On a rainy night in winter
Offshore Theatre Inc., was formed in the winter of 1995, when six friends, unanimous that Phillip Island was in need of its own theatre company, met on a rainy night in winter. It was decided there and then that a theatre company on the island was not only viable but necessary. The group included Amanda Price, Anne Davie, Michael Cleeland, Sue Pearce and Sharon Davie. From that night the theatre came into being. It was agreed that the new company was to produce a Pantomime or Melodrama the following summer. Thus a play was chosen, an enthusiastic group of players cast and Cinderella became the first production staged by the burgeoning company. At that time the company had not been given a name. Lots of alternatives were thrown around, such as Phillip Island Players and Phillip Island Drama Group, but they all seemed so drearyand tired.
The group wanted to describe the new company in a way that reflected life on Phillip Island. Michael Cleeland suggested Onshore Theatre and it was enthusiastically agreed to. A few days later, however, Michael was discussing the name with some local surfer friends. They told him that onshore wind was not what the surfers looked for when heading out, but that an offshore wind was much more favourable. Michael quickly made a few phone calls and it was decided that Offshore Theatre would be the company’s name. The group was incorporated soon after that. Cinderella was a huge success and set up the company financially, allowing it to produce more shows. At that time the company attempted to put on three productions a year, a comedy, a drama and a pantomime. These days the company thrives on producing a major production once a year, and staging readings at the Phillip Island Winery on Berrys Beach Road.
Shows are regularly sold out as the company continues to deliver quality theatre that has entertained audiences for almost twenty years.