ATG invests £15M in its own theatres
Ambassador Theatre Group has announced details of a £15M investment programme in its theatres, which includes a major overhaul of its front of house areas and luxury bars.
Five luxury bars have been redesigned by George Couyas at the Piccadilly, the Harold Pinter, the Apollo Victoria, the Duke of Yorks and the New Wimbledon to have "an elegant, modern twist".
ATG's managing director of venues Nick Potter said, "enhancing the theatrical experience for our customers is about ensuring that every visit is a special occasion. We are creating these incredible spaces where our customers can relax in a totally unique and comfortable setting."
The refurbishments listed by ATG include a £550,000 "makeover" to the Harold Pinter Theatre, technical improvements at the Duke of Yorks, a £500,000 refurbishment to the Fortune Theatre, £300,000 restoration to the façade of the Phoenix Theatre, £150,000 at the Piccadilly and a refurbishment of the foyer at the Apollo Victoria.
In the regions, Theatre Royal Brighton has a new tea room and café, the exterior of Manchester's Opera House has had a £500,000 refurbishment, the Palace in Manchester's Revue Bar has been redeveloped, Bristol Hippodrome has a new box office and New Theatre Oxford has had £250,000 spent on its front of house and box office. Next on the regional agenda is replacement of the pavement outside the Edinburgh Playhouse.
Half of the money has apparently been raised from the "restoration levy", one of the additional charges routinely added to the price of theatre tickets by most West End venues following Broadway's lead.
ATG's announcement was released just a few days after The Stage revealed that comedian Sarah Millican has refused to play ATG's venues because, "I don’t agree with the extra charges ATG put on top of the face value ticket price to you the customer and a number of other restrictions they have in place", although she wrote this on her blog on 27 August.
Comedy web site Chortle reported, however, that other venues on her tour sell tickets through Ticketmaster which imposes similar charges including a delivery cost even if you print your tickets yourself at home.