Theatre producers have claimed Ambassador Theatre Group’s new leadership team is “good news” for the industry.
Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire have stepped down as chief executives of the company, which they founded in 1991, with immediate effect.
In their place, Mark Cornell – former head of Sotheby’s Europe – has taken over as chief executive, while leading West End marketer Adam Kenwright has been appointed as executive vice president.
Producer Mark Goucher, who was behind the West End shows Taken at Midnight and A Chorus Line, told The Stage he understood the shift meant ATG would be producing fewer shows and focusing on running its theatres.
The change was generally “very good news for the business”, he claimed.
He explained: “It is fair to say that most independent producers feel the balance of power has shifted very much towards the theatre owner.
“And we hope that by the new team coming in there will be a better understanding between the theatre owners – particularly ATG – and the independent producers, and that the balance of power might become slightly more equal as things move forward.”
He continued: “It will hopefully dawn on ATG that they do need independent producers, who fill their theatres on a regular basis.”
The producer added that Cornell and Kenwright needed to ensure the public don’t feel they are “ripped off” by “erroneous ticketing charges, booking fees and levies”.
Nick Starr, who is opening up a new commercial London theatre with Nick Hytner, praised the appointment of “resourceful and canny innovator” Kenwright.
“He’s a man whose heart is in the theatre, and who is populist in the best sense of the word. He’s got great taste and he’s a missionary, really. He really thinks good theatre should be seen by the maximum number of people,” Starr told The Stage.
Panter and Squire will continue on at ATG in non-executive roles, and have also taken independent ownership of Trafalgar Studios, where they hope to carve out a “distinctive artistic direction”.
FULL STORY: What does change at ATG mean?