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Jean Tong’s MTC story

Hungry Ghosts playwright Jean Tong tells us how she felt so warmly welcomed in her first professional writing gig.

From artists to audiences, we all have an important part to play at Melbourne Theatre Company. We asked some members of MTC’s community what the Company means to them. Hungry Ghosts playwright Jean Tong tells us how she felt so warmly welcomed in her first professional writing gig.

The culture at MTC HQ radiates with warmth. As someone from a vastly different demographic to the majority of theatre audiences, I nevertheless found myself unconditionally welcomed by the Company. My approach to casting, process of developing text, and preferences for creative team were not only accommodated but also encouraged with the understanding that all of these decisions were made to allow my play Hungry Ghosts to thrive.

As a very early-career writer, writing Hungry Ghosts for MTC is the most significant step in my career. As my first professional MTC writing gig, being offered these resources allowed me to develop the project at a rigorous level, letting me develop the skills that will provide a strong foundation for future work and collaboration. The Company’s trust in my ability to deliver on this work is also instrumental in developing my confidence in pitching more ambitious works, as well as opportunities to begin conversations with other industry professionals for future works.

As a leading theatre company, I see MTC as a key voice in the nation’s public arena, providing space for debate about urgent socio-political issues through engagement with an artistic rendering of that debate. MTC’s huge following has deep reaches into the rest of Victoria’s residents, whether through the show itself, the conversations it sparks between patrons and non-patrons, and through its ambient marketing boldly displayed around the state. The messaging, concerns and vision aired through the programming of this major company provides ways of speaking to a national identity, helps broker connections between different communities, and opens up opportunities to engage with issues that would otherwise feel highly disconnected from our everyday lives.

MTC invites you to play your part. Your donation will bring more inspiring stories to life at Melbourne Theatre Company. Every dollar contributes directly to a bright future for MTC and the cultural landscape of Melbourne and Victoria. Learn more and donate online at

Published on 19 April 2018

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