Report to the Community 2010 - Page 3

President’s Statement In 2010 Melbourne Festival truly became Melbourne’s festival. Physically it reached across the city itself, artistically it presented local artists in new works and international collaborations, and demographically it engaged with Melbourne’s diverse communities, giving as many Melburnians as possible a sense of ownership of their annual international festival. In this, my first Festival as President, we celebrated 25 years of bringing the finest contemporary art to Melbourne. Undoubtedly the centrepiece of the 2010 Festival was the epic production Seven Songs to Leave Behind, a monumental musical undertaking featuring Australian and international performers that played to an audience of nearly 9000 people in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. In a Festival first this matchless performance was filmed and screened as a world premiere television event on STVDIO, FOXTEL’s premium arts channel, to a national audience. Highlights further afield include co-presenting the Yea Autumn Festival in central Victoria where, for a second year, we provided programming, technical and event management assistance. Also, our regional touring program was expanded with performances of Beckett’s First Love by the internationally acclaimed Gare St Lazare Players of Ireland in Victorian regional centres Bendigo, Warrnambool and Warragul. The successes on stage were reflected in the financial returns. Melbourne Festival 2010 delivered a record box office of $2.79 million, an increase of 0.75% on the previous year, which in a time when the effects of the economic downturn are still being felt, not least in the arts sectors, is a very impressive result. Happily the Festival’s Audited Accounts showed a surplus of $119,128 for the year. Central to the Festival’s existence is the significant support received from our partners, sponsors and supporters. The extensive program of high calibre events offered each year would not be possible without it, and in 2010 we continued to build mutually beneficial relationships with government bodies, foreign governments, businesses, trusts, foundations and arts-loving individuals. In view of the achievements outlined above and detailed within, the next couple of years should prove an exciting phase in the Festival’s evolution. Under the continued artistic directorship of Brett Sheehy, the programs will build on the key initiatives of 2009 and 2010, with the aim that Melbourne Festival will become the pre-eminent destination festival in the nation, ensuring interstate and international visitation. This will be achieved by debuting and premiering some of the finest national and international artists and companies, by ensuring that Melbourne is the only place in Australia that some of the key festival projects are seen, and by making the Festival experience attractive to prospective audiences. We look forward to seeing you later in the year. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this review of the 2010 Melbourne Festival. Carrillo Gantner AO President Melbourne Festival – Annual Report 2010 Page 3