that it could be transformed in the evenings into one of the most breathtaking event venues available blew their minds!”

Abi Napper is Head of Operations at the State Library and oversees the extensive operations of the site and its’ 11 unique spaces. In 2020 Abi was a Victorian Finalist at the MEA Awards for Best Operations Person. 

A heavily themed surprise 50th Birthday (Gavin)

" As guests walked in . . . they remarked on how much effort had gone in . . . it was a total crowd pleaser "

Chris’s 50th Birthday was a surprise “Arabian” themed birthday party put on by Chris’s wife. The brief was to heavily theme Showtime Events Centre, taking the guests to a different world upon entry. There was no expense spared and the space transformed unlike I had ever seen before. The guests invitations were mock ‘plane tickets’ – setting the theme from the beginning. On the day I had palm trees brought in, sheesha pipes set up, coloured sheer draping hanging from the ceiling, Moroccan style rugs and cushions positioned inside the drape circles, a velvet throne, a whiskey station, an ice sculpture, Arabian dancers, drag queen performers and most importantly, a professionally created Arabian inspired menu. It was an event to behold.

The couple were over the moon, Chris could not stop smiling and Anita was so relieved that everything had come together so perfectly after a long time planning. As guests walked in, dressed to the nines, they remarked on how much effort had gone into this event, it was a total crowd pleaser. The next day Anita expressed how thankful she and Chris were, and how I had been so invested along the entire journey.

Gavin Johnson is a Wedding and Social Event Producer based in South Wharf. Gavin often uses his flare for design and styling across events for clients. In 2020 Gavin was a runner up for Best Wedding Coordinator at the Victorian ABIA Awards. 

The first wedding reception to be held in the La Trobe Reading Rooms' 184 year history (Hayley)

" It was a true black-tie gala affair with art deco and Gatsby styling "

It was the first ever wedding in the Latrobe Reading Room so very significant in the Library’s history. Not to mention a pivotal moment showcasing Showtime Event Groups talents as we dared to go where others said it was not possible! And it certainly lived up to expectations. It was a true black-tie gala affair with art deco and Gatsby styling. The elegant table settings featured crystal glassware, touches of gold and pure white floral arrangements. Ivory menu and place cards had gold foil and art deco accents to compliment the setting. There was a spectacular 7 tier champagne tower on arrival and a 5 tier cake to top it off.

Every element of the wedding told the same story right down to the bridesmaid’s earrings matching the eye-catching emerald green lights featured heavily throughout the venue. So much thought went into every element of the guest experience to make it truly spectacular. It was a combination of all these little details in the planning that came together to have a big impact on the night.

The moment Elizabeth and Glenn saw the Latrobe Reading Room they knew it ticked all the boxes for their wedding. With the room exuding grandeur and elegance it was the perfect setting for their wedding vision to come together.

Hayley Murnane is Head of Weddings for Showtime Event Group. Over Hayley’s long tenure, always in weddings, Showtime have been awarded ABIA Awards for Best Wedding Venue in Victoria four times, and Best Wedding Venue in Australia twice.  

2013 AIME Welcome Party, the first of many promenade events (Brad)

" It was the first time that we took over the entire South Wharf precinct and created a truly unique Melbourne Festival on the Yarra River "

Still to this date the 2013 AIME Hosted buyer and VIP welcome reception is the most amazing event in my eyes, I feel like it is the event that started it all. It was the first time that we took over the entire South Wharf precinct and created a truly unique Melbourne Festival on the Yarra river, with food stations, roving canapes with the entire menu inspired from Victorian region and beverages to match. To finish the night off a surprise performance from Jon Stevens himself with a spectacular fireworks display with our amazing city as the backdrop. Having the areas zoned with different food and beverage offering to encourage guests to explore the precinct, we provided maps with show times for different performances across the precinct which is really where our precinct events concept came to life all those years ago

The feedback couldn’t have been better, the buyers and the Bureau raved about this event, to be able to show off this amazing precinct for the first time through the buyers eyes was truly a highlight. Since the bureau has entrusted us each year with this iconic Melbourne event and we continue to top it off each year!

Melbourne Business Events Showtime Event Group State Library

Brad Dabbs is General Manager of Showtime Event Group. Brad has been in the role since Showtime Event Centre first opened back in 2011, and overseen what the group has grown in to today. 

Building bikes for children in need (Nicole)

" Many of the kids that received this gift were in foster care and had never had a bike of their own before and they were completely overwhelmed by the gesture. "

A few years back we hosted a staff team building activity for a corporate client, followed by a gala dinner in Cargo Hall.  The reason why this event sticks in my mind, is that this company was very socially conscious and wanted to host a staff event that also gave back to the community.  In this case, for the activity the guests were put into groups and each group were given the tools and parts to put a child’s bike together.

What the teams did not know, is that the final bike would be presented as a gift to an underprivileged child.  Many of the kids that received this gift were in foster care and had never had a bike of their own before and they were completely overwhelmed by the gesture.  Needless to say it was very emotional to witness and I swear there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

Nicole Carter is Senior Event Producer at Showtime Event Group, and looks after the core corporate business in South Wharf. Since the pandemic hit, Nicole has been one of the lead producers for Showtime’s online and hybrid events.  

Seeing the Library's Russell Street entrance activated for a major opening night event

" It was the first gala event to use the Russell Street entrance, and it was activated so impressively "

State Library Victoria hosted the opening night party for the Australian premiere of ‘Come From Away’, playing at the Comedy Theatre. ‘Come From Away’, the winner of the 2019 Olivier Awards for Best New Musical, tells the remarkable true story of the small town that came together in the week following the September 11 attacks.

The impressive set up had the building façade glowing blue, as guests were ‘snapped’ on the arrival carpet, and enjoyed a signature ‘Super Pale Ale’ by Stomping Ground, which complemented the impressive catering by Showtime Event Group.

The event was produced by Whole Nine Yards Group in collaboration with Showtime Event Group, who transformed one of the library’s ‘Historic Reading Rooms’, into an ‘Impressive Event Space’. The star-studded event marked the very first time the Redmond Barry Reading Room has been used for such a high scale event since it was transformed into a reading room in 2004 (formerly McCoy Hall).

With a tight one hour turn around, a coordinated effort between audio visual production, entertainers, furniture hire and our very own catering team, seamlessly delivered an event stage across multiple library spaces, that also included the Russell Street Welcome Zone and Cowen Gallery.