Co-founded by Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire in 2017, Trafalgar Entertainment is a premium international live entertainment business focussed on new productions, venue ownership, Performing Arts education, theatre ticketing, the distribution of live-streaming innovative content and the provision of great theatres where people can come together to share in the experience of live entertainment. TE is home to Trafalgar Theatres (comprising Trafalgar Theatre and Olympia Theatre in London, Theatre Royal Sydney in Australia, and 14 UK regional venues), The Chiswick Cinema, Trafalgar Theatre Productions, Trafalgar Releasing, Trafalgar Tickets, Stagecoach Performing Arts, Drama Kids/Helen O’Grady Drama Academy, ticketing company London Theatre Direct, Stagedoor, Jonathan Church Theatre Productions and Imagine Theatre.
In 2017, the company acquired the global event cinema business – Trafalgar Releasing – who broadcast productions live worldwide, from The RSC, Glyndebourne, Met Opera, Bolshoi Ballet and Royal Opera House to David Gilmour, Muse, Coldplay, BTS, The Cure, Metallica, Shakira, Depeche Mode, Gorillaz, Nick Cave, Oasis, BLACKPINK, George Michael, Twenty One Pilots, Billie Eilish, MONSTA X, Louis Tomlinson and Trafalgar Theatre Productions’ The King and I, live from the iconic London Palladium and Anything Goes, live from the Barbican Theatre, among many other events. Trafalgar Releasing distributes specialised content to over 13,000 cinemas in more than 132 countries worldwide.
The following year, Trafalgar Entertainment acquired Stagecoach Performing Arts, the UK market leader in extra-curricular Performing Arts tuition with over 2,000 schools and classes and over 61,000 students in the UK and worldwide. In 2019, TE began new partnerships with London Theatre Direct, one of the UK’s leading ticket retailers and distributors and More2Screen.
Later in 2019, Jonathan Church Theatre Productions was launched to create theatrical work including new and classic musicals and plays for London, the UK regions and internationally with award-winning theatre director and producer Jonathan Church as Artistic Director. In 2020, Trafalgar Entertainment became the new operator of the Theatre Royal Sydney which opened in 2021 as the cornerstone of TE’s Asia-Pacific operation. In March 2021, TE acquired HQ Theatres, the UK’s largest specialist regional theatre operator with a portfolio of 12 theatres. TE will also open the ground-breaking Olympia Theatre, the biggest new permanent theatre to open in London since the 1970s, as part of the £1.3 billion Olympia development. TE’s acquisition of a 70-year lease to operate the Olympia Theatre is part of a broader ambition by TE to create a venue of national stature as the UK emerges into a new era.
In September 2021, TE acquired the children’s extra-curricular drama specialist organisation, Helen O’Grady Drama Academy. The academy has been in operation for over 40 years and provides education in 36 countries, with over 100,000 students studying one hour of drama each week. The academy now operates as Drama Kids in the UK. In 2022, TE announced the creation of two new divisions – Trafalgar Theatres and Trafalgar Tickets – and acquired leading London theatre app, Stagedoor. In April 2023, TE acquired its first Scottish venue, the Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow, one of the oldest and most iconic theatres in Scotland. Later that year, TE was awarded the contract to operate Fareham Live by Fareham Borough Council. Fareham Live is currently under construction and will launch as an all-new facility in 2024. In August 2023, TE acquired one of the UK’s biggest pantomime providers, Imagine Theatre. The award-winning Imagine team will produce or co-produce 19 pantomimes across the UK during the 2023/24 pantomime season.
The production arm of TE, Trafalgar Theatre Productions, produces new shows and classic musicals in London and internationally including the Tony and Olivier award-winning smash hit musical, Jersey Boys, now playing at London’s newly renovated Trafalgar Theatre alongside a UK & Ireland Tour, a National Theatre co-production of Michael R. Jackson’s critically acclaimed, Pulitzer Prize and multi award-winning A Strange Loop at London’s Barbican Theatre in the summer of 2023, Broadway’s favourite multi award-winning musical, Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill which opened at Trafalgar’s Theatre Royal Sydney in December 2021 and the first major international production of it to open in Australia straight from Broadway without a West End season, a major revival of the award winning classic musical Anything Goes at London’s Barbican Theatre in the summers of 2021 and 2022, starring Sutton Foster, Robert Lindsay, Felicity Kendal and Gary Wilmot, The Merchant of Venice 1936 (in partnership with Watford Palace Theatre and the RSC), the tenth anniversary UK & Ireland tour of the acclaimed National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, the hilarious new comedy, Death Drop (London and UK Tour), the current 50th Anniversary World Tours of The Rocky Horror Show with numerous engagements in Australia and the UK, the Lincoln Center’s award-winning production of The King and I at the London Palladium and worldwide, and a co-production of War Horse with The National Theatre in Australia and Asia-Pacific. Current and recent productions for Jonathan Church Theatre Productions include 42nd Street, Quiz, Pressure, South Pacific, Wendy and Peter Pan, Poirot and More: A Retrospective, Private Peaceful, East is East, A Monster Calls and Singin’ in the Rain. JCTP was also general manager for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
The largest shareholder of Trafalgar Entertainment is Barings Alternative Investment, which operates as a subsidiary of MassMutual Holding LLC, with assets under management of US$771 billion. Other shareholders include Greg Dyke, James Tanner, NWH Consulting Ltd, Sir Richard Branson and Griffon Corporation.
Before Trafalgar Entertainment, Howard and Rosemary 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.