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MTC (sort of) weighs in to Brandis’ arts cuts controversy

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The board of the Melbourne Theatre Company has finally released a statement about Arts Minister George Brandis’ $105 million raid on the Australia Council but without actually mentioning Brandis, the cuts or the Australia Council.The board’s statement defends its silence on the Brandis cuts announced over five weeks ago by saying “actions speak louder than words” in its history of supporting small to medium arts companies and artists.

Statement from the MTC Board

Following yesterday’s board meeting (June 19) the Melbourne Theatre Company Board, including Executive Director Virginia Lovett and and Artistic Director Brett Sheehy AO, released its 2014 annual report and this statement of support for the small to medium theatre sector.

The 2014 annual report reveals MTC’s ongoing extraordinary and unstinting support for the small to medium sector and it is timely to remind ourselves at MTC that, in our view, actions speak louder than words.

Over the past three years we have invested around $1 million cash and $500,000 in contra support for the independent sector alone and the following 17 companies — Daniel Schlusser Ensemble, Fraught Outfit, The Hayloft Project, The Rabble, Sisters Grimm, Angus Cerini/Doubletap, Antechamber Productions & Daniel Keene, Arthur, Little Ones Theatre, Sans Hotel, MKA: Theatre of New Writing, The Zoey Louise Moonbeam Dawson Shakespeare Company, Dirty Pretty Theatre, Dee & Cornelius, Elbow Room, Rawcus and The Last Tuesday Society.

Further, in 2014 alone, MTC collaborated and/or co-produced with Arena Theatre Company, Windmill Theatre, Terrapin Puppet Theatre Company, Chunky Move and La Boite. Such collaborations are at the heart of much of MTC’s activities.

The works that resulted from our investment in and creative collaborations with these 22 companies have already had an audience reach in excess of 20,000 people, with some productions going on to tour interstate and internationally, some to be presented in future seasons and others currently on stage as part of MTC’s 2015 NEON Festival.

These partnerships indicate the creative pipeline that exists between major theatre companies, individual artists and smaller companies, enabling major companies to achieve excellence, innovation, and reach new audiences. It goes without saying that MTC is committed to these artists and companies, to their future and that of the small to medium theatre sector.

We are looking forward to meeting with our federal and state colleagues to discuss further how we can sustain this fragile ecology, at the very least maintain our support of these artists and companies and ensure Victoria remains a powerhouse of theatremakers.


Read more on Brandis’ Australia Council raid:

Protest planned for Opera Australia opening night

Major arts companies issue fresh statement on Brandis’ cuts

Senate Inquiry launched into Brandis’ arts cuts

Australia Council cuts: the companies on the chopping block

Editorial: Shameful silence over arts cuts

The Brandis Heist

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