ATG Buys Prominent US Venues Ahead of Live Production Return

Ambassador Theatre Group, the biggest theatre organisation in the West End, has made a bold prediction on Broadway’s resurgence following the COVID-19 pandemic, purchasing a number of substantial venues across the United States.

The company recently struck a deal with Golden Gate Theatre and Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, as well as the Fisher Theatre in Detroit – both of which are regular stops for most major Broadway touring productions.

Reported by Sky News, the transaction was announced on Monday and also includes control Detroit’s Opera House and Music Hall.

The news represents another step in the right direction for the future of musical theatre after an uncertain 2020. The industry has been at a standstill due to the world health crisis. However, Broadway is looking to regain its footing in the post-pandemic landscape.

Back in the West End, the UK theatre industry is planning to bring back live performances over the summer. That remains subject to government approval, but the signs are all positive.

ATG, a mainstay in British theatre, are buying these American venues from The Nederlander Company, who have been a figurehead in the American live entertainment business for decades.

The deal marks a turnaround in optimism for ATG. Several months ago, shareholders sold a minor stake in the company to TEG, Australia’s premier live entertainment business.

Millions of pounds have been injected into ATG during the pandemic, preserving the future of many iconic venues and entertainment hubs. ATG are the owners of some of the most historic stages in London including the Savoy and the Lyceum, not to mention plenty of other venues in Britain, Germany and across the other side of the Atlantic.

ATG also own the Empire Theatre in Liverpool and the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End. Before their recent acquisition, they already owned two Broadway venues in Manhattan – the Lyric and the Hudson.

The company currently employs 4000 workers on a full-time basis, many of whom can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to the upturn in outlook.

Theatre fans should also rejoice – ATG theatres are synonymous with some of most beloved musicals and productions in West End and Broadway history, including Les Miserables and The Lion King.

The company was founded by Sir Howard Panter and his wife, Dame Rosemary Squire in the 1990s, though they have moved on to another rival theatre group.

ATG is now spearheaded by Mark Cornell, who has helmed the company for the past four years following success with Sotheby’s, the auctioning house.

In 2013, ATG was purchased in a £350m deal by Providence, who have taken the company to new heights. In the past seven years, ATG has seen a huge increase in revenue, thanks to massive successes like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

ATG’s recent dealings in the market are a sure-fire sign musical theatre is preparing for a huge boom when the economic landscape returns to normality. Until then, London and New York audiences will have to look forward to a future when productions return.

Sarah Johnson

Sarah is a British born Communication and Media Graduate from the University of Leeds. Sarah has written for a number of publications and has an avid interest in theatre and the arts in general.

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