The Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) has had to cancel its 2020 program, and the Arts Centre, which hosts many of the company’s productions, is closed indefinitely due to Covid-19. But the show must go on, so the MTC has launched a new digital platform, MTC Now, for armchair theatre-goers.
The site is populated with virtual behind-the-scenes tours of MTC’s Melbourne HQ, trivia, treasure hunts, recommendations for things to watch and read, recordings of live performances – including some from London’s famous National Theatre – and more.
While clicking your way through the rehearsal rooms and production studios, you’ll learn about Australia’s longest-running theatre company. See how costumes are aged using steel wool and dye, watch the wardrobe team making wigs, and performers rehearsing their lines. You can even hunt for hidden props from past productions.
MTC will also be sharing some of its own audio plays and readings, alongside international stage recordings via the National Theatre at Home YouTube channel.
In July MTC Audio Lab launched on the platform, with the tagline “Theatre for Your Ears”. With its first series, Great Australian Speeches, listen to a collection of speeches, texts and poems – from the 1800s to today – that cover times of significant change in Australia’s history.
Think Banjo Paterson’s The Man From Snowy River, Sir Robert Menzies’s The Forgotten People, and Ellen Van Neerven’s powerful poems Politicians Having Long Showers on Stolen Land, White Excellence and All That Is Loved. They’re being directed by MTC associate director Petra Kalive and performed by a host of Aussie actors.
You can also hear from comedian Hannah Gadsby about the enduring pertinence of the speeches chosen to be included.
The website will be updated weekly.