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Goodbye Ms Tonks

16 Jul 2012

Goodbye Ms Tonks Image

After 18 years in the job, Melbourne Theatre Company’s (MTC) general manager Ann Tonks is stepping aside, with the organisation in considerably better shape than when she started.

Ms Tonks played a vital role in the moves of both the old MTC offices and theatre, and credits these as the biggest changes to the company during her time.

“I think the major changes have been the physical ones – all within Southbank. The theatre on Southbank Boulevard which took many, many years is very special,” Ms Tonks said.

“We spent a long time trying to get a new headquarters in Southbank. I’m now sitting in an office looking out the window at a tree and telephone poll and the light is coming in. We’ve come a long way!” she said

“The fact that we’re all in the building together – often you find the office in the city, the workshop out in the ’burbs and the actors elsewhere. But here we’re all together.”

It’s not only the company that has undergone extensive change while under Ms Tonks’ watch, the suburb itself is unrecognisable to the one she started  at in 1994.

“Our old building was in Ferrars St and known as South Melbourne. We got a letter in the mail from Australia Post to say the postcode had changed and we were now in Southbank. I thought – but we’re nowhere near Southbank,” Ms Tonks explained.

On Southbank, Ms Tonks believes it is well on its way to being a prime location for residents and visitors alike.

“What it needs and hopefully this is what the future will have, is areas like the arts precinct. I walk down Sturt St and constantly am stopped by people I know to have a chat,” Ms Tonks said.

“There is a lot more down here now, but next they need to develop cafes and shops, that’s what the area needs in the next 10 years, especially for residents.”

As for what to do next, first on the list for Ms Tonks was a well-deserved holiday.

“The key will be to have a holiday, I’m looking for a break,” she said.

“The thing about this job is that it’s all-consuming. You work during the day and then see your show or somebody else’s show at night, so it’ll just be nice to have a break from that.”

MTC will be looking for a new general manager over the next few months, and Ms Tonks will be staying on until a suitable replacement is found.

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