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ATG Entertainment
Company typeLimited company
IndustryEntertainment
Founded1994
Founders
Headquarters,
United Kingdom
Number of locations
More than 64 venues and 1 cinema complex in 3 countries (UK, USA & Germany)
Key people
  • Ted Stimpson (Chief Executive)
  • Tony Ball (Executive Chairman)
  • ShanMae Teo (Chief Financial Officer)
  • Michael Lynas (Managing Director – Content)[1]
Owner
Number of employees
11,000 (December 2022)[5]

ATG Entertainment [6] formerly The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), is a major international live entertainment organisation headquartered in the United Kingdom, with offices in Woking (head office), London, New York, Sydney, Mannheim and Cologne. ATG's key operations comprise three inter-related activities: venue ownership and management, ticketing and marketing operations, and show productions.[7]

ATG runs more than 64 venues in Britain, the US and Germany. The company is among the most prolific theatre producers in the world with co-productions in the UK, New York, across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.[8] It is involved in event ticketing services through ATG Tickets, LOVEtheatre and Group Line.

The company was founded and run by the husband-and-wife team of Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire OBE, who topped The Stage 100 list of prominent UK theatre personalities from 2010 to 2016.[9]

Business model

ATG's business model involves the combination of theatre ownership with production management, marketing and ticket operations.[10] ATG manages (and in some cases owns) venues, mainly theatres, which host shows for paying audiences, including shows created by its production functions. ATG's production functions create shows, which are hired out for performance at theatres including theatres managed by ATG, and ATG's ticketing and marketing function sells and charges fees for selling tickets, for venues including those owned by ATG.

Theatre ownership and management

ATG manages more than 64 theatres and one cinema in the UK, the US, and Germany. ATG's portfolio of 10 West End theatres include the Ambassadors, Apollo Victoria, Duke of York's, Fortune, Harold Pinter, Lyceum, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Playhouse, and Savoy.[11] ATG also has UK regional theatres in Aylesbury, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Folkestone, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Richmond, Sunderland, Stoke-on-Trent, Stockton on Tees, Torquay, Wimbledon, Woking and York.

In the US, ATG controls seven Broadway theatres, the Lyric Theatre, and the Hudson Theatre, the latter leased from a subsidiary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.[12] In 2015, ATG acquired ACE Theatrical Group, giving ATG control of the King's Theatre in Brooklyn, New York; the Saenger Theatre and Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts in New Orleans, Louisiana; and the Majestic Theatre and Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio, Texas.[13] In 2023, President of Jujamcyn Theaters, Jordan Roth sold a 93% stake of their five Broadway Theaters. This acquisition includes the August Wilson, the Walter Kerr, the Eugene O'Neill, the Al Hirschfield, and the St. James Theatre.[14][15]

Also in 2015, ATG became leaseholder and took over the management of the Theatre Royal, Sydney's oldest theatrical institution, one of the city's premier venues and ATG's first theatre in the Asia-Pacific region,[16] though the New South Wales government closed the venue in 2016.

ATG is the majority shareholder of BB Group,[17] One of the leading producers and promoters of premium live entertainment in Europe, with a particular strength in touring musicals and dance productions throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. BB Group productions include West Side Story, We Will Rock You, The Rocky Horror Show, Cats, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ballet Revolución, The Lion King and The Bodyguard. BB Group has won the tender to re-develop the Staatenhaus in Cologne as a 1700-seat theatre.[18]

Theatre producing activity

ATG has its own producing arm, ATG Productions. ATG 's production activities expanded with the launch of Theatre Royal Brighton Productions and the formation of producing partnerships with directors Jerry Mitchell and Jamie Lloyd in 2011 and 2012. ATG has a number of major production company initiatives and partnerships including Jerry Mitchell Productions,[19] Theatre Royal Brighton Productions[20] and Jaime Lloyd Productions.

