Report to the Community 2013 - Page 8

PRESIDENTS MESSAGE The 2013 Melbourne Festival was the final Festival in my tenure as President. 8 I am delighted that it received critical acclaim for the collection of extraordinary programs, including nine commissions, 16 international premieres and 13 Australian premieres. The 2013 Festival saw the continued growth and consolidation of several important strategic, long-term collaborations and partnerships, be they local, national and/ or international. A few important ones that immediately come to mind are the collaborations with the National Gallery of Victoria, Yarra Trams, Federation Square, Theatre Works, Multicultural Arts Victoria, Ilbijerri Theatre Company, the Foxtel Festival Hub and China Southern Airlines with the inaugural China Southern Airlines Concert in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. We couldn’t deliver such a diverse and high quality program without our partners and we are grateful to each and every one of them. I was also pleased to note increasing levels of participation and engagement of audiences, with one in five festival-goers new to the event. Indeed, throughout October there was a palpable sense around town of connecting the Festival with the life, character and spirit of Melbourne. I congratulate the new leadership team of Josephine Ridge and Katie McLeish on the success of their first Festival together. I also wish to acknowledge my wonderful board colleagues and the incredibly dedicated staff. There were so many shows I loved in the program this year from Australia, Europe and North America. Looking ahead, I think the Melbourne Festival should also be a leader in the presentation of exciting Asian programming and in providing increased opportunities for children and families to enjoy high calibre arts in the Festival context. During my term we have had really heartening increases in private and corporate support as well as big increases in box office. It is my great hope that our Government stakeholders – Local, State and Federal – will continue to increase their investment in Melbourne Festival, and indeed the Creative Industries as a whole, in order to substantiate Victoria’s claim to being a cultural capital, not only for Australia, but on the international playing field as well. That said, I am proud to leave the Festival organisation in good heart and on a revived trajectory towards a vibrant and sustainable future. Best wishes for the continuing journey. CARRILLO GANTNER AO, President