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New Swansea Arena appoints general manager

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) has announced the appointment of Lisa Mart as general manager of its soon-to-open Swansea Arena.

Mart comes to Swansea Arena with nine years of experience at ATG, initially at New Wimbledon Theatre (1,670-cap.) in south-west London, where she was theatre director, and then at the Alexandra (1,347-cap.) in Birmingham, where she oversaw a £650,000 refurbishment and relaunch that completed in October 2018.

The 3,500-seat capacity indoor venue marks the first arena-sized project for ATG, best known as an operator of London West End theatres. The company is majority owned by Providence Equity Partners, and received an injection of funding from Australia’s TEG late last year.

The new arena, part of the £135 million Copr Bay urban regeneration project in Wales’s second-largest city, is expected to open later this year.

“I am incredibly pleased and excited to be starting as general manager of the Swansea Arena; to be given this huge and rare opportunity of not only opening a brand-new venue, but also being a part of the wider regeneration of Swansea and its transformational project of Copr Bay, is a real honour,” comments Mart.

“The arena has been beautifully designed and will really be able to provide the local community and visitors with a variety of spaces and options to fit any size and scale of meeting or event,” she adds. “I can’t wait to start talking to and working with businesses to really discover how best to support their needs in this area.

“The arena will help strengthen the city’s cultural and entertainment scene further”

“As soon as restrictions allow, I will be re-exploring Swansea and surrounding areas – I’m keen to meet as many people as possible to really learn of the expectations of residents, businesses and locals on how they hope to work with us as we maximise the local impact of this amazing arena.”

ATG is also recruiting for other senior arena roles, including a head of sales and marketing, a building and technical manager and a conference and events manager, which will open for applications in the coming weeks.

Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, comments: “We are delighted to welcome Lisa to Swansea’s thriving and buoyant cultural community.

“She brings skill and experience that will help the arena complement the programming of other great local cultural venues and locations, such as the Grand Theatre, Brangwyn Hall, Singleton Park and many others.

“The arena will help strengthen the city’s cultural and entertainment scene further for many thousands of residents and visitors. It will act as a catalyst for the city centre’s £1bn transformation.”

 


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High-tech virtual reveal for historic UK venue

Theatre operator Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) is set to unveil the £28 million restoration of historic north-east England venue, the Stockton Globe (+3,000-cap.).

The refurbishment of ATG’s flagship music and comedy arena, which is due to reopen in 2021, will be revealed at a digital industry showcase, taking place on 22 October.

The showcase will include an access-all-areas tour and presentations, as well as VR performances and filmed contributions revealing some of the music and comedy acts due to perform at the venue in 2021.

ATG has already revealed Paloma Faith as the first show on sale at the Stockton Globe, which is scheduled for 9 October 2021.

“When it became apparent that the restrictions imposed on us all ruled out a live event, we knew we had to do something different and incredibly special to reveal such a historic venue,” says general manager, Jo Ager.

“We cannot thank the artists enough for supporting us with their appearances and contributions to the virtual showcase, and this mirrors our dedication to wholeheartedly supporting every act to perform at Stockton Globe.

“We knew we had to do something different and incredibly special to reveal such a historic venue”

“This is the start of something really special; as we move forward, we will continue to focus on booking the best music, comedy and family performances in the business, and truly bringing the stars back to Stockton.”

Post-refurbishment, the venue will accommodate over 3,000 people in a flexible auditorium suited to standing and seated events. A smaller 250-capacity venue will open in the adjoining building.

The multi-million-pound refurbishment is funded by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Providence Equity Partners-backed ATG was appointed in May 2018 to operate the Globe on a 25-year management contract.

ATG runs close to 50 venues worldwide, including theatres in London’s West End and on Broadway, and aims to utilise its network to bring music and comedy talent back to the art deco venue for the first time in over 40 years.

Stockton Globe first opened in 1935, playing host to artists including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, before closing in 1974.

 


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ATG expands into UK arenas with new Swansea venue

The construction of a new 3,500-capacity arena in Swansea, Wales, began today (Wednesday 27 November) as part of a £1 billion regeneration of the city centre.

Swansea Arena, opening in 2021, is the latest live music venue in the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) portfolio, in addition to the Stockton Globe, which is reopening next year.

With almost 50 entertainment venues, Providence Equity-backed ATG hosts acts including Pet Shop Boys, Snow Patrol and Emeli Sandé in the UK, Lionel Richie, Al Green, Lauryn Hill and Lenny Kravitz in the US and Bonnie Tyler, FKA Twigs and Sinead O’Connor in Germany.

ATG also operates the UK’s most visited theatre website ATGtickets.com and overall sells around 11 million tickets a year.

