Monash Theatre and Performance Centre receives $1 million donation for Artists in Residence Program

Dr Jeanne Pratt AC

Dr Jeanne Pratt AC

Melbourne philanthropist Dr Jeanne Pratt AC has donated $1,000,000 to Monash University’s Centre for Theatre and Performance, significantly boosting student opportunities in musical theatre.

Announced at a Monash University graduation ceremony on Thursday 26 May, when the University awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree, the donation establishes the Jeanne Pratt Musical Theatre Artists in Residence Program.  The program will enable drama and music students to work with, and learn from, leading musical theatre practitioners.

In partnership with Dr Pratt, The Production Company and The Pratt Foundation, this program builds on the University’s strong track record in performing arts and will focus on training students in creating uniquely Australian musical theatre.

Through the program, artists in residence will mentor students in their craft and foster increased collaboration within the industry.

In association with the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, the Monash University Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) and the Centre for Theatre and Performance, the program will include an annual professionally produced musical theatre production. The production will give students the opportunity to work with leading specialists from across all areas of musical theatre and gain a greater understanding of what makes a musical experience so special for an audience.

Dr Pratt said she was delighted to support the development of the University’s musical theatre students:  “I’m extremely pleased the program will give these students an opportunity to fully develop their skills and prepare for a career in the musical theatre industry. I look forward to seeing their progress and attending Australian musical theatre performances here at Monash.”

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO thanked Dr Pratt for her generous patronage of the performing arts at Monash: “I look forward to the program becoming a cornerstone of the student experience at Monash and an important influence on the future of musical theatre in Australia.”

Monash’s musical theatre study program offers students an integrated combination of theory and practice. It equips students with the fundamental skills to enter the industry and takes a universal approach to training writers, composers, librettists, directors, music directors and choreographers of musical theatre.

Background information:

  • The Pratt family is one of Monash University’s most generous benefactors and following this latest gift of $1million the Pratt Foundation has now donated over $9 million to the University across a variety of faculties and departments.
  • Dr Pratt is Chairperson and founder of The Production Company (established in March 1998), a not-for-profit theatrical company which performs Broadway musicals and is now in its 18th season.  The Company specialises in promoting and showcasing emerging theatre talent in the Melbourne and Australian theatre industry.
  • The Pratt family has a long association with Monash University with some of Dr Pratt’s children and grandchildren attending Monash.