Just when you thought Melbourne’s theatre industry had hit rock bottom, it turns out “rock bottom” was really a trap door. Melbourne Theatre Company has announced the cancellation of the remainder of its 2020 season due to the Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent restrictions across Victoria.
When restrictions first came into effect in mid-March, MTC initially cancelled all performances until September. Four months later in July, the theatre company announced that its spring reboot, As You Like It, would also be canned. The announcement that the remainder of the season (Girls & Boys and Sunshine Super Girl) has been cancelled means that 11 of MTC’s 12 2020 productions have been cancelled due to coronavirus.
In a normal year, MTC employs more than 500 artists and industry professionals. Like most theatre companies, MTC derives the majority of its income from ticket sales and associated revenue streams (such as venue hire and food and beverage sales). The company has lost $12.5 million in box office sales and operating on a skeleton staff, with MTC executive director and co-CEO Virginia Lovett saying: “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 artistic director and 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.”
If you would like to max a tax-deductible donation to MTC, you can do so online. The company has also pivoted to producing and releasing digital content through its online portal MTC NOW.
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