- Theatre leaders Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire celebrate a century of joint commitment to theatre and live entertainment
- 2024 sees Trafalgar mounting new productions worldwide including Kiss Me, Kate, Clueless, and The Lehman Trilogy
- The couple plan to further expand their Trafalgar Entertainment business in 2024
5 February 2024
Theatre entrepreneurs Dame Rosemary Squire & Sir Howard Panter are celebrating a major milestone in 2024.
The husband-and-wife team who have devoted their working lives to theatre and live entertainment have recently between them clocked up over 100 years working in the industry.
Early into his career, Howard cut his teeth in organisations such as The Royal Court Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, and Michael Codron Ltd. During the 1980s, Rosemary was a founder of the Women’s Playhouse Trust, a landmark theatre production company that produced large scale work by and with women, and General Manager of the second largest London Theatre Group.
From 1991, Rosemary and Howard built from scratch and ran for its first 25 years, the world’s largest and most successful live theatre business – the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG). Under their leadership, ATG became a premier international theatre owner and prolific, successful global producer.
In 2017, they started all over from the ground up and now run global live entertainment business Trafalgar Entertainment, which includes the second largest live theatre group in the UK.
Throughout their careers the couple have acquired, operated or built some 70 commercial theatres in London, the UK regions and internationally.
They have directly produced more than 300 theatre productions, and co-produced many more, sold more than 160m tickets at their own theatres, on tour and globally millions more, and employed more than 30,000 people in the UK’s world-beating creative industries alone.
Without a doubt, virtually every theatre-goer in the UK will have either been to a venue run by them or seen a show from their stable.
Unusually they have produced right across the spectrum from new plays, revivals, pantomimes, family entertainment, new musicals, rock and roll to classic musicals and partnered with almost all the major subsidised companies in the UK.
As innovators and pioneers, Rosemary and Howard have always looked to the future, and this year is no different with Tracy-Ann Oberman about to open in The Merchant of Venice 1936 in the West End at The Criterion Theatre, Clueless a new musical in development based on the Paramount Pictures classic film, Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate directed by Tony Award winning Bart Sher, and starring multi-award-winning Adrian Dunbar (Line of Duty and Ridley) and Broadway musical royalty and Tony Award winner Stephanie J. Block (Into The Woods, The Cher Show, 9 to 5), opening early this summer at London’s Barbican Theatre, and the multi-award winning The King and I starring Helen George (BBC’s Call The Midwife) now playing in the West End at The Dominion Theatre.
In Australia, Jason Donovan is starring in a record-breaking run of The Rocky Horror Show, and Trafalgar will be working with The National Theatre, Neal Street Productions and Director Sam Mendes to bring the five-time Tony Award-winning Best Play, The Lehman Trilogy to Trafalgar’s Theatre Royal Sydney.
Rosemary said: “100 years but not out! Between Howard and me, we’ve done pretty much every single job there is in theatre apart from performing. 2024 is a special year for us as it marks a significant milestone, but we don’t plan on retiring anytime soon! Theatre is our life. We’re very much focused on growing Trafalgar Entertainment and our global audience reach whether that’s through theatre productions, event cinema or performing arts education.
“We have a brand-new regional venue Fareham Live opening later this year and fit out works will soon begin on the ground-breaking 1,575 seat state-of-the-art Olympia Theatre in London. And we are actively working on other venues across the UK, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. There’s still so much to do.”
Howard said: “What better way to celebrate a century of joint commitment to the theatre industry than doing what we love most; producing new shows and hopefully entertaining people worldwide!
“2024 is already shaping up to be a great year for Trafalgar Productions and we’re fortunate to be working with some the best people in the business, The National Theatre, the Barbican Centre and the RSC, amongst others, delivering classic musicals, quality drama, family entertainment. This is who we are, this is what we do!”