Co-founded by Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire in 1992, the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) is currently the largest theatre group in the West End and separately, the second largest in the UK regions, with a total of 23 venues. ATG is also one of the country’s foremost theatre producers and has been behind some of the most successful and innovative productions in Britain and internationally.
ATG’s impressive portfolio of West End theatres include high profile and historic buildings such as the Comedy, Donmar Warehouse, Duke of York’s, Fortune, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Playhouse, Savoy (both co-ownership and management of) and two venues at Trafalgar Studios. ATG’s regional theatres include The Ambassadors Woking encompassing the New Victoria and Rhoda McGaw Theatres and a 6 screen cinema complex; Theatre Royal Brighton; The Regent Theatre and The Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent; Milton Keynes Theatre; Churchill Theatre Bromley; Richmond Theatre, Surrey; King’s Theatre and The Theatre Royal, Glasgow; New Wimbledon Theatre and the New Wimbledon Studio.
ATG’s current productions in Australia include a new production of The Rocky Horror Showin Melbourne and in Spring 2009, the Sydney debut of Guys and Dolls. There will also be a production of Elling with Sydney Theatre Company. Furthermore, a tour of ATG’s co-production of West Side Story begins in Australia in December 2009. ATG co-productions planned for New York include Elling, Exit the King starring Geoffrey Rush and Guys and Dolls both set to open in Spring 2009.
Current and recent ATG co-productions in London and internationally include the hugely successful and critically acclaimed musical West Side Story (West End season and UK Tour); Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard; Riflemind by Andrew Upton (in association with Sydney Theatre Company); the hit comedy Fat Pig by Neil LaBute; Harold Pinter’s The Lover/The Collection; Elling starring John Simm; The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess directed by Trevor Nunn; Guys and Dolls starring Ewan McGregor; Sondheim’s Tony Award winning Company on Broadway; The New Statesman starring Rik Mayall (UK tour and West End season); The Rocky Horror Show (UK tour and West End season); Sweeney Todd in London and on Broadway; Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling (in London and on UK tour); The Witches starring Ruby Wax (in the West End and on UK tour); Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! (three London seasons, as well as UK and worldwide tours); Stephen Poliakoff’s Sweet Panic; Shared Experience’s After Mrs Rochester; Edward Hall’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Richard Eyre’s and the Royal National Theatre’s multi-award winner Vincent in Brixton (in the West End, on Broadway and on UK tour); a co-production of Noises Off with the Royal National Theatre in London and on Broadway; Christopher Hampton’s new version of Three Sisters starring Kristin Scott Thomas; Tom Courtenay in Pretending To Be Me; Gershwin’s My One and Only; The Mystery of Charles Dickens starring SimonCallow in the West End and on Broadway; a co-production of Doctor Faustus at The Young Vic starring Jude Law; Shockheaded Peter in the West End and the first major West End revival and Broadway production of Peter Nichols’ classic A Day in the Death of Joe Egg starring Eddie Izzard; Caryl Churchill's Far Away, directed by Stephen Daldry, plus the Royal Court Theatre production of Mouth to Mouth in the West End.
Other ATG successes include the co-production of The Weir in London and on Broadway(winner of the 1999 Olivier Award for Best New Play); Smokey Joe’s Café in the West End and the Olivier award-winning Slava’s Snowshow in the West End and North America plus the multi award-winning West End musical, Carmen Jones.
In recent years, ATG has expanded internationally opening a New York office and mounting additional productions in the USA and Australia. In 2008, ATG announced a unique creative alliance between ATG’s Trafalgar Studios, Sydney Theatre Company (STC), artistic directors Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton, and New York’s LAByrinth Theater Company (LAB), artistic directors John Ortiz, Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Gould Rubin. This union will allow these international companies to exchange work on a regular basis which might not otherwise be seen in different cities across the world.
ATG also has a series of creative alliances, based in theatre, but with the potential to form a bridge between media. These unique initiatives include a film co-production company with Trademark Films, makers of Shakespeare in Love, and a TV company ScreenStage, with ITV plc, which has made five TV films to date. ScreenStage also co-produced The Play’s The Thing for Channel 4.
ATG has a wholly owned subsidiary company Sonia Friedman Productions, led by producer Sonia Friedman, whose current and recent co-productions include La Cage Aux Folles starring Douglas Hodge and Denis Lawson, Harold Pinter's No Man's Land starring Michael Gambon, David Bradley, David Walliams and Nick Dunning, David Eldridge’s Under the Blue Sky starring Catherine Tate, Francesca Annis and Chris O'Dowd, the award-winning That Faceby Polly Stenham and the highly acclaimed Dealer’s Choiceby Patrick Marber, all in the West End. Sonia Friedman Productions is currently enjoying international success with Boeing Boeing and The Seagull both on Broadway.
Previous SFP productions in the West End include Tom Stoppard's Rock ’n’ Roll (also on Broadway); In Celebration starring Orlando Bloom; The Dumb Waiter starring Lee Evans;Faith Healer starring Ralph Fiennes (Broadway); Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Woman in White (also on Broadway); the revival of Michael Frayn’s Donkeys’ Years; Bent with Alan Cumming; On The Third Day, the winning play from the C4 series The Play’s The Thing; Endgame with Michael Gambon and Lee Evans; Sexual Perversity in Chicago with Matthew Perry and Minnie Driver; Franco Zeffirelli’s Absolutely! (perhaps) with Joan Plowright; Ragtime; Macbeth with Sean Bean; Up For Grabs with Madonna and On An Average Day with Woody Harrelson and KyleMcLachlan.
ATG has also formed a joint major national pantomime and family entertainment company with Live Nation, First Family Entertainment. Now in its fourth year, the company is producing 12 high quality pantomimes for the Christmas 2008/2009 season.