Rosemary Forbes and Ian Hocking have been actively supporting Melbourne Theatre Company as Subscribers and Donors for well over 15 years. Their patronage of Melbourne’s theatre and arts scene is demonstrated not only through their financial contribution but in their energy, enthusiasm and advocacy for the performing and visual arts communities of this city.
Both Rosemary and Ian engaged with theatre from a young age. For Ian it was through school – as a young teen attending theatre productions for English class. His first rendezvous with live performance intrigued him, setting in motion a love and interest in the technical side of a production with a particular curiosity in how lighting, soundscapes and projections are used to communicate moods, ideas and themes to an audience. Rosemary, on the other hand, found her parents’ passion for performing arts infectious and can remember as a young girl attending the ballet, music theatre and theatre performances regularly with her mum.
The first MTC production which they can remember seeing was David Williamson’s 1971 hit, The Removalists. Set in a Melbourne police station and exploring issues of domestic violence, and the abuse of power and authority, Ian and Rosemary were surprised, shocked and amazed at the powerful impact theatre has when it acts as a mirror to your own society. A long way from the Ibsen, Chekov and Shakespeare that they had grown up with, this provocative piece was relevant, contextual, challenging and made them think!
It is the intrinsic qualities of theatre; innovation, contemplation, entertainment, community and fun, which Ian and Rosemary believe are fundamental to any society and which underpin their passion for and backing of the arts in Melbourne.
This is why they see the support of MTC as so important. Realising that if we are to continue to produce innovative, entertaining, challenging and thought provoking works we must have the resources to support the ecosystem which makes this happen – from actors to set designers, production crew to office staff. Rosemary and Ian passionately believe that contributing financially, over and above buying tickets, is vital to ensure MTC remains an inspirational, healthy and vibrant theatre company.
Has philanthropy gathered enough momentum in Australia? Nowhere near enough, if you ask Rosemary, who believes that there is far greater potential for philanthropic giving in Australia, particularly as governments continue to strip funding from the arts.
On behalf of everyone on and off stage we would like to thank Rosemary and Ian for their continued support of MTC, their enthusiasm and their passion – you are truly part of the MTC family.