The Melbourne Theatre Company (popularly known as MTC) is a theatre company based in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1953, it is the oldest professional theatre company in Australia, and has its own theatre, Southbank Theatre – which houses the 500-seat Sumner and the 150-seat Lawler – located in Melbourne's Arts Precinct in Southbank. Despite being recognised as Victoria's State theatre company, it is a department of the University of Melbourne. Currently, it offers a Mainstage Season of ten to twelve plays each year, a season of new and emerging works, and an Education Season along with affiliate writers programs. It has a current subscriber base of 21,000 people and plays to a quarter of a million people annually.