The tradition of performance at the Union Theatre began after the refurbishment of the theatre in the 1930s. Prior to this time many of the student revues and productions were performed in theatres located in the city, or in the College common rooms. Sir Raymond Priestly, the Vice-Chancellor of the University from 1935 -1938 was responsible for the remodelling of the theatre within the old and inadequate Victorian-Gothic Union House. The Union Theatre in those days seated approximately 500 without tiered seating. There was little storage space back-stage and the lighting was limited. The seating was donated to the Union by the Australian Paper manufacturers, after they bought the old Garrick Theatre. The first theatre manager, Des Connor had been the previous manager at the Garrick, and there is no doubt he would have been instrumental in ensuring the seating found its way to the Union! The first production staged at the new Union was Melbourne University Dramatic Club’s production of Storm Song, directed by Keith Macartney. It premiered on April 6th 1938.
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