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History

Beginning as the Union Theatre Repertory Company in 1953, Melbourne Theatre Company is the oldest professional theatre company in Australia. From the small company John Sumner founded to present repertory seasons of the world’s best plays at the Union Theatre at the University of Melbourne, MTC grew rapidly to become a major Australian arts company, a Melbourne institution and the model for all the State theatre companies that followed.

In sixty years, MTC has presented more than 750 mainstage productions and numerous tours, play readings, play workshops and education shows. We have staged intimate home-grown dramas and splashy overseas musicals. We have always believed that good theatre must contain all that life contains the seemingly insignificant and the extravagantly momentous.

As Australia changed, MTC has changed with it. We like to think that we have frequently been at the forefront of Australian culture, introducing new ideas and new ways of looking at our lives, our society and the world; helping to explain a swiftly evolving landscape as we moved through it. Today, with Southbank Theatre as our performance home and our headquarters in Sturt Street, Southbank, MTC faces as many challenges as in that first season more than half a century ago, yet it will continue as it has always done, to present Melbourne audiences with the best drama from Australia and overseas to the highest standards.