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Media Release

MTC 2021 annual report

Melbourne Theatre Company today released its 2021 annual report, detailing a year of challenges, change and resilience at Victoria’s state theatre company.

2021 was again marked by lockdowns, theatre closures and frequently changing government restrictions that significantly disrupted MTC operations. In total, the Company cancelled 174 performances across the year – including three entire productions. Of the 188 performances staged, only 47 of them played to 100% capacity due to imposed venue capacity restrictions which saw house sizes vary from as little as 13% to 100%.

There was a total of 53,359 paid attendance to MTC’s mainstage productions and the Company maintained employment for 524 artists and industry professionals throughout the year.

MTC ended the year with an operating deficit of $920,000 (excluding restricted endowed gifts).

MTC Executive Director & Co-CEO Virginia Lovett said, ‘MTC’s financial result was a considerable achievement in the face of very tough operating conditions. The Company experienced a further $5.1 million of lost box office revenue on top of $13.7 million from 2020. In many ways, 2021 was an even more challenging year, as we navigated the ongoing pandemic and the rise of new COVID-19 variants.

‘MTC operated as flexibly and nimbly as possible, but the hurdles were many and varied. Still, we remained firm in our intention to return to stage as soon as possible after each interruption in order to provide employment for the creative sector and a sense of connection for our audiences.’

MTC Chair Jane Hansen AO said, ‘MTC’s 2021 result would not have been possible without the commitment of many. I would like to acknowledge and thank the passionate MTC community who once again showed extraordinary support in the form of ticket sales, subscriptions and donations. Strategic financial relief from federal, state and local governments recognised and appreciated not only our difficulties but also the valuable role that we play in the broader arts ecosystem.’

Despite the difficulties of 2021, there were notable successes in which the Company realised a number of long-term strategic goals. Chief among them was the launch of MTC Digital Theatre, the Company’s first foray into filming its productions for online release. Three productions were filmed in 2021, two of which were released that same year and the third in early 2022.

Ms Lovett said, ‘Launching MTC Digital Theatre was a highlight of 2021. In its first few months, MTC Digital Theatre has enabled us to reach audiences unable to travel to Melbourne; to support schools and universities with their online curriculum and reach socio-economically and geographically disadvantaged students in Victoria. The opportunity to engage with MTC productions in a digital format has unlocked many possibilities and we have been greatly encouraged by the enthusiastic response from audiences.’

As the year came to a close, Melbourne Theatre Company farewelled Brett Sheehy AO after ten years as Artistic Director and welcomed his successor, Anne-Louise Sarks.

Ms Hansen said, ‘As we look towards the future, MTC is a company poised for an exciting new era under the artistic direction of Anne-Louise. With audiences returning and a greater sense of post-pandemic optimism, we are proud to be playing an important role in re-energising our city and our state theatre company.’


Download a copy of Melbourne Theatre Company’s 2021 annual report.

Published on 17 June 2022

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