At our Season 2016 launch event on 7 September 2015, MTC Foundation Chair Jane Hansen spoke about the important part our Donors play in ensuring a prosperous future for MTC.
It is a privilege and a pleasure to introduce myself to you, but before I continue I would like to first acknowledge your part in making MTC a success – through over 20,000 subscriptions every year, and without which we would not be here tonight. So on behalf of the Board and the Executive, thank you. I would also like to recognise the management and administrative support we receive from the University of Melbourne, of which MTC is a small but valued part. And I would also like to thank our many Corporate Partners, who demonstrate a willingness to invest in our narratives, as they are bought to life on stage.
Now I would like to explain the newly formed Melbourne Theatre Company Foundation. Like you, I love the arts, am a passionate theatre goer, and long-term subscriber to MTC. But I am also a Donor to this Company. Not only because I want to be fully engaged in those activities that interest and excite me, but also because I believe that live story telling through theatre is a vital part of the cultural fabric of our society – and our city! One that merits, and requires our support. I, together with my Board, am committed to enabling MTC to provide the best main stage theatre possible – the exciting details of which you are hearing about tonight! But as well, we are working hard to ensure a prosperous future for MTC so that we will remain able to fund the many other initiatives we undertake as a leader in the creative arts.
The Foundation was launched late last year with two key purposes. The first is to consolidate and distribute donations to the Company across its core activities. The second longer-term goal is to contribute to the building of adequate financial reserves to ensure that MTC has a robust and sustainable future. Out of this emerges a third and very worthwhile purpose – to strengthen the mutually rewarding relationship between MTC and its Donors. Among this gathering tonight many of you may have considered becoming an MTC Donor – but perhaps our aims were not entirely clear, or our needs not entirely apparent. Or perhaps you were unsure as to how your funds could be directed towards programs that resonate with your particular interests, such as education or scholarships, increasing accessibility to theatre or sponsoring new playwrights. The Foundation has been created to provide this sharper focus around our philanthropic activities. We want to engage more with Donors; to find out what it is you care about in your theatre company, to raise your awareness that you are an essential part of this enterprise, and that your contribution is very much valued.
While the certainty of subscription income forms the cornerstone of our business and we certainly appreciate and thank you for your ongoing loyalty, currently only about 5% of Subscribers donate to Melbourne Theatre Company. And it is these donations that ensure that we are able to put on a full Season of compelling theatre year after year while keeping ticket prices at reasonable levels. It also means that we are able to maintain our commitments – to education, to audience diversity, to professional development of future Australian talent, and to supporting the small to medium theatre sector. ALL of these activities are loss makers for the Company, yet vitally contribute to an artistic climate that the people of this State, and its government, are justly proud. So please consider making a donation to MTC along with your Subscription form for the upcoming season.
This year, the MTC Foundation has introduced the Lifetime Patrons Award to acknowledge the extraordinary support of some key Donors. We deeply appreciate the contributions of all our Donors, but felt that we must find a suitable way to recognise those individuals whose generosity has been remarkable, and sustained, over many years. The five inaugural Lifetime Patrons honoured at a recent Donor function were Roger Riordan, Peter and Joan Clemenger, and Allan and Maria Myers. Without their philanthropic leadership, the range and reach of MTC’s programs would simply not be possible.
So, on behalf of the MTC Foundation, the MTC Board of Management, and the executive team, I again thank and congratulate our first Lifetime Patrons, along with heartfelt gratitude toward all of our generous Donors. And again I urge everyone here tonight to help us transform lives through theatre by becoming an MTC Donor – it is a lot of fun and very rewarding!
Chair of MTC Foundation, Jane Hansen
7 September 2015, MTC Season 2015 Subscriber Launch