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Howard Panter unveils bid to make Trafalgar Studios ‘home of live streaming’

Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire

Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire have revealed plans to make Trafalgar Studios into the “home of live streaming in London” by creating a permanent infrastructure of cameras in the auditorium.

It comes as the former Ambassador Theatre Group bosses announce a takeover of live cinema distributors Picturehouse Entertainment, which will now operate under the banner Trafalgar Releasing.

The company distributes live arts content to cinemas in the UK and abroad, working with organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House. It has already confirmed the distribution of the Donmar Warehouse’s all-female Julius Caesar [1] in cinemas later this year [2].

The purchase coincides with the completed acquisition of London’s Trafalgar Studios – a former ATG venue that Panter and Squire announced they would continue to run following their departure from the company.

The ATG founders stepped down as joint chief executives of the company [3] to make way for business executive Mark Cornell in May 2016.

Trafalgar Studios and Trafalgar Releasing will be part of their new company, Trafalgar Entertainment Group.

Speaking to The Stage, Panter described live streaming as a “new frontier for theatre”.

He added: “It makes theatre more accessible to many people, but what we’ve discovered is that it absolutely does not cannibalise the theatre audience; it adds to the theatre audience.”

He said Trafalgar Entertainment Group was developing theatre productions for the stage that were also being created specifically with live streaming in mind.

He added that, subject to planning, the redevelopment of Trafalgar Studios would equip its theatres with live-streaming equipment that would be built into the fabric of the auditorium.

“The idea will be that when we redevelop the theatre, it will be the home of live streaming in London and [live streaming] will be part of what we do at Trafalgar. [The auditorium] will be wired with minicams. They won’t be intrusive for the audience and we will be able to bring in cranes and cameras as well, but there will be an infrastructure there.”

It is part of Panter and Squire’s plans to turn Trafalgar Studios into a “boutique theatre”, with an emphasis on audience experience and encouraging people to spend time in the building.

Panter added that the company was working on two more boutique venues in Berlin and Los Angeles.

Panter and Squire are also opening a New York office of Trafalgar Releasing, from which they plan to “relay British theatre across North America”.