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New Artistic Director for MTC

Volume 7 Number 3 March 14 - April 10 2011

Brett Sheehy has been appointed as the new Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC). By Christy Hopwood.

One of Australia’s most acclaimed artistic directors, producers and curators, Brett Sheehy, has been appointed to succeed Simon Phillips as Artistic Director of the Melbourne Theatre Company, a semi-autonomous department of the University of Melbourne.

Announcing the appointment, MTC Board Chairman Derek Young said: “We believe Brett is the best person to lead MTC into the next phase of its life and to affirm its place as one of the world’s great theatre companies and a flagship theatre company of Australia.”

Brett Sheehy has directed over eight festivals (three of the five international arts festivals in Australia’s State capital cities) and he is best known for commissioning and co-commissioning scores of new Australian works across every art form.

With a strong theatrical background, Mr Sheehy has worked for the Sydney Theatre Company for 10 years (1985 -1995) as their Artistic Associate, Literary Manager and Deputy General Manager.

“Brett brings over 26 years of experience collaborating with national and international arts communities, and we are delighted that he has accepted this all-important role,” Mr Young says.

“Building on the wonderful legacy left by Simon Phillips, Brett as our first non-directing Artistic Director will continue to program outstanding mainstage seasons putting together the best creative teams possible in order to deliver the finest theatrical experiences for our audiences.

“He will also focus on strengthening relationships and collaborations with Melbourne, Australian and overseas artists and arts organisations (big and small). Brett will utilise the MTC’s various theatres as a platform for developing, presenting and commissioning works by the next generation of emerging writers and theatre makers.“

Mr Sheehy will continue as Artistic Director of the Melbourne Festival until the end of October 2012, and will commence with MTC in a part-time capacity from the start of 2012 to program the 2013 Season. He will take up a full-time position with the company in November 2012. MTC General Manager Ann Tonks will take over as interim CEO until this time. An Artistic Directorate will be appointed shortly to program the 2012 MTC Season.

“Theatre is my original artistic ‘home’ and a return to the theatre – in a city I love and with a company of such national and international stature – is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Mr Sheehy says.

“I especially thank Simon for passing on the baton of a company in such wonderful artistic and financial health, and for his personal efforts in establishing MTC’s first physical home, the MTC Theatre. No artistic director could hope to inherit a more generous legacy from his predecessor.”