Report to the Community 2011 - Page 4

President’s Statement Artistic Director Brett Sheehy certainly delivered with his third Melbourne Festival in October 2011. Not only did the Festival achieve record box office and high attendances, taking a total of $2.9 million, it also attracted outstanding public and critical response for its program. MTC. His successor has been appointed, Josephine Ridge, though her title has been changed to Creative Director (and joint CEO with Executive Director Tim Jacobs) to indicate the changes being made in our Festival model. Josephine comes to Melbourne Festival with a distinguished pedigree in the performing arts. She is already hard at work developing her ideas around programs and partnerships. The Board extends heartfelt thanks to all our partners, sponsors, patrons and supporters who make the Festival possible and encourage us to be ambitious about the future. In particular we thank our major partners, the Victorian government through Arts Victoria, the City of Melbourne and FOXTEL who, in addition to direct support, carry some Melbourne Festival programs to a national audience through STUDIO, their dedicated arts channel. I also take this opportunity to thank my very committed Board colleagues and the hard working management and staff who deliver the Festival for your collective pleasure, fun, inspiration and exhilaration. Hundreds of thousands enjoyed the huge and enigmatic public sculptures Angels and Demons that presided over Swanston Street and St Kilda Road from the Town Hall to the Arts Centre, while the theatres were packed for great international and Australian productions. Everyone has their own favourites: for me this included the stunning Hedda Gabler from the Schaubuhne Theatre in Berlin that was both utterly faithful to Ibsen’s text and yet utterly contemporary, the surprising Rhinoceros in Love from Beijing that gave an insight into relationship issues among young Chinese, India’s gorgeous Manganiyar Seduction, the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Aftermath the devastating documentary theatre piece from New York on the Iraq War, Assembly that brought our own Chunky Move together with the Victorian Opera in a fascinating partnership in music and movement exploring the curious behaviour of crowds, the unique Quartetthaus with its remarkable ‘in your face’ chamber music from the Australian National Academy of Music, and many more. This October will see Brett’s fourth and final Festival before he takes up his next challenge as Artistic Director of the Over the last 18 months, the board of the Melbourne Festival has been engaged in an important process of strategic review and definition of goals. We have been asking ourselves the fundamental questions, namely what kind of festival does the community of Melbourne want and deserve, and what will that Festival look like in 2020? We believe that Melbourne Festival should be one of our city’s pre-eminent major events uniquely identified nationally and internationally with Melbourne and ‘owned’ by its citizens. A Festival that reaches a broader demographic with a program of greater critical mass, diversity, breath and impact; that attracts wide public participation through expanded accessibility, reach and presence across the city; that delivers a large suite of creative, civic and community partnerships; and that attracts significantly increased private, corporate and government support. We aspire to be a strong, capable and admired organization that has a high reputation for leadership, artistic excellence and civic value. These are ambitious goals and they will take time to be achieved, but we set out with conviction that is the correct road and with enthusiasm to tackle the challenges ahead. In a year when state and federal governments are under significant financial Page 4 pressure, we must therefore lead from the front to build capacity through increasing private and corporate support, expanding our box office and other earned income, and building partnerships to deliver great experiences for the people of Melbourne and the visitors who come from interstate and abroad to enjoy the annual Festival program. I encourage you to read the details of our last year in the following pages and to join with us in the coming years as we continue to build and reposition the Melbourne Festival so that you and all Melburnians experience a major event that is refreshed, re-energised and renowned. Carrillo Gantner AO