Melbourne Theatre Company has announced the cancellation of its remaining 2020 Season.
Eleven of the 12 productions in MTC’s 2020 Season have now been cancelled or forced to close this year as a result of the ongoing COVID crisis and increased restrictions in Victoria.
The final two shows in the season – Girls & Boys and Sunshine Super Girl – were due to open in October and November, respectively.
In September, and after much rescheduling, MTC was due to rehearse and live stream to schools its Education Production, SLAP. BANG. KISS. This has also been cancelled.
MTC Artistic Director & CEO Brett Sheehy AO said, ‘This announcement is the dreaded conclusion to an incomprehensible year for MTC. While perhaps not a surprising outcome given the severity of the situation in Melbourne, these decisions don’t get any easier and it is no less upsetting news to share.
‘It is hard to describe the enormity of now having cancelled or shut down all but the first show in our 2020 season, and the effect it has had on our staff and artists, and of course our audiences and supporters. The very reason we exist is to bring people together through live theatre, so to have our stages bare for almost the entire year is crushing for all.’
MTC Executive Director & Co-CEO Virginia Lovett said, ‘The cancellations and closures equate to the loss of 345 jobs for actors, creatives, specialised makers, show crew and production, front of house and back of house staff.
‘MTC derives 78% of its annual income from ticket sales and associated interconnected revenue centres such as venue rental, food and beverage and corporate events. With a $12.5 million box office loss and government subsidy sitting at 7% of our annual revenue, this year has been a seismic crisis for the Company.’
MTC is the state theatre company of Victoria and – in a normal year – would employ over 500 artists and industry professionals, stage over 520 performances, tour regional Victoria and have over 230,000 attendances including up to 10,000 students. The Company is currently operating on skeleton staff with its permanent and part-time workforce.
‘The impact of this crisis will be felt for many years to come as we move from survival to recovery. 2021 will be a very different year at MTC but we eagerly await the moment when we can open our doors again, welcome back our audiences and play an integral part in Melbourne’s economic revival.’ Ms Lovett said
Both Mr Sheehy and Ms Lovett acknowledged the strength of the MTC team and the support of MTC’s community this year.
‘The challenges this crisis has dealt everyone at MTC on a professional and personal level have been immense. It is to the credit of our team that these challenges have been met with grace, cooperation and resilience. Their ability to adapt to new working arrangements and dive headfirst into producing creative digital content that we’ve never done before – and under the most testing of circumstances – makes us very proud to work alongside such brave and determined people.
‘Likewise, the support we’ve had from our audiences and wider community has been a cherished reminder of how important and valued MTC is to the people of Melbourne. They have buoyed our spirits. MTC is very fortunate to have such a passionate community around it,’ they said.