Rosemary Squire, the Society of London Theatre’s former president, has been named alongside her husband Howard Panter as this year’s most influential people in 2009’s The Stage 100, the annual list compiled by The Stage newspaper recording the 100 most powerful people in UK theatre.
The first time they have ever topped the list, Squire and Panton launched theatre group giant Ambassadors Theatre Group in 1992, this year becoming the biggest theatre operators in the UK following their Live Nation £90 million purchase in November. The group now controls 40 venues including numerous West End theatres such as the Donmar Warehouse, Duke of York’s, the Lion King’s Lyceum and the Apollo Victoria.
This year also marks the first time a woman has topped the list for over ten years, with Janet Holmes of theatre group Stoll Moss taking the top spot in 1992. Rising four places since 2008, Squire and Panter were last year placed number five with Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber taking the top two spaces respectively.
Speaking about this year’s list, Alistair Smith, editor of The stage 100, said: “Since its launch in 1997, The Stage 100 has been dominated by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh. This is only the third occasion when neither has held the top spot. But ATG’s £90 million purchase of Live Nation’s UK venues has created a new theatrical superpower – the largest theatre operator of the modern era. In the regions, especially, it dwarfs all competition. The deal has been the biggest theatre story of 2009 and the largest theatre deal since Andrew Lloyd Webber bought his London venues in 2000. As such, Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, the married couple who together launched and continue to run ATG, were a shoo-in for the top spot. They will take some budging in future years.”
Newcomers to the list this year include Le Cage Aux Folles star John Barrowman and Mark Rylance, who this year took home the Best Actor accolade at the Evening Standard Awards. Other names to make the list include the Menier Chocolate Factory artistic director David Babani, Royal Court’s artistic director Dominic Cooke, Kevin Spacey, artistic director of the Old Vic, directors Trevor Nunn and Sam Mendes, as well as actors Jude Law, Ian McKellen, Rachel Weisz, Michael Ball and playwright Alan Bennett.
The Stage 100 full list will be published on 30 December in The Stage.