Story by Paul Nelson
THE Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust (WCTT), Ambassador Theatre
Group (ATG) and the London Borough of Merton (LBM) are delighted
to announce the deal has been signed which secures the long-term
future of Wimbledon Theatre.
ATG will take over the theatre from WCTT and the Trust will support
educational and community activities at the venue.
ATG's central aim for the theatre is to offer a diverse range
of high quality entertainment in a welcoming environment, including
large-scale musicals, ballet, dance, drama and comedy.
The venue is to be re-named the New Wimbledon Theatre
and it is currently planned to re-open on February 9, 2004, when
the highly acclaimed Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! becomes
the first production at the theatre under ATG. An exciting new
season will be announced soon and includes the smash hit comedy,
The Play What I Wrote, and Willy Russell's multi-award-winning
ATG is renowned for its highly successful management of 21 theatre
venues throughout the UK and is the second biggest theatre group
in the West End and separately, in the regions.
It is also one of the country's foremost musical theatre and
drama producers, behind some of the most successful and innovative
productions in Britain and internationally.
Recent productions include the award-winning Vincent in Brixton,
Ed Hall's A Midsummer Night's Dream, After
Mrs Rochester, Noises Off and The Rocky Horror Show.
Many leading actors and musical performers have starred in ATG
productions, including Matthew Perry, Minnie Driver, Eddie Izzard,
Joan Plowright, Lynne Redgrave, John Hurt, Simon Callow, Clare
Higgins and Sean Bean.
Rosemary Squire, Executive Director, ATG: "We are absolutely
delighted that the contract has been signed, and excited to re-open
the theatre in February next year with Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker!
"We will be delighted to welcome everyone to the opening
season, offering the best quality and variety of entertainment
for the people of Wimbledon and beyond. We also look forward to
taking this magnificent venue into a bright and prosperous future,
making it one of the most successful theatres in the country."
Keith Davis, director of customer service and development, LBM:
"This is great news for the people of Merton. Wimbledon Theatre
plays an important part in Merton's past and thanks to the agreement
between ATG and the Trust, the theatre will now continue to take
centre stage in Merton's future.
"We look forward to the West End links ATG will bring to
the borough, resulting in quality shows the whole community can
Paul Harper, chairman, WCTT, added: "The conclusion of this
deal is wonderful news for Wimbledon Theatre. The new partnership
with ATG will enable the Theatre to become a leading venue again
and a great resource for Wimbledon and South London, building
on the combined experience of ATG and the Trust.
"The Trust looks forward to working with ATG to make Wimbledon
Theatre a success and hopes to raise funds in future to commission
imaginative programmes to address the wide needs of a culturally-diverse