ATC loses control
Associated Capital Theatres, which owns the Albery, the Comedy, the Donmar Warehouse, the Piccadilly, the Phoenix, the Whitehall and Wyndham's, has lost control of all seven venues to the Ambassador Theatre Group, which already owns two West End theatres and a number of regional houses. ATG bought the theatres from Quintain Estates and Development for £18m. Also in the running to buy the venues was US entrepreneur Max Weitzenhoffer.
ATG has said that there will be no changes to staff. However ACT's Managing Direcor, David Parkhill, has announced that he will leave the company when the deal is finalised in April because there is not suitable position for him at senior management level. The decision was not his, he added, although it was "amicable".
Royal Court returns home at last
The Royal Court has returned to its home base in Sloane Square for the first time since March 1996,when the theatre began a £25m refurbishment. It was due to be completed in may 1998 but frequent delays have kept the resident Engish Stage Copany working in other venues, most recently the Old Vic, where Conor McPherson's Dublin Carol was forced to have its premiere, although it was originally planned that it should re-open the refurbished theatre.
Still no MD for RSC
The Royal Shakepeare Company has still to find a Managing Director, according to a report in The Stage (17th Feb.). In spite of rumours to the contrary, sacked Millennium Dome CEO Jennie Page is not being considered.
New digital drama channel
UKTV, a digital channel owned by the BBC and Flextech, is to start a new digital drama channel, UK Drama, to replace Arena, its arts channel which it is to scrap. The new channel will have four strands: contemporary, popular, classic and costume drama. The new channel will begin broadcasting on 31st March, between 7pm and 6am, seven days a week.
Stoke to cut New Vic
Stoke-on-Trent council is to cut up to a fifth of its grant to the New Victoria Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, as part of a cost-cutting programme forced upon it by a government cap on its expenditure. The council has to cutback £4.7m overall, and so £105,000 has to go from the Cultural Services department. Currently the council gives £85,000 to the New Vic.
Leicester jobs to go?
The Board of Directors of the Phoenix, Leicester, is planning to cut six jobs at the theatre in a management shake-up. The final decision will be taken after a 30 day consultation period.
Actor Willie Ross dies
Actor Willie Ross has died after an accident at his home. The Bishop Auckland (Co. Durham) born actor was originally a comedian, and them moved into acting. After playing a variety of Geordie roles, he had begun to have wider exposure, being one of the West Yorkshire Playhouse's rep company with Ian McKellen.