Melbourne Theatre Company last night announced the 2019 recipients of its Lifetime Patron Award at a special preview event of the Company’s 2020 Season.
Dr Geraldine Lazarus, Greig Gailey and Ursula Whiteside were presented with the award in recognition of their remarkable contributions to MTC.
In presenting the awards, MTC Executive Director & Co-CEO Virginia Lovett said, ‘Our annual Lifetime Patron Award shines a light on our most loyal and passionate supporters and recognises the outstanding role they’ve played in the MTC community.
‘This year we are delighted to acknowledge three individuals whose contributions have had, and continue to have, a lasting impact on the Company and the lives of many thousands of people. They are among MTC’s greatest supporters and advocates, and true leaders in the community.’
Ursula Whiteside has been an active member of MTC’s community since its earliest days, and was in the audience for the 1955 production of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. Ursula was the MTC Society’s first president and later went on to join the MTC Board in 1983. The MTC Society was established to bring audiences closer to the company and help raise money to supplement the variable government funding that MTC received. It was Ursula’s leadership and passion for the company that began MTC’s history of building a community of likeminded supporters, and laid the foundations of today’s donor program. At 93 years old, Ursula continues to donate and subscribe to every play in MTC’s annual season.
Dr Geraldine Lazarus and Greig Gailey are long-time MTC subscribers, and donors since 2012. Their passion and commitment is the driving force behind one of the Company’s most inclusive and impactful initiatives, the MTC Regional Enrichment Program. This annual program, entirely funded by the Gailey/Lazarus Foundation, offers free educational enrichment activities to students, young people and educators in regional Victoria. It includes workshops and pre-show talks that coincide with MTC’s touring education production, VCE Drama and Theatre Studies workshops, in-depth classes on Shakespeare, professional development sessions for regional drama teachers, and online resources for teachers and students that demystify career pathways in theatre production, acting, directing and design. MTC’s Regional Enrichment Program reaches people all across Victoria and embodies Geraldine and Grieg’s commitment to providing better access to arts education for young people whose geographical, social or financial situations don’t allow them the same cultural experiences as others.
In recognition of their invaluable contribution to MTC, the 2019 Lifetime Patron Award recipients were presented with a handmade gold lapel pin compliments of Kozminsky.
In 2015, the MTC Foundation introduced the Lifetime Patron Award to acknowledge and celebrate MTC’s most loyal and extraordinary supporters, and their astonishing generosity that has enriched the arts throughout Victoria and Australia.
MTC’s Season 2020 will be announced to the public on Tuesday 3 September at a launch at Hamer Hall.
Published on 15 August 2019