ATG has a group partner company, Sonia Friedman Productions (SFP), a West End and Broadway production company responsible for major theatre productions in London and on Broadway in recent years. Recent SFP West End and Broadway theatre productions and co-productions include the UK premiere of The Book of Mormon, Jez Butterworth's The River on Broadway, starring Hugh Jackman; The Nether, Bend It Like Beckham: the Musical, Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch; Electra, King Charles III, Sunny Afternoon, Shakespeare in Love, Jerusalem, Ghosts, Mojo, Chimerica, Twelfth Night, Richard III and Old Times. Friedman also collaborated with J. K. Rowling on the 2016 stage play based on the Harry Potter stories, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in co-production with Colin Callender.[citation needed]

Current and recent ATG co-productions

Current and recent ATG co-productions include The End of Longing, starring Matthew Perry; The Maids, starring Uzo Aduba, Zawe Ashton and Laura Carmichael; The Homecoming, starring John Simm, Gary Kemp and Keith Allen; The Ruling Class, starring James McAvoy; Oresteia, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, starring Tamsin Greig; East is East, starring Jane Horrocks; Richard III, starring Martin Freeman; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, starring Robert Lindsay; Jersey Boys, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, starring Jason Donovan / Duncan James; Inala, Love Me Tender, Macbeth, starring James McAvoy; The Hothouse, starring Simon Russell Beale and John Simm; Passion Play, starring Zöe Wanamaker; Posh, Jumpyand Constellations (Royal Court at the Duke of York's); Dolly Patron's 9 to 5 – the Musical, Legally Blonde – the Musical, Monty Python's Spamalot, The Rocky Horror Show, Goodnight Mister Tom, The Mystery of Charles Dickens, starring Simon Callow, South Pacific, starring Samantha Womack and Paulo Szot; All New People, starring Zach Braff; Ghost – the Musical , Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker!, Being Shakespeare, starring Simon Callow; The Misanthrope, starring Damian Lewis and Keira Knightley; West Side Story, Elling, starring John Simm; and Guys and Dolls, starring Ewan McGregor.[citation needed]

Older productions

ATG's earlier productions include the co-production of The Weir in London and on Broadway; Smokey Joe's Cafe in the West End; Slava's Snowshow in the West End and North America; and the musical Carmen Jones.

Broadway productions

Recent ATG productions on Broadway include The Mountaintop, starring Samuel L Jackson and Angela Bassett; Exit the King, starring Geoffrey Rush and Susan Sarandon; and John Doyle's production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber Fleet Street. ATG also co-produced Constellations on Broadway and currently co-producing The King and I with Lincoln Center Theater.

Productions in Australia

ATG's productions in Australia include Ghost the Musical, Legally Blonde – the Musical, Thriller Live, The Rocky Horror Show, Guys and Dolls and West Side Story.

Ticketing and marketing operations

ATG runs ATG Tickets, which provides the in-house ticketing services to ATG's UK theatres and manages ATG's Theatre Card membership programme and ticketing promotional partnerships. The ticketing website atgtickets.com was launched in 2008 and has since been recognised by Hitwise as the UK's number one theatre ticketing website, with 20 million unique visits per annum.[21]

In 2011, ATG Theatre Card, the UK's largest paid-for theatre membership scheme was launched. Ticket Machine Group, a long established ticket agency, was acquired by ATG in 2013.

LOVEtheatre.com and Group Line

In 2013, in order to increase the variety and scope of its operation, ATG acquired the Ticket Machine Group with its brands, Group Line and LOVEtheatre.com, both of whom continue to be major ticket agencies in their own right in London.[22]

History

Beginnings

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Squire and Panter had known each other since 1979, and Panter offered Squire a job after she was made redundant in 1986. The company now known as ATG began through Panter meeting property developer brothers Peter and John Beckwith. The Beckwiths' company, London and Edinburgh Trust, was working on a development in Woking, Surrey, that was to include an arts and entertainment complex, and the Beckwiths asked Panter and Squire to plan and manage it. When London and Edinburgh Trust was sold before the Woking development was completed in 1992, a structure was set up that allowed Panter and Squire to continue to run the theatre. Around that time the ATG company was established, with founding investors including Eddie Kulukundis.

In February 1992 ATG bought the Duke of York's Theatre from Capital Radio, with significant support from Kulukundis. In 1995, ATG bought its second London theatre, the Ambassadors. The company also bid successfully for contracts to manage new theatres being launched in Milton Keynes and Stoke-on-Trent.

ACT deal

ATG underwent major expansion in 2000 through the acquisition of seven West End theatres from Associated Capital Theatres (ACT): the Albery (now named the Noël Coward), the Comedy (now named the Harold Pinter), Donmar Warehouse, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Whitehall (now Trafalgar Studios) and Wyndham's theatres. Expansion required the involvement of larger corporate investors including AREA Property Partners[23] and Carlton Television.

