In 1996, during a period that saw the demise of many regionally based theatre companies in Australia, the board of the Murray River Performing Group decided that the structure which had carried the Company through its first sixteen years was no longer the most effective way to achieve the aspirations and goals of the Company. Local audiences were now seeking out work of the calibre found on the main stages of major cities.

The mission of the newly formed HotHouse Theatre was to challenge the immediate and wider communities with locally produced, high quality, professional theatre. The role of Artistic Director was expanded into an Artistic Directorate of (initially) 12 key individuals – a mix of local arts workers and others from state capital cities.

The enthusiastic response from a number of prominent industry professionals allowed HotHouse to grow and thrive in the local region. This core group became effective advocates for HotHouse, and were active in liaising with funding bodies and producers on behalf of the Company.

Since its beginning, the Artistic Directorate has always featured an eclectic mix of skills in directing, writing, dramaturgy, design, choreography, music, composing, performing, programming, strategic planning and arts advocacy.

As the company evolved, the return to a single Artistic Director model allowed HotHouse to maintain connections to the local and national artistic community through various consultative groups.