October 14, 1999: As we report on Trafalgar Entertainment’s plans to launch a new venture with director Jonathan Church, 20 years ago this week we were interviewing Trafalgar’s Howard Panter – then managing director of Ambassador Theatre Group – about his plans for the expansion of that organisation.
In a special report on the then nascent ATG, Panter discussed the opening of two new theatres – in Milton Keynes and Stoke – a refurbishment of the Theatre Royal Brighton and “the possibility” of acquiring two or three more West End theatres.
Speaking in 1999, Panter said: “The future for theatre as I see it is public/private partnerships. Local authorities have increasingly found that running a theatre is a costly and labour-intensive business, requiring particular dedication and expertise. First, you have the buildings themselves, which have to be staffed and maintained. Then you have the programming, which everyone agrees should try to please as many people as possible but should also contain a strong element of the arts, including Shakespeare, opera and ballet. And then you have what I regard as perhaps the most important factor of all: marketing. In all our theatres outside the West End, the marketing department is one of the largest and the busiest.”
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