Jane Hansen AO steps down as Chair of Melbourne Theatre Company

MTC Jane Hansen AO photo by Peter CasamentoJane Hansen AO has concluded her tenure as Melbourne Theatre Company Chair, leaving a visionary legacy that will continue to enrich the Company’s contribution, reach and impact for the people of Victoria for years to come.

Joining Melbourne Theatre Company as inaugural Chair of the Foundation Board in August 2015, Ms Hansen was appointed Chair of the Management Board in January 2020. Over the past decade Ms Hansen has been instrumental in realising the Company’s future-focused vision, overseeing new leadership, business and philanthropic strategy.

During her tenure as Chair Ms Hansen led the recruitment of a new Executive team, including Artistic Director & Co-CEO Anne-Louise Sarks, Executive Director & Co-CEO Sally Noonan and a restructure that elevated Martina Murray into the newly created position of Executive Producer & Deputy CEO.

Ms Hansen’s enduring passion for the artform of theatre, keen understanding of the need to ensure continuity, constancy and careful custodianship of Victoria’s state theatre company have been key themes of her tenure.

In 2016 she championed the Company’s ongoing sustainability with the launch of the Melbourne Theatre Company Foundation and the General Endowment Fund, designed to secure a vibrant artistic future for the Company’s artists and audiences in perpetuity.

Through the Hansen Little Foundation, Ms Hansen and her husband Paul Little AO donated $1 million to establish the Fund, the largest single donation from a private donor in the Company’s history.

As a departing gift, Ms Hansen and Mr Little have announced a further $500,000 donation to the Fund, with a commitment to match up to an additional $500,000 raised from the Company’s donors, creating a total opportunity for Melbourne Theatre Company of $1.5 million.

Ms Hansen’s leadership extends to her stewardship of the Company during the challenging times presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, guiding the Company through unprecedented obstacles and ensuring it could return in a strong and stable recovery position, optimally poised to return to the stage.

In concluding her tenure, Ms Hansen said, “For more than 70 years Melbourne Theatre Company has made a crucial contribution to both the cultural life of this brilliant city and to the artistic life of Australia,” she said.

“I am pleased to leave this treasured Company in good hands: with an ambitious artistic vision from Anne-Louise Sarks in lockstep with Sally Noonan, a supportive parent company in the University of Melbourne and a strong financial footing supported by exemplary governance,” said Ms Hansen.

Speaking to Ms Hansen’s legacy, Melbourne Theatre Company’s Artistic Director & Co-CEO Anne-Louise Sarks said, “Jane has worked tirelessly with Melbourne Theatre Company to opens audience’s minds and hearts to the power of theatre. Her vision will allow us to create and nurture Australian storytelling for decades to come,” said Ms Sarks.

“We are deeply grateful to Jane for her exceptional vision, passion and extraordinary contribution to the Company’s recent and future successes. Her legacy provides exceptional clarity as we move forward into an exciting new chapter, and her leadership and forethought will continue to inspire and guide us,” said Executive Director & Co-CEO, Sally Noonan.

Current Deputy Chair Patricia Faulkner AO will take over as Chair for an interim period until 30 June 2024 with the new Chair to be announced in June.

For more information about Melbourne Theatre Company, visit: www.mtc.com.au for details.

Image: Jane Hansen AO – photo by Peter Casamento