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Andrew Lloyd Webber Criticizes Ambassador Theatre Group and 'Profit-Driven' Private Equity in Theatre

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Webber said these are “people who are purely interested in taking a business, milking it, and then flipping it for a big amount of money."

Andrew Lloyd Webber Criticizes Ambassador Theatre Group and 'Profit-Driven' Private Equity in Theatre

Andrew Lloyd Webber has spoken out about private-equity financing in theatre, The Stage reports. Webber criticized companies such as Ambassador Theatre Group, claiming they are too focused on profit which makes him concerned about the future of the UK's commercial venues.

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) is the world's number one live theater company, which operates close to 50 venues in Britain, North America and Germany. It is an internationally recognized award-winning theater producer with productions in the West End and on Broadway and touring productions in the U.K., North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

In an interview as part of The Stage's Future of Theatre conference, Webber said groups such as these are "people who are purely interested in taking a business, milking it, and then flipping it for a big amount of money", and that they don't understand the theatre industry.

ATG declined to comment on Webber's statements.

Webber then went on to express concern over the condition of commercial theatres across the UK.

"I think some of the touring theatres will need a fortune spent on them to bring them back because nothing has been done with them," he said. "But I'm worried and I don't see quite who will pick these things up unless they're really thinking about them as profit centres and I don't think you can think about theatre like that."

He went on to discuss his plans to sell his London venue the Other Palace, saying it is a financial decision. He said he was disappointed the Other Palace had not achieved what he had envisioned.

"I was hoping that producers would come in and use the space and have the audiences come in for, say, £10 a ticket and give you views and make it a kind of place where new musicals were actually happening," Webber said. "In the end, we found that people didn't quite understand that and that anybody who wanted to try out a new musical was really tending to use the studio... It's a great space and I am very sorry to lose it but I will find another one."

Read more on The Stage.


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