Report to the Community 2010 - Page 5

Melbourne’s Festival Melbourne Festival is one of Australia’s premier arts events. Heralded for its global reach and its importance to Australian and international artists, the Festival’s program focuses on the contemporary trends in all art forms and typically brings together over 700 artists each October in Melbourne. The Festival has a diverse history that has consistently evolved to reflect and stimulate the Australian arts scene, while providing audiences with direct exposure to internationally acclaimed artists whose work would otherwise not be seen in Australia. It also provides a platform for Australian work that is strengthened creatively by the context of a major Festival and the Festival’s ability to attract audiences who may not attend an independently produced presentation. As such it occupies a prominent position within Australia’s cultural events calendar. The first Festival was staged in 1986 under the artistic direction of Gian Carlo Menotti and was called the Spoleto Melbourne Festival. It emerged primarily to occupy the newly constructed Victorian Arts Centre, and to ensure that audiences had affordable access to the world’s outstanding productions on their local stages. Subsequent Festivals have been created by an impressive list of Artistic Directors including John Truscott AM, Richard Wherrett AM, Leo Schofield AM, Clifford Hocking AM, Sue Natrass AO, Jonathan Mills, Robyn Archer AO, Kristy Edmunds and, from 2009, Brett Sheehy. Each Artistic Director brings to the Festival a unique artistic viewpoint that generates spirited discussion and lively audience engagement over the course of an appointed term. Each year the Festival has a new focus, stemming from each Artistic Director’s particular curatorial approach, the visions of the selected artists, community and stakeholder expectations and reactions, and financial fluctuations. Melbourne Festival contributes significantly to the culture of Melbourne, Victoria and Australia. It attracts significant investment from State and City governments, and from the private sector. It presents a range of free and low cost events, as well as paid performances, for the benefit of a wide and diverse audience. The Festival operates in a sophisticated marketplace that offers many choices of arts, cultural, community and sporting activities. These take place both on a year-round and special event basis. Melbourne Festival is a hallmark event in the State’s major event calendar. The Festival program is delivered “Record $2.7m box office take for Arts Festival.” The Age through a wide range of public and private venues and spaces. Each Artistic Director selects venues according to the character and needs of the particular Festival program for the year. The Arts Centre is Victoria’s peak performing arts facility. The close relationship between the Festival and the Arts Centre is of primary importance. The CUB Malthouse is another performance hub for the Festival. In recent years, the Festival has also made extensive use of Arts House Meat Market, the Melbourne Recital Centre and other performing and visual arts venues. The Festival is governed by a Board of Directors, currently chaired by Carrillo Gantner AO. It operates with a full time staff of over 25 people across five departments. Melbourne Festival is funded predominantly by the Victorian Government. Other sources of income include the City of Melbourne, philanthropic and private sector support, corporate sponsorship, box office, international government support and merchandise sales. Grupo Puja! – K@osmos photo: John Sones Melbourne Festival – Annual Report 2010 Page 5