Sir Howard Panter’s Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), which controls 40 venues in the UK and recently acquired Broadway’s second-biggest house, the Lyric (previously known as the Foxwoods and before that the Ford Center for the Performing Arts), has added Sydney, Australia’s 1,100-seat Theatre Royal to its growing roster. AGT came to terms with the co-owners of Sydney’s MLC Centre – QIC and The GPT Group (ASX:GPT) – for a lease and the management of the historic waterfront house, Panter announced Thursday.
The Theatre Royal, at the MLC Centre, is Sydney’s oldest house one of the city’s premier commercial theatre venues. Ambassador has slated it for a major redo as redevelopment of MLC’s food court and retail spaces also gets underway. GPT Chief Investment Officer Carmel Hourigan said the MLC Centre would benefit greatly from partnering with one of the world’s top live theater companies.
“The MLC Centre will become home to a new world class theatre, which supports our vision for the precinct as a unique and exciting place where people gather for both business and leisure,” Hourigan said in the announcement. “The owners chose to work with ATG because it has a strong track record of delivering premium productions,”
Founded by Panter and Rosemary Squire, ATG also has become a producing company and ticketing agency. ATG’s Asia Pacific operations are headquartered in Sydney; recent productions in the area include Legally Blonde the Musical; Thriller Live; Guys and Dolls; West Side Story and The Rocky Horror Show.
“We plan to showcase the very best of theater from Australia and the rest of the world, placing the MLC Centre and the Theatre Royal firmly in the center of Sydney’s theatrical life,” Panter said. ATG continues active discussions with other Australian venues and developments are underway for additional theaters, as well as, in Korea, Japan, Singapore and China, with new productions also earmarked for these territories.