Number of locations
|45 theatres and 1 cinema complex in 3 countries (UK, USA & Australia)|
Number of employees
|3,500 (June 2013)|
The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) is a major international theatre 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: theatre ownership and management; theatre producing activity; and ticketing and marketing operations.
ATG runs 46 venues in Britain, the US and Australia. 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. It is considered a market leader in theatre ticketing services through ATG Tickets, LOVEtheatre and Group Line.
ATG's business model involves the combination of theatre ownership with production management, marketing and ticket operations. ATG manages (and in some cases own) 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 venues owned by ATG.
ATG manage 45 theatres and one cinema in the UK, the US and Australia. ATG’s portfolio of 10 West End theatres include the Apollo Victoria, Donmar Warehouse, Duke of York’s, Fortune, Harold Pinter, Lyceum, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Playhouse, and Savoy. ATG has regional UK theatres in Aylesbury, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Folkestone, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Richmond, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Torquay, Wimbledon, Woking and York. In New York, ATG owns the Lyric Theatre, the largest theatre on Broadway, and in December 2015, ATG entered into a long-term lease for the Hudson Theatre on Broadway, from a subsidiary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels PLC (M&C).
In 2015, ATG acquired ACE Theatrical Group (ACE), a company which specialises in the operation, design, development and construction of world-class, live performance venues throughout North America. These currently are 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. 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.
ATG is the majority shareholder of BB Group, 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.
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, Theatre Royal Brighton Productions  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.
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.
ATG's earlier productions include the co-production of The Weir in London and on Broadway (winner of the 1999 Olivier Award for Best New Play); Smokey Joe's Cafe in the West End; the Olivier award-winning Slava's Snowshow in the West End and North America; and the multi award-winning West End musical Carmen Jones.
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 award-winning production of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber Fleet Street. ATG also co-produced Constellations on Broadway and currently co-producing multi-Tony Award-winning The King and I with Lincoln Center Theater.
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.
ATG runs ATG Tickets, which provides the in-house ticketing services to ATG’s UK theatre’s 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.
In 2011, ATG Theatre Card, the UK’s largest paid-for theatre membership scheme was launched. ATG’s pioneering marketing activities were also recognised by the industry, winning the Hollis Silver Medal Sponsorship Award in 2010 and Media Week’s National Media Collaboration of the Year Award in 2012. Ticket Machine Group, a long established ticket agency, was acquired by ATG in 2013 and provides customers with a choice of shows in the West End as well as supporting ticket sales in ATG theatres, through its key brands LOVEtheatre.com and Group Line.
ATG is currently rolling out an Access Membership scheme. It is the only free membership scheme that allows customers to book tickets online, including wheelchair positions and the best-accessible seats. The scheme has been carefully designed in partnership with ATG Customer Focus Groups, an Access Consultant and Disability Organisations. The ATG Access Membership Scheme will be trialled during 2018 before becoming live in 2019 in all UK ATG venues.
In 2013, in order to increase the variety and scope of its operation, ATG acquired the Ticket Machine Group with its key brands, Group Line and LOVEtheatre.com, both of whom continue to be major ticket agencies in their own right in London.
Group Line is the leading group sales agency in London offering group bookers access to all ATG venues as well as most shows across the West End. Group Line has been nominated for and won multiple industry awards, including Best Ticketing Agency, Best Group Ticketing Agency and Ticket Supplier of the Year.
|Group Travel Awards||Best Group Ticketing Agency||2015, 2017||2014, 2016, 2018|
|Group Leisure & Travel Awards||Best Ticketing Agency||2013, 2016, 2017||2014, 2015|
|National Coach Tourism Awards||Ticket Supplier of the Year||2014|
LOVEtheatre.com is one of the most recognised and trusted names for West End ticket sales. They offer tickets for all ATG London venues as well as providing ticket sales to the widest variety of theatres and attractions in the Capital.
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. According to Squire, the way the company collaborated with the local council on the Woking development became a blueprint for their future projects.
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.
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 and Carlton Television.
Subsequent deals included taking on the running of theatres in Bromley, Richmond and Glasgow.
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. Live Nation sold the theatres as part of a business decision of "selling off assets that are not core to our live music strategy". At that time Exponent Private Equity became the new majority owner of ATG by financing the theatre takeover. Exponent provided at least £75m of financing for the deal, which valued ATG at £150m. Coinciding with the expansion, former BBC director general Greg Dyke joined ATG in a new role of executive chairman.
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".
