Simon Phillips to Step Down as Artistic Director of Melbourne Theatre Company

News   Simon Phillips to Step Down as Artistic Director of Melbourne Theatre Company
Derek Young, chairman of the Melbourne Theatre Company's Board, announced July 28 that MTC artistic director and chief executive Simon Phillips will leave those roles at the conclusion of the company's 2011 season.

Simon Phillips
Simon Phillips

Phillips will continue to direct and program the 2011 season while an international search is undertaken to find a new artistic director and chief executive for the Australian company.

In a statement Young said, "Today marks the end of an era, as on behalf of the MTC Board and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne Glyn Davis, I announce that Simon Phillips has decided to resign from his positions as MTC artistic director and chief executive at the conclusion of the 2011 season. Simon began his long association with MTC as an associate director in 1987 before leaving to become the artistic director for the State Theatre Company of South Australia in 1989. Simon returned to the Company in 2000 to take up the roles of artistic director and chief executive for the Company.

"Since joining the company Simon has chalked up a phenomenal number of achievements. He has played a fundamental role in the establishment of our $55 million, state of the art, award winning MTC Theatre on Southbank Boulevard, providing the first permanent home for MTC. Simon has been crucial overseeing the move to our new headquarters at 252 Sturt Street, Southbank. . . . Simon along with his executive team, led by General Manager Ann Tonks, has been integral to the growth of the MTC subscriber base. Through innovative and strategic programming Simon has increased the MTC subscriber base by 75%, from 12,000 subscribers in 1999 to over 21,000 subscribers today - currently the largest theatre subscriber base in the country."

Phillips added, "It’s strange and sad to be leaving a company with which I’ve had such a long and passionate association. But it’s over a decade since I took up the reins and I feel it’s time someone else had a go. I’m not moving on to bigger and better things, because for me there is nothing better than the MTC. It’s simply the right time – the major goals I had for the Company have been reached, we have a theatre of our own, new premises for our administration and the highest subscription base in the country – so now it’s appropriate that someone with a fresh energy and vision take the Company forward into its next decade. The rewards of making theatre are inestimable, and I’ve been supported by an immensely loyal, hard working and cheerful staff, so there’s much I will miss, but I know that everyone (including me!) will grasp the opportunities of change with renewed excitement and vigour.'"

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