22/10/2019 - 12:20

FMG joins Black Swan as principal partner

22/10/2019 - 12:20

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Rio Tinto’s 22-year relationship with Black Swan State Theatre Company has come to an end, as it was announced at the theatre company's season launch last night that Fortescue Metals Group will step in as its new principal partner.

FMG joins Black Swan as principal partner
Black Swan State Theatre Company had received $419,000 in donations from Rio Tinto in 2018. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Rio Tinto’s 22-year relationship with Black Swan State Theatre Company has come to an end, as it was announced at the theatre company's season launch last night that Fortescue Metals Group will step in as its new principal partner.

FMG’s role as principal partner strengthens the Forrest family’s connection to Black Swan, as Andrew Forrest serves as chair of both FMG and The Minderoo Foundation, which donated $480,000 to the theatre company in 2018.

In addition, Minderoo Foundation co-founder Nicola Forrest serves as the theatre’s chair.

Elsewhere, Minderoo Group chief operating officer and director Felicity Gooding serves as a non-executive director of Black Swan.

FMG chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said the mining giant and Black Swan were both strong WA brands with a dedication to building vibrant communities across the state.

“From the outset, it was Fortescue’s vision to ensure that the communities in which we operate thrive and we have been proud to support many West Australian initiatives and organisations,” she said.

Black Swan executive director Danielle Norrish said she looked forward to working with FMG to bring bold and adventurous theatre to WA.

“This partnership will assist us in connecting more broadly with the Western Australian public and help deliver programs which can make a real impact regionally, nurture new local talent and support our artistic programs," she said.

A spokesperson for Black Swan told Business News that Rio Tinto's departure as principal partner was due to a change in strategic direction for the mining company, and that Black Swan was grateful for the contributions it had made in the past.

During its time as principal partner, the global mining and metals company had subsidised a $20 ticket initiative between 2015 and 2017 as well as the theatre’s commissions for WA-based playwrights.

It was the second largest donor to the theatre in 2018, with $419,000, coming in behind only The Minderoo Foundation.

The change in principal partner was announced last night at the theatre company's 2020 season launch, which will run from February 21 to December 20.

This season will open with a performance of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, a co-production with Malthouse Theatre, running from February 21 to March 15.

Other notable productions will include Animal Farm, between September 3 and 27, and Oklahoma!, between November 28 and December 20.

Black Swan State Theatre Company is ranked 11th on the BNiQ list of arts and cultural organisations, with $6.2 million in total revenue.

Business News had previously reported on the theatre’s financial strain and found that The Minderoo Foundation’s $480,000 donation in 2018 had helped bolster its financial position.

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