In 2012, ATG indicated an intention to expand into international theatre ownership, possibly in Australia and China. 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." (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).
ATG has demonstrated a commitment to the (often historic) buildings that it manages. In 2009, the Theatres Trust, the National Advisory Public Body for theatres in the UK, stated that it "works regularly with ATG, advising them on their plans for maintenance and care of their theatres. As well as having a good record of looking after its theatres, the company has also been a leader in promoting environmental best practice and reducing their theatres' carbon emissions." ATG also uses a "restoration levy" on tickets to raise funds to upgrade the theatres that they manage.
The company has displayed commitment to innovation, with examples including the pioneering of ergonomically improved seats, adapted theatre performances for children with autism disorders, and the 'ATG Theatre Card' loyalty program.
ATG is controlled by Providence Equity Partners. Exponent Private Equity has a minority stake. Peter Beckwith, through his company PMB Holdings, is a "major shareholder". Theatre impresario and shipping broker Eddie Kulukundis is a shareholder. Panter and Squire own 8% of ATG, with an option on a further 5%, according to reports in 2003.
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.
|Venue||Location||Start year||End year||ATG role||Seated capacity||Notes|
|Duke of York's Theatre||London||1992||ATG manage and own the theatre.||646 |||
|Ambassadors Theatre||London||1995||2007||Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen acquired the Ambassadors from ATG in 2007.|
|New Victoria Theatre, Woking||Woking||1995||ATG manage and own or lease the theatre.||1331||Panter and Squire were involved with the theatre from 1992, but ATG did not purchase it until 1995.|
|Rhoda McGaw Theatre, Woking||Woking||1995||ATG manage the theatre jointly with Woking Borough Council as a community performance space.||228||Panter and Squire were involved with the theatre from 1992, but ATG did not purchase it until 1995.|
|Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent||Stoke-on-Trent||1997||ATG manage the theatre under a 10-year contract (from the end of 2012) from Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The council paid ATG annual subsidy for this venue and the Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent of £626,000 in 2012/13.||1,615||The theatre opened in 1999 (following its earlier life mostly as a cinema) but ATG's management contract was agreed in 1997.|
|Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent||Stoke-on-Trent||1997||ATG manage the theatre under a 10-year contract (from the end of 2012) from Stoke-on-Trent City Council. The council paid ATG annual subsidy for this venue and the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent of £626,000 in 2012/13.||1349 ||The theatre (re)opened in 1998 but ATG's management contract was agreed in 1997.|
|Milton Keynes Theatre||Milton Keynes||1998||ATG manage the theatre (through a wholly owned subsidiary, Milton Keynes Theatre Ltd.) for the Milton Keynes Theatre & Gallery Company (a charitable body).||1,438||ATG were appointed as theatre operator in 1998, the venue opened in 1999.|
|Theatre Royal, Brighton||Brighton||1999||ATG manage and own or lease the theatre.||969|||
|Churchill Theatre, Bromley||Bromley||2000||2016||ATG manage the theatre under a 5-year contract (from April 2011) from Bromley Council, following their original 10-year contract from January 2000.||781|||
|Richmond Theatre||Richmond, London||2000||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.||864|||
|Donmar Warehouse||London||2000||2017||ATG own the theatre. It is managed by Donmar Warehouse Projects Ltd. (DWPL), a registered charity. The theatre building will go into the ownership of DWPL in 2016.||271||Part of the ACT Theatres deal. The ownership of the building transferred to
onmar Warehouse Projects Ltd in January 2017D
|Harold Pinter Theatre||London||2000||ATG manage and own the theatre.||836||Part of the ACT Theatres deal.|
|Noël Coward Theatre||London||2000||2005||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.|
|Phoenix Theatre||London||2000||ATG manage and own the theatre.||1233||Part of the ACT Theatres deal.|
|Piccadilly Theatre||London||2000||ATG manage and own the theatre.||1,184||Part of the ACT Theatres deal.|
|Trafalgar Studios Studio 1||London||2000||2016||ATG manage and lease the theatre.||379 ||Part of the ACT Theatres deal. Originally named the Whitehall Theatre, ATG renamed the venue in 2004. Sold to founders|
|Wyndham's Theatre||London||2000||2005||Part of the ACT Theatres deal. The lease reverted to Cameron Mackintosh in 2005.|
|Fortune Theatre||London||2001||ATG manage and own (or lease) the theatre.||432|||
