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A bright new future for Wimbledon Theatre



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 Blood Brothers.

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 enjoy."

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 community."

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