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Millions ploughed into capital projects to enhance the customer experience

Ambassador Theatre Group(ATG) has today announced details of how it is investing £15million into capital projects which includes a major overhaul of thecompany’s Front of House areas, bars and toilets, in order to improvefacilities for customers.

The company has unveiledfive refurbished luxury bars that have been redesigned by ATG’s interior designer,George Couyas, to capture some of the Group’s beautiful, unique theatrearchitecture with an elegant, modern twist.  These includethe Piano Bar at the Piccadilly, the Moonlight Bar at the HaroldPinter, the Apollo Victoria’s Elixir Bar, the Terrace Bar at the Duke of York’s and the Piano Bar at the New Wimbledon. Further rollout is planned for Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Milton Keynes and the Lyceum inLondon.

The Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Milton Keynes investment is heavily supported by an ambitious customer service programme, “BeA Star” and the introduction of exciting new product ranges.

“It all comes down to ourcompany vision statement, Making Theatre Magic,” says ATG’s ManagingDirector of Venues, Nick Potter. “Enhancing the theatrical experience forour customers is about ensuring that every visit is a special occasion. We arecreating these incredible spaces where our customers can relax in a totallyunique and comfortable setting.”  

David Blyth, ATG’s Property Director, says, “The development of our Front of House areas is thelatest chapter in an extensive ongoing ATG restoration programme where ouroverall aim is to dramatically increase the customer experience and preserveour beautiful, historic buildings for future generations.”

The Harold Pinter Theatre not only underwent a name change but has benefitted from a £550,000 makeover and the fabulous new Moonlight Bar. Auditorium refurbishmentincluded repairs to the decorative plaster, new carpets and a project includingthe strengthening of the grid and installation of a double purchase flyingsystem. The Duke of York’s also benefitted from technical improvements,improving the facilities for Producers and technical staff.

Working closely with Foster Wilson Architects,John Muir and Conisbee Structural Engineers a £500,000refurbishment of the Fortune Theatre was carried out including majorrepairs to the concrete façade, repairs to theexisting leadwork, windows and roofing, reinstatement of theoriginal canopy, new show and theatre signage and new LED coloured lighting designedby Hoare Lea Lighting.

Again workingwith Foster Wilson Architects and John Muir, other ATG West Endcapital projects have included a £300,000 restoration of theCharing Cross Road façade of the Grade II listed Phoenix Theatre,including the reinstatement of the original canopy, replacement signage and newlighting on both facades of the theatre, also designedby Hoare Lea Lighting, to enhance the visibility of the theatre atnight.

The Piccadilly Theatre underwent an extensive £150,000 refurbishment which involvedthe redecoration and restoration of the original colour schemes, enhancement ofthe theatre’s original features using modern technology and the development ofthe Piano Bar in the Royal Circle.

The ApolloVictoria has undergone a major Foyer refurbishment andthere has been considerable investment at Trafalgar Studios to ensure wheelchair access to both studio spaces.

In 2011, ATG became the first theatre company inthe world to install the new ProBax ergonomic seating at its FortuneTheatre in Covent Garden.  The innovative Probax seats (also used in Lotuscarsand currently under development with leading car companies and aircraft makersworldwide) dramatically increase the comfortexperience for the user because they encourage an anatomically correct posturein the seat occupant. Added health benefits from the seats include reduced backache and muscle fatigue, improved circulation and respiratory flow and higher concentration levels. The plan is to roll out the ProBax seats across all ofATG’s 39 UK venues.

ATG currently has over 1,200 toilet cubicles for audience use across theGroup’s 39 venues, plus another 200 back stage for artists. The company hasembarked on a project of upgrading and refurbishing and where it is possible,increasing the number of facilities. This year ATG has installed a new set ofmale and female toilets at the Bristol Hippodrome to complement the Piano Bar.Further improvements and upgrades have taken place at Trafalgar Studios,Richmond Theatre, Playhouse Theatre (London) and the Fortune Theatre.

In the Regions, a new tea room and café, “The Parlour”, wasintroduced at TheatreRoyal Brighton, in Manchester the exterior of the Opera Houseunderwent a £500,000 refurbishment and the RevueBar at the Palace Theatre was redeveloped, a newBox Office was installed at the Bristol Hippodrome costing £80,000and the New Theatre Oxford saw a £250,000 investment to transformits Front of House and Box Office areas. The next project earmarked in theregions in the replacement of the pavement outside the Edinburgh Playhousecosting £95,000.

Upcoming West End projects include replacement of the A/C units at the Lyceumat £175,000 to improve customer comfort, installation of a new roof atthe Fortune costing £100,000 and replacement of the seats at the HaroldPinter costing £150,000.

Co-founded by Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire in 1992,the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG) is the largest owner/operator of theatresin the UK with 39 venues and an internationally recognised theatre producer anda leader in theatre ticketing services through ATG Tickets.

Current and recent ATG co-productions include Posh/Jumpy/Constellations (RoyalCourt at the Duke of York’s), South Pacific, All New People, Dandy Dick,Blue/Orange, Ghost the Musical, 9 to 5 the Musical, Matthew Bourne’sNutcracker!, Legally Blonde the Musical, Monty Python’s Spamalot, TheMisanthrope, West Side Story, Elling, Guys and Dolls, TheMountaintop, Exit the King and The Rocky HorrorShow.


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