Subsequent deals included taking on the running of theatres in Bromley, Richmond and Glasgow.[citation needed]

Live Nation deal

In November 2009, ATG consolidated its position as the major UK theatre owner by purchasing the Live Nation UK theatre portfolio of 16 venues in England and Scotland in a £90 million acquisition.[24] Live Nation sold the theatres as part of a business decision of "selling off assets that are not core to our live music strategy".[25] At that time Exponent Private Equity became the new majority owner of ATG by financing the theatre takeover.[26] Exponent provided at least £75m of financing for the deal, which valued ATG at £150m.[26] Coinciding with the expansion, former BBC director general Greg Dyke joined ATG in a new role of executive chairman.[24]

Potential competition concerns led to an investigation by the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Its conclusion was that "the OFT does not believe that it is or may be the case that the merger has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom" and "[t]his merger will therefore not be referred to the Competition Commission".[3]

Expansion outside the UK

In 2012, ATG indicated an intention to expand into international theatre ownership, possibly in Australia and China.[27] This included the appointment of Tim McFarlane as CEO for ATG Asia/Pacific. In November 2012 it was announced ATG would be establishing a regional headquarters in Sydney.

ATG's acquisition of Broadway's Foxwoods Theatre in May 2013 heralded the company's US debut, with Panter commenting, "Ownership of The Foxwoods Theatre within the group will provide a catalyst to expand in the North American market."[28] (In March 2014, ATG renamed the venue the Lyric Theatre, following the end of the naming sponsorship deal.)

Later in 2013, global private equity firm buyout firm Providence Equity Partners purchased became a majority shareholder in ATG from Exponent. Exponent retains a minority stake in ATG as part of the deal and continues to work with Providence and the existing management team including Joint CEO's and co-founders Sir Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire OBE. Greg Dyke continues in his role as ATG chairman.

In August 2015, ATG became leaseholder and took over the management of the Theatre Royal, Sydney's oldest theatrical institution – marking ATG's first theatre in Asia Pacific. In September of the same year, ATG acquired ACE Theatrical Group. ACE operates the King's Theatre in Brooklyn, New York; the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, Louisiana; the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in New Orleans, Louisiana; the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio, Texas; and the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio, Texas. In December 2015, ATG announced that through its subsidiary, Hudson Theatre LLC, ATG entered a long-term lease for the Hudson Theatre, its second theatre on Broadway, from a subsidiary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc group of companies (M&C).[29]

In February 2023, it was announced that ATG would merge with Jujamcyn Theaters.[30][31] In July 2023, Jordan Roth sold a 93 percent stake in Jujamcyn's five theaters to ATG and Providence Equity. In exchange, Roth bought a 7 percent ownership stake in ATG's two other Broadway theaters, the Lyric Theatre and the Hudson Theatre.[14][15]

Culture

Panter has on several occasions described ATG as a company "of national stature but with local sensitivity".[32][33]

Ownership

ATG is controlled by Providence Equity Partners. Exponent Private Equity has a minority stake.[2] Peter Beckwith, through his company PMB Holdings, is a "major shareholder".[4] Theatre impresario and shipping broker Eddie Kulukundis was a shareholder.[34] Panter and Squire own 8% of ATG, with an option on a further 5%, according to reports in 2003.[34]

List of venues managed by ATG

Theatres

Start year indicates the year of ATG's first involvement, End year indicates the last year of ATG involvement (where applicable).

In terms of ownership, it is often unclear whether ATG own the freehold to a theatre or a leasehold: reports use terms such as buy, purchase and own, but rarely specify whether they are referring to the freehold or to a leasehold.

