An entertainment company has been launched to present West End and Broadway tours in South East Asia, working with UK producers left in the lurch by the collapse of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions.
The venture, called GMG Productions, will be led by Carlos Candal, founder of theatre merchandising company Global Marketing Group. It is backed by producer David Ian.
GMG Productions will be based in Manila in the Philippines, and will present shows across the region including Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand – many of the same markets in which Lunchbox operated.
As well as large-scale touring musicals, the company will also bring exhibitions and festivals to the area.
The launch of the company follows the collapse of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, which was founded by James Cundall in 1992 and was one of the biggest presenters of touring shows in the region.
However Lunchbox Theatrical Productions closed down at the end of last year, leaving alleged debts of more than £5 million for its work on shows including the Really Useful Group’s Cats and The Phantom of the Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda and the National Theatre’s War Horse.
The first production taken on by GMG Productions was Cats in Manila in October, which Lunchbox Theatrical Productions had been due to present.
Candal told The Stage that GMG Productions is “looking to build on the market that was there and in a lot of respects improve it”.
Productions for 2020 include Matilda and School of Rock, with further shows to be announced.
Partners and investors in GMG productions include Crossroads Live, through its London-based affiliate David Ian Productions; Robert Sewell, who is the founder of ticketing company TicketWorld, and Richard Lewis of Limelight Productions, which specialises in children’s theatre.
Candal has previously co-produced and invested in productions including The Bodyguard, On Your Feet!, Annie and Sunset Boulevard.
He said: “GMG Productions’ core vision and mission is to bring top-quality theatrical productions to South East Asia.
“Having been actively engaged in business in Asia for the past 30 years I’ve seen the live entertainment market evolve significantly.
“This is an exciting opportunity to establish a new presenting company with David Ian and Bob Sewell to bring the highest calibre shows to the region with our combined, long-standing relationships with the world’s leading theatrical producers.”
Candal added that GMG Productions aims to sell more than $50 million worth of tickets in the next five years.
Ian, chief executive of David Ian Productions, added: “We have been successfully presenting West End and Broadway shows in Asia Pacific for some years.
“We are excited to be partnering with Carlos Candal in the formation of GMG Productions, expanding our presence in a significant and growing market and providing a top-quality platform to the global theatre industry.”