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ATG makes ‘major move’ into comedy and music as it prepares to reopen Stockton Globe

Artist's impression of the reopened Stockton Globe Theatre
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Ambassador Theatre Group has unveiled plans to expand into comedy and music, with new venue the Stockton Globe focusing predominantly on these genres when it reopens next year.

The theatre company said its plans for the venue marked a “major move” into these areas, and that the venue would be dedicated to music-led programming, comedy and special one night events.

As operator of the venue, it said it would be using its network of the “world’s best talent, producers and promoters, to bring the biggest names in music and comedy back to the venue in the first time in over 40 years”. It is not yet known whether there any plays will be programmed as part of the venue’s output.

ATG’s plans for the venue have emerged as its latest annual report revealed concerns about attendances at regional venues.

The report, for the period to March 2018, states there has been a decrease in attendances at its regional theatres, of which it owns more than 20.

It calls this is a “principal risk” and blames “the impact of the economic environment on the theatre going public”.

Although no date has been set for the opening of the Stockton Globe, ATG has revealed it will be in just over a year’s time. The venue will have a capacity of more than 3,000, that can accommodate standing and seated events.

A smaller 250-capacity venue is set to open in an adjoining building.

The company said the venue would provide it “a further foothold in the live music and comedy industries”.

ATG group board director Adam Kenwright said, “We’ve been working with the council to tailor the Globe so that it is one of the best in the industry for hosting live music and comedy events.”

He added: “With more than a year to go before doors open, ATG is already in discussions with household music and comedy acts so that we can bring these stars to the Tees Valley community and back on to the Globe’s stage after having no live entertainment inside the venue for more than 40 years.”

The reopening of the Stockton Globe was originally intended for 2012.

Initial works began on the site in 2011, but were stalled following a dispute between the theatre’s owner Jomast and the council, which has a long-term lease on the venue, as well as funding issues.

In May 2017, a new opening date for the 3,000-capacity venue was announced as 2018/2019, but this has since been delayed by a further year, with the cost of the project reported to have rocketed by £10 million.

Updated plans to redevelop the Stockton Globe Theatre approved

The venue opened in 1935 and played host to bands such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Buddy Holly from the 1950s to 1970s before closing in 1997.

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