Current venues

West End
Venue Location Start year Seating capacity Notes
Ambassadors Theatre London 1995 444 Stephen Waley-Cohen acquired the Ambassadors from ATG in 2007.[23][35] ATG reacquired it in 2018.[36]
Apollo Victoria Theatre London 2009 2,328[37][38] Part of the Live Nation deal.[24]
Duke of York's Theatre London 1992 646[39] Part of the Live Nation deal[40]
Fortune Theatre London 2001 432[41] [42][43]
Harold Pinter Theatre London 2000 836 Part of the ACT Theatres deal.
Lyceum Theatre London 2009 2,116 Part of the Live Nation deal.[24]
Phoenix Theatre London 2000 1,233 Part of the ACT Theatres deal.
Piccadilly Theatre London 2000 1,184[44] Part of the ACT Theatres deal.
Playhouse Theatre London 2003 775[45] [46]
Savoy Theatre London 2005 1,113 [47][46]
UK regional
Venue Location Start year Seating capacity Notes
The Alexandra Birmingham 2009 1,347[48] ATG acquired the theatre as part of the Live Nation deal.[24][33]
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Aylesbury 2009 1,198[49] ATG manage the theatre under a 15-year contract (from 2010 to 2025) with Aylesbury Vale District Council, with the council paying ATG approx £1.75m for the 2010–2015 period.[50][51]
Bristol Hippodrome Bristol 2009 1,951[52] ATG acquired the theatre as part of the Live Nation deal.[24]
Edinburgh Playhouse Edinburgh 2009 3,039[53] ATG acquired the theatre as part of the Live Nation deal.[23][24]
Globe Theatre Stockton on Tees 2019 3,000 New contract[54]
Grand Opera House York 2009 1,028[55] ATG acquired the theatre as part of the Live Nation deal.[23][24]
King's Theatre, Glasgow Glasgow 2002 1,785[56] ATG manage the theatre and lease it, via subsidiary Glasgow Theatres Ltd., from Glasgow City Council on a 21-year lease from 2002.[57][58]
Leas Cliff Hall Folkestone 2009 1,004 ATG manage the theatre for Shepway District Council under contract.[59]
Liverpool Empire Theatre Liverpool 2009 2,381 ATG manage the theatre on behalf of The Empire Theatre (Merseyside) Trust Ltd., a trust set up by Merseyside County Council in 1979 when MCC rescued the theatre, then scheduled for closure by Moss Empires.[60][61]
Manchester Opera House Manchester 2009 1,915[62] ATG acquired the theatre as part of the Live Nation deal.[63][24]
Milton Keynes Theatre Milton Keynes 1998 1,438[64] ATG manage the theatre (through a wholly owned subsidiary, Milton Keynes Theatre Ltd.) for the Milton Keynes Theatre & Gallery Company (a charitable body).[65][66] ATG were appointed as theatre operator in 1998, the venue opened in 1999.[67]
New Theatre Oxford Oxford 2009 1,785[68] ATG manage the theatre which they lease from Oxford City Council.[69]
New Victoria Theatre Woking 1995 1,331[70] Panter and Squire were involved with the theatre from 1992, but ATG did not purchase it until 1995.[23]
New Wimbledon Studio Wimbledon, London 2003 80[71] ATG manage the theatre for the London Borough of Merton and charitable trust Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust, and lease it from them under a 30-year lease from 2003.[72][73]
New Wimbledon Theatre Wimbledon, London 2003 1,622[74] ATG manage the theatre for the London Borough of Merton and charitable trust Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust, and lease it from them under a 30-year lease from 2003.[72][73]
Norman Bragg Studio Aylesbury 2009 N/A Renamed from Second Space in March 2022
Palace Theatre Manchester 2009 1,998 ATG acquired the theatre as part of the Live Nation deal.[23][24][63]
Princess Theatre Torquay 2009 1,491 ATG manage the theatre which they lease from Torbay Council. Lease acquired as part of the Live Nation deal.[75][24]
Regent Theatre Stoke-on-Trent 1997 1,615[76] The theatre opened in 1999 (following its earlier life mostly as a cinema) following an agreement wit ATG to manage the theatre.[77]
Rhoda McGaw Theatre Woking 1995 228[78] ATG manage the theatre jointly with Woking Borough Council as a community performance space.[78][79]
Richmond Theatre Richmond, London 2000 864 ATG manage the theatre via Richmond Theatre Management Ltd., a wholly owned trading subsidiary of the Richmond Theatre Trust Ltd., which is a charitable body with trustees appointed by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and by ATG.[80][81]
Sunderland Empire Sunderland 2009 2,200[82] ATG manage the theatre on behalf of Sunderland City Council and the Sunderland Empire Theatre Trust (whose trustees are appointed by the council).[83][84]
Swansea Arena Swansea 2020 3,500 New contract[54]
Theatre Royal, Brighton Brighton 1999 969 ATG own and manage the theatre.[85]
Theatre Royal, Glasgow Glasgow 2006 1,555[86] ATG manage the venue for owners Scottish Opera.[87]
Victoria Hall Stoke-on-Trent 1997 1,349[76] The theatre re-opened in 1998 under ATG's management.[88][77]
Broadway
Venue Location Start year Seating capacity Notes
Al Hirschfeld Theatre New York City 2023 1,412 Acquired in a merger with Jujamcyn[31]
August Wilson Theatre New York City 2023 1,222 Acquired in a merger with Jujamcyn[31]
Eugene O'Neill Theatre New York City 2023 1,030 Acquired in a merger with Jujamcyn[31]
Hudson Theatre New York City 2015 970 Long-term lease from subsidiary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc
Lyric Theatre New York City 2013 1,622 ATG operate the theatre, which is leased from New 42nd Street, through its subsidiary Lyric Theatre LLC.[89][90]
St. James Theatre New York City 2023 1,701 Acquired in a merger with Jujamcyn[31]
Walter Kerr Theatre New York City 2023 931 Acquired in a merger with Jujamcyn[31]
US regional
Venue Location Start year Seating capacity Notes
Charline McCombs Empire Theatre San Antonio 2015 856 Acquired from ACE Theatrical Group
Colonial Theatre Boston 2017 1,700 40-year lease from Emerson College[91]
Curran Theatre San Francisco 2019 1,667 Took over management[92]
The Espree San Antonio 2022 3,175 Took over the management in March 2023 [93]
Fisher Theatre Detroit 2021 2,089 Bought during pandemic[94]
Golden Gate Theatre San Francisco 2021 2,297 Bought during pandemic[94]
Kings Theatre (Brooklyn) Brooklyn, New York City 2015 3,000 Acquired from ACE Theatrical Group
Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts New Orleans 2015 2,153 Acquired from ACE Theatrical Group
Majestic Theatre San Antonio 2015 2,264 Acquired from ACE Theatrical Group
Orpheum Theatre San Francisco 2021 2,203 Bought during pandemic[94]
Saenger Theatre New Orleans 2015 2,613 Acquired from ACE Theatrical Group
Smart Financial Centre Sugar Land, Texas 2015 6,400 Acquired from ACE Theatrical Group
Germany
Venue Location Start year Seating capacity Notes
Admiralspalast Berlin 2018 1,756 Acquired in Mehr! Entertainment purchase[95]
Capitol Theater Düsseldorf 2018 1,250 Acquired in Mehr! Entertainment purchase[95]
Mehr! Theater am Großmarkt Hamburg 2018 2,418 Acquired in Mehr! Entertainment purchase[95]
Musical Dome Cologne 2018 1,700 Acquired in Mehr! Entertainment purchase[95]
Starlight Express Theater Bochum 2018 1,650 Acquired in Mehr! Entertainment purchase[95]

