One of Australia’s greatest international trailblazers, Maureen Wheeler AO has accepted an invitation to join the Board of the Melbourne Theatre Company announced Chairman Terry Moran AC today. Currently a member of the Council of Governors of Opera Australia’s Capital Fund, this is her first appointment to a major Australian arts company Board of Management.
Maureen Wheeler will add her brand of entrepreneurial flair to the expertise of MTC Board members Lyndsey Cattermole AM, Professor Barry Conyngham AM, Professor Glyn Davis AC, Jonathan Feder, Gillian Franklin, Ian Marshman, Martyn Myer AO, Brett Sheehy AO, Virginia Lovett and Adrian Collette AM (Observer).
Terry Moran said, “If MTC can be seen to be going places it’s never been before, you can bet that Maureen Wheeler has already been there. She has a unique international business and cultural perspective and a tremendous ability to get things done. MTC Artistic Director Brett Sheehy and Executive Director Virginia Lovett are successfully expanding the horizons of MTC, and we couldn’t be happier to have Maureen on board.”
“After having spent most of my life as a traveller and publisher, I was ready for a new adventure. The invitation to help steer a flagship Australian company was irresistible,” said Maureen Wheeler. “Promoting the performing arts and brilliant new ideas are two of my great passions, and MTC brings both of these together in an incredibly exciting endeavour.”
Maureen Wheeler was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She moved to London when she was 20 years old and two years later set out on a journey across Asia. Her travels took her through Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal, then down through South-East Asia (including hitch-hiking from Bangkok to Singapore) before arriving in Bali in late 1972, at a time when today’s tourism boom was just starting to take shape.
A New Zealand yacht (another hitched ride) took her down to Australia and a year later in Sydney she and her husband Tony published the very first Lonely Planet guidebook. In the years to come Maureen spent another year travelling in South-East Asia, studied for a degree in Social Work at La Trobe University in Melbourne, had two children and lived in San Francisco and Paris. Quite apart from running Lonely Planet.
Since the sale of Lonely Planet, Maureen has been busy with the Planet Wheeler Foundation, which supports educational and health projects in the developing world, and the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing Ideas in Melbourne, but her love of opera has kept her particularly busy. Her passion for German composer Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle has taken her to performances from Manaus (in Brazil) to Los Angeles, New York to London, Copenhagen to Beijing. Her campaign as the principal patron of the Melbourne Ring Cycle saw the operatic extravaganza performed in Melbourne in late 2013. She was previously a member of the board of Tourism Tasmania and the Northern Territory Tourism Advisory Board.
Maureen Wheeler Joins MTC Board