The first-rate creative outflow from The National Theatre of Great Britain to Arts Centre Melbourne continued today with the appointment of Sarah Hunt to the role of General Manager, Marketing and Audience Development at Australia's biggest performing arts centre.
Chief Executive Judith Isherwood announced today that Ms Hunt will leave her role at London's illustrious theatre company and join the Arts Centre Melbourne executive team on Monday, March 18.
The National Theatre's multi-award-winning production of War Horse opened at Arts Centre Melbourne on New Year's Eve to rave reviews, echoing those the show has enjoyed during West End and Broadway seasons. From May 17, the most successful comedy ever to be staged by The National Theatre, One Man, Two Guvnors, is being co-presented by Arts Centre Melbourne and Melbourne Theatre Company for a strictly limited season.
Sarah Hunt has been the National's Director of Marketing & Ticket Sales since 2006, having joined the company in 2004. She was previously Head of Marketing & Press at the Bristol Old Vic, and Marketing Director at the Donmar Warehouse with Sam Mendes. Some of her key achievements at the National have been to revolutionise the way the National understands its audiences, growing and sustaining them at an average 90% capacity - which accounted for 40% of London's total play-goers in 2012. She has widened audiences too, partly through the Travelex £12 Tickets scheme and Entry Pass, a new £5 ticket scheme for 16-25 year-olds. She led the marketing strategies for the West End launch and transfers of War Horse and One Man Two Guvnors; implemented a successful digital marketing strategy, which began with the National's first e-trailer in 2006; worked in partnership with American Express, Travelex, Accenture, The Sunday Times and The Guardian; and led the marketing campaign for Inside Out, the London festival at South Bank during the Olympics.
Arts Centre Melbourne is a defining Melbourne landmark and Australia's largest and busiest performing arts centre. Able to accommodate more than 20,000 at any time, last year Arts Centre Melbourne staged more than 4,400 performances and public events, hosting over 2.3 million people to ticketed and free events.
By comparison, The National Theatre's 2,300 seats in three theatres on London's South Bank, together with the phenomenal success of War Horse, One Man, Two Guvnors in the West End and Broadway and NT Live in cinemas, attracted a 2.3 million paying audience worldwide.
"I am very pleased to have been able to score a hat-trick with the National and lure Sarah to our side of the world," said Judith Isherwood. "Arts Centre Melbourne is determined to occupy the pre-eminent position in Australia, while establishing Arts Centre Melbourne as one of the world's great performing arts centres.
"Our audience and event numbers are big numbers anywhere, and this inspires us to keep working towards our vision to be one of the world's great centres, and to play in the same league as other greats, like London's Barbican and Southbank Centres, the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC and New York's Lincoln Centre. Sarah's extensive experience in these markets will add greatly to the outward-looking entrepreneurial approach we are taking with everything we do," said Ms. Isherwood.