|King's Theatre, Glasgow||Glasgow||2002||ATG manage the theatre and lease it, via subsidiary Glasgow Theatres Ltd., from Glasgow City Council on a 21-year lease from 2002.||1,785|
|New Wimbledon Theatre||Wimbledon, London||2003||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.||1622|
|New Wimbledon Studio||Wimbledon, London||2003||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.||80|
|Playhouse Theatre||London||2003||ATG manage and own the theatre||775|
|Savoy Theatre||London||2005||ATG manage and own the theatre||1113|
|Trafalgar Studios Studio 2||London||2005||2016||ATG manage and lease the theatre.||98||Opened after remodelling the former Whitehall Theatre during 2004-5. Sold to founders|
|Theatre Royal, Glasgow||Glasgow||2006||ATG manage the venue for owners Scottish Opera.||1555|
|Apollo Victoria Theatre||London||2009||ATG manage and own (or lease) the theatre.||2328||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Bristol Hippodrome||Bristol||2009||ATG manage and own or lease the theatre.||1398 ||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Edinburgh Playhouse||Edinburgh||2009||ATG manage and own or lease the theatre.||3039||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|York Grand Opera House||York||2009||ATG manage and own or lease the theatre.||1,028||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Leas Cliff Hall||Folkestone||2009||ATG manage the theatre for Shepway District Council under a 20-year contract ending in 2023 with a value of £10m.||1004||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Liverpool Empire Theatre||Liverpool||2009||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.||2381||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Lyceum Theatre, London||London||2009||ATG manage and own or lease the theatre.||2116||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Manchester Opera House||Manchester||2009||ATG manage and own or lease the theatre.||1,915||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|The Alexandra, Birmingham||Birmingham||2009||ATG manage and own or lease the theatre.||1,347||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|New Theatre Oxford||Oxford||2009||ATG manage the theatre which they lease from Oxford City Council.||1,785||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Old Fire Station||Oxford||2009||2010||Part of the LiveNation deal. ATG surrendered the lease to Crisis, the charity for homeless people, in 2010.|
|Manchester Palace Theatre||Manchester||2009||ATG manage and own or lease the theatre.||1998||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Princess Theatre, Torquay||Torquay||2009||ATG manage the theatre which they lease from Torbay Council.||1491||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Southport Theatre||Southport||2009||2019||ATG manage the theatre and lease it from Sefton Council Council under a 15-year contract which expired in June 2012 with tenders invited for the subsequent period. No information about the tender outcome appears to have been published. In the year prior to 2011, Sefton Council paid ATG £314,000.||1,630||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Sunderland Empire||Sunderland||2009||ATG manage the theatre on behalf of Sunderland City Council and the Sunderland Empire Theatre Trust (whose trustees are appointed by the Council).||2,000||Part of the LiveNation deal.|
|Aylesbury Waterside Theatre||Aylesbury||2009||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.||1,198|||
|Lyric Theatre||New York City||2013||ATG operate the theatre, which is leased from The New 42nd Street, through its subsidiary Lyric Theatre LLC.||1,932|
|Theatre Royal, Sydney||Sydney||2015||2018||ATG became leaseholders & took over management.||1100||Closed for refurbishment August 2016, yet to reopen.|
|Kings Theatre (Brooklyn)||New York City||2015||ATG acquired ACE Theatrical Group (ACE)||3000|
|Saenger Theatre||New Orleans||2015||ATG acquired ACE Theatrical Group (ACE)||2613|
|Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts||New Orleans||2015||ATG acquired ACE Theatrical Group (ACE)||2153|
|Majestic Theatre||San Antonio||2015||ATG acquired ACE Theatrical Group (ACE)||2264|
|Charline McCombs Empire Theatre||San Antonio||2015||ATG acquired ACE Theatrical Group (ACE)||856|
|Hudson Theatre||New York City||2015||Long term lease from subsidiary of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc||970|
|Colonial Theatre||Boston||2017||40-year lease from Emerson College||1,700|
|Admiralspalast||Berlin||2018||ATG acquired Mehr! Entertainment||1,756|
|Starlight Express Theater||Bochum||2018||ATG acquired Mehr! Entertainment||1,650|
|Mehr!||Hamburg||2018||ATG acquired Mehr! Entertainment||2,418|
|Capitol Theater||Düsseldorf||2018||ATG acquired Mehr! Entertainment||1,250|
|Musical Dome||Cologne||2018||ATG acquired Mehr! Entertainment||1,700|
|Globe Theatre Stockton||Stockton On Tees||2019||New contract ||3,000|
|Swansea Arena||Swansea||2020||New contract ||3,500|