SOLT News

New President

Martin McCallum is to be the new President of The Society of London Theatre. He takes over from Andre Ptaszynski who has completed three years as President. SOLT is the trade association for theatre managers and producers representing 51 West End theatres and is also the organisation responsible for the Half Price Ticket Booth in Leicester Square, the Laurence Olivier Awards, publishes the London Theatre Guide and operates the nationwide Theatre Token scheme.

Martin McCallum began his career in theatre as an ASM and actor before becoming a lighting and sound designer. In 1971 he joined the National Theatre as Production Manager for Sir Laurence Olivier. From there he went to the new Repertory Theatre in Manchester prior to returning to the National Theatre in its new home on the South Bank, as Production Manager for Sir Peter Hall. Whilst there Martin was Production Manager for Zefferellisís West End production of Filumena and went on to production manage Kismet, The Elocution of Benjamin Franklin and Hal Princeís Evita. Before leaving the National Theatre he set up his own company, The Production Office, with Richard Bullimore.

Having mounted Cats in London, Martin was asked by Cameron Mackintosh to advise on re-organising his company. He went on to become Cameronís business partner and Managing Director of the Cameron Mackintosh group of companies world-wide - a position he still holds. Martin is also currently Chairman of the Board of the Donmar Warehouse, a member of The League of American Theatres and Producers Inc. and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Martin McCallum is proud to take over the mantle of President from Andre Ptaszynski whose term of office saw many significant developments by the Society - the publication of the Wyndham Report the first economic impact study of Londonís West End, the restructuring of the Laurence Olivier Awards, and the launch of a redesigned London Theatre Guide in 4 colours which has reached record distribution levels and is now on the world-wide web, at www.OfficialLondonTheatre.co.uk.

London theatre's record year

1998 was a record year for London theatre with, for the first time ever, over a quarter of a billion pounds of tickets being sold in Londonís major theatres. Ticket receipts of nearly £258 million underlined Londonís position as the theatre capital of the world, and with a VAT return to the Treasury of over £38 million, a mainstay of the UK economy. Martin recognises the vital link between maintaining quality work and financial rewards: ďItís good to see the critical acclaim for many London productions matched by such an outstanding financial performance - the two go hand in handĒ.

Martin McCallum remains concerned at the parlous state of theatre nationwide, he feels that ďif weíre to continue the good news story of London theatre shown by the Wyndham Report and these latest figures, we need to work together with the Government. I feel we could do even better for UK plc. Iíd hate to think our current success might preclude the kind of excellent support that, for instance, the British film industry continues to receiveĒ.