“ATG has nearly 30 years’ experience of managing venues but this is an exciting moment that sees us expanding our portfolio to UK arenas”

“We have been working with Swansea Council for a period of time now to make the Arena a world class venue for music, comedy, conferencing and events in South Wales,” comments Mark Cornell, CEO of ATG.

“ATG has nearly 30 years’ experience of working with councils and managing venues but this is an exciting moment that sees us expanding our portfolio to UK arenas following our success across the UK, US and Germany.”

“Swansea Arena is an incredibly exciting addition to ATG,” adds Katy Arnander (pictured), ATG content development director. “The new arena will be at the forefront of our music, comedy, events and exhibitions strategy as well as presenting new content like gaming and esports which is a perfect fit for such a technologically advanced arena.”

The arena is funded by Swansea Council and part-funded by the £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal.

For update of when tickets go on sale at Swansea Arena, join the mailing list here.

 


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Sam Griffiths joins growing Cuffe and Taylor theatre division

Cuffe and Taylor has hired Sam Griffiths as a senior promoter in its theatre touring division, following a successful 12 months for the fledgling business unit.

Griffiths (pictured) joins the British concert and event promoter from Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), where he programmed several No1 musical theatre and play tours, as well as looking after music, comedy, tribute and variety one-nighters at ATG’s 21 theatres and concert halls.

“I am excited to be joining the theatre division of this growing company, at a time of exponential growth in the live entertainment industry in the UK and internationally,” he comments. “After working with large-scale touring productions, I’m looking forward to bringing this experience to the team, and to start developing new talent and productions to enhance Cuffe & Taylor’s fantastic portfolio of live concerts and theatre productions.”

Cuffe and Taylor’s theatre division, based at parent company Live Nation’s offices in Argyll Street, London, launched last summer and is headed up by director of theatre touring Ben Hatton. A year on, it has sold more than 180,000 tickets to shows including John Barrowman, Sarah Brightman, Lea Salonga, Britain’s Got Talent star Robert White and new Tina Turner musical What’s Love Got to Do with It?.

Upcoming projects include Whitney: Queen of the Night, which will tour the UK in 2020 following its debut at London’s Savoy Theatre in March, and new dance show Heartbeat of Home, from the producers of Riverdance.

“Stepping into theatre production has long been the aim”

“We’re approaching 400 shows for our first year, and are still taking bookings in 2019,” says Hatton, which is a great testament to how well these tours are doing – that venues are wanting to add us to their calendar at this stage in the year.

“We’ve got one of the most varied rosters out there; from comedians touring to small venues up and down the country, to tribute shows selling out in the West End and multiple productions being staged at iconic venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and the London Palladium.

“With Heartbeat of Home coming up in the autumn, we have our eyes on further West End opportunities, and are planning our debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for this summer.”

Working alongside Griffiths is senior promoter Cheryl Nicholls. She comments: “Cuffe and Taylor has been creating and promoting incredibly successful theatre tours alongside huge outdoor concerts for several years now, and it is exciting to see where we will go in the next year, with new projects constantly in discussion and development.

“Stepping into theatre production has long been the aim. We are producing and promoting shows for all ages and interests, and I can’t wait to bring our first residency to the West End with Heartbeat Of Home, while continuing to develop new and exciting productions into 2020 and beyond.”

 


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Ambassador Theatre Group makes live music moves

Theatre operator Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) has announced a major move into live music venues, as it reopens historic north-east England venue, the Stockton Globe (+3,000-cap.).

The move signals ATG’s intention to strengthen its foothold in the live music and comedy industries, leading the expansion of the venue operator’s portfolio of music-focused venues.

Providence Equity Partners-backed ATG runs close to 50 venues worldwide, including theatres in London’s West End and on Broadway.

ATG aims to utilise its network to bring music and comedy talent back to Stockton Globe for the first time in over 40 years, as the art deco venue is due to open its doors again in 2020.

Stockton Globe first opened in 1935, playing host to artists including the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, before closing in 1974.

Post-refurbishment, the venue will accommodate over 3,000 people in a flexible auditorium suited to standing and seated events. A smaller 250-capacity venue will open in the adjoining building.

“We’ve been working with the council to tailor the Globe so that it is one of the best in the industry for hosting live music and comedy events”

“We’ve been working with the council to tailor the Globe so that it is one of the best in the industry for hosting live music and comedy events,” says Adam Kenwright, ATG group board director.

“With over a year to go before doors open, ATG are already in discussions with household music and comedy acts so that we can bring these stars to the Tees Valley community and back onto the Globe’s stage after having no live entertainment inside the venue for over 40 years,” adds Kenwright.

The opening of the Globe is expected to bring in £18 million annually to the local economy and will give Stockton the biggest live entertainment venue between Newcastle and Leeds. The venue’s refurbishment is funded by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

For more information and to find out about memberships and ticket sales, join the Stockton Globe mailing list.

 


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