Former venues

Venue Location Start year End year Seating capacity Notes
Arts at the Old Fire Station Oxford 2009 2010 N/A Acquired as part of the Live Nation deal. ATG surrendered the lease to Crisis, the charity for homeless people, in 2010.[23][24][96]
Churchill Theatre Bromley 2000 2016 781 ATG managed the theatre under a 5-year contract (from April 2011) from Bromley Council, following their original 10-year contract from January 2000.[97][98][99]
Donmar Warehouse London 2000 2017 271 ATG formerly owned the theatre, which is managed by Donmar Warehouse Projects Ltd. (DWPL), a registered charity.[100][101] Ownership of the theatre building passed to DWPL in 2016.[102]
Noël Coward Theatre London 2000 2005 942 Part of the ACT Theatres deal. In 2005 the lease on the theatre reverted from ATG to the Salisbury Estate who granted a new lease to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres.[103]
Southport Theatre Southport 2009 2018[104] 1,630[105] ATG leased the theatre from Sefton Council Council under a contract assumed as part of the Live Nation deal.[24][105][106]
Theatre Royal, Sydney Sydney 2015 2016[107] 1,100 ATG became leaseholders & took over management. Closed for refurbishment August 2016. Reopened 2021 under Trafalgar Entertainment management.[108]
Trafalgar Studios London 2000 2016 379[109] Part of the ACT Theatres deal. Originally named the Whitehall Theatre, ATG renamed the venue in 2004.[110] Sold to ATG founders Panter and Squire when they left ATG in 2016.[111] Now named Trafalgar Theatre, and returned to one auditorium
Wyndham's Theatre London 2000 2005 799 Part of the ACT Theatres deal. The lease reverted to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres in 2005.[47]

Cinema

ATG also operate the six-screen Nova Cinema, Woking, in the same complex that contains the New Victoria and Rhoda McGaw theatres.[112]

References

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