In releasing its 2015 annual report today Melbourne Theatre Company reported a highly productive year of artistic and executive successes, confirming the Company’s vital role in the creative industries ecology.
In 2015 MTC presented 18 productions across its mainstage program, NEON Festival of Independent Theatre, family production and education show; and had 6 productions on tour or interstate transfer. This translated to 685 performances and 230,550 paid attendances.
The Company also premiered 4 new Australian plays on the mainstage, worked with 494 actors, creatives and industry professionals, established the MTC Foundation and undertook its first economic impact study revealing that MTC’s production of North by Northwest alone contributed $3.7 million worth of economic benefit to the City of Melbourne.
Financially, MTC generated $24.4 million in total revenue and ended the year with a small operating deficit of $19,259. A strong result given a variable year at the box office and government funding down to just 8.3% of the Company’s total income.
MTC Executive Director Virginia Lovett said, ‘2015 again highlighted only too clearly how reliant the Company is on box office and philanthropic income with government subsidy falling below 10% and going backwards in real terms. Most shows have very high capacities to reach budget and in a volatile and highly competitive marketplace every production is a risk. As demonstrated with North by Northwest, MTC drives real economic impact across the city through jobs, retail spending and cultural investment. One key strategic focus for 2015 was to fully establish the new MTC Foundation to provide a secure and sustainable revenue stream for the Company. Jane Hansen was appointed the inaugural Chair in August and together with her fellow Foundation Board members immediately began work to propel the Company into its next exciting phase of growth.’
MTC Chair Terry Moran AC said, ‘MTC’s 2015 Season was like any other, a tightrope walk, with risk – commercial on one side, artistic on the other – being the pole we hold. There were some wobbly moments, especially with a couple of shows that were lauded by the critics but failed to find their potential audience. Yet that won’t dissuade the Company from taking the same kind of risks in the future. The answer is not to be more commercial, but to work harder to attract new audiences, while, of course, retaining our large and loyal subscriber base, and to set our sights on what the Company can do to help itself.’
MTC Artistic Director Brett Sheehy AO said, ‘In 2015 we continued to implement our strategy for the development and production of new Australian stories and the nurturing of new audiences. This strategy remains a focus for 2016 and beyond, and with the MTC Foundation now established we are on our way to realising many of our dreams previously prevented by financial constraints. Other good stories abound from 2015. We presented four world premiere seasons of Australian works in our mainstage program and a national premiere of an Australian play in our family program. Two of our productions were nominated among five works for the 2015 Helpmann Award for Best New Australian Work – a record for MTC – and there were several outstanding box-office hits including North by Northwest, Jumpy, and The Weir as well as many other artistic triumphs for the community that certified we are Melbourne’s theatre company, and we remain as inventive, innovative, resourceful and relevant as ever.’
MTC 2015 Highlights
• $24.4 million total revenue
• $12.7 million earned at the box office
• 685 total performances attracting 230,550 paid attendances
• 4new Australian plays had their world premiere on the MTC mainstage
• 131% of core government funding spent directly on cast and creative wages
• The Company worked with 494 actors, creatives and industry professionals
• MTC’s production of North by Northwest generated $3.7 million of economic impact for the City of Melbourne
• 16 writers under commission; 19 directors mentored through secondments, Women in Theatre Program and Assistant Directors Program
• Supported 7 independent companies via NEON Festival of Independent Theatre
• 6 productions on tour or interstate transfer
• 7,949 school tickets sold to MTC productions