Howard Panter

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Sir Howard Panter
Howard Panter.jpg
Sir Howard Panter in 2010
Born Howard Hugh Panter
(1949-05-25) 25 May 1949 (age 65)
Middlesex, England, UK
Occupation Theatre producer, theatre manager, businessman
Spouse(s) Rosemary Squire, Lady Panter, OBE)
Children Katherine "Kate" Panter (born 2002)
Jennifer Brodie (born 1986)
Daniel Brodie (born 1987)

Sir Howard Hugh Panter (born 25 May 1949) is a multi-award winning British theatre impresario and theatre operator. He is a founder, co-owner, joint chief executive and creative director of the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd. (ATG) (whose subsidiary companies include Sonia Friedman Productions and First Family Entertainment), and Chairman of Rambert Dance Company.

In 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 together with his wife and business partner Rosemary Squire, Panter was named Most Powerful Person in British Theatre by The Stage in their annual 'Stage 100 list'.[1][2][3][4] In 2010, London's Evening Standard named Panter and his wife jointly as the most influential people in British Theatre in the newspaper's list of 'London's 1000 most influential people 2010'.[5]

Early years[edit]

Sir Howard was born in Hillingdon Hospital in 1949.

His first unpaid "show biz" job was as impressario and stage manager for the group the Norsemen in Iwerne Minster, Dorset.

One of his first jobs was as a Technician with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre. From there, he pursued a career in Stage Management with The Royal Court Theatre and then went on to work for Woodfall Films, where in 1969, he worked as Stage Manager on a production of Hamlet starring Nicol Williamson as Hamlet and Marianne Faithfull as Ophelia.


Throughout the 1970s, Panter worked in areas such Stage Management, Technical Management, Lighting Design and Directing for a number of companies including Soho Poly, Knightsbridge Productions (as Production Associate), King's Head Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Michael Codron Ltd. In the late 1970s, Panter became a Producer for the Stirling Rigg Organisation.


Panter started the 1980s as a producer for Freedman/Panter Productions. He then went on to become Managing Director for Independent Theatrical Productions and in 1987 joined Turnstyle Group Ltd as Managing Director and Producer.


With the backing of Sir Eddie Kulukundis and brothers Sir John and Peter Beckwith,[6] Panter and Squire establish Ambassador Theatre Group with acquisitions of Duke of York's Theatre and The Ambassadors (Renamed New Ambassadors in 1999), London.


The expansion of ATG continues when Panter and Squire acquire The Ambassadors Theatre and Cinema Complex in Woking.


They extend the group with the management contract for Theatre Royal, Brighton, the newly built Milton Keynes Theatre and the Regent Theatre and Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent.


2000 was a pivotal year for Panter and Squire with the acquisition of further regional venues Churchill Theatre, Bromley and Richmond Theatre, Surrey and with the purchase of ACT Theatres. The seven venues purchased from ACT were the Albery, the Comedy, later renamed the Harold Pinter, Donmar Warehouse, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Whitehall (renamed Trafalgar Studios in 2004) and Wyndhams. From 2000, Panter became Managing Director, Joint Chief Executive and Creative Director of The Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd.

In 2001, ATG took over the Fortune.[7] In 2002, their first venue in Scotland came with the King's Theatre, Glasgow. In 2003 ATG began to operate the Playhouse Theatre, London.[8] In 2004, Panter and Squire took over the closed Wimbledon Theatre reopening it as the New Wimbledon Theatre. In 2005, their Scottish portfolio was extended, with the management contract for the Theatre Royal, Glasgow. In February 2009, Panter and Squire were awarded the contract to run the new Aylesbury Waterside Theatre.[9]

In November 2009, they realigned their share holding to bring in private equity group Exponent for a deal to secure the funding for the acquisition of Live Nation's UK Theatre portfolio. ATG became the largest theatre group in the UK.[10] Panter remained joint-owner. Greg Dyke became Executive Chairman of the larger group. Other board members include: Sir Eddie Kulukundis OBE, David Blyth, Helen Enright, Michael Lynas, Peter Kavanagh, Richard Lenane, Chris Graham, Simon Davidson, Peter Beckwith OBE and Bill Benjamin.

In December 2009, Panter became Chairman of Rambert Dance Company.[11]


  • In 2010, Panter and Squire open the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, their 42nd theatre (their 39th currently within ATG).
  • The Evening Standard named Panter and Squire the No1 Most Influential People in British Theatre, in their list of London's 1000 Most Influential People.[5]
  • The Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG) was also shortlisted in 2010's 'Ones to Recognise' feature which is published as part of The Sunday Times PricewaterhouseCoopers Profit Track 100 Ones to Recognise.[12]
  • In 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013, together with his wife and business partner Rosemary Squire, Panter was named Most Powerful Person in British Theatre by The Stage in their annual 'Stage 100 list'.[1][2][3] In 2010, London's Evening Standard named Squire and her husband jointly as the most influential people in British Theatre in the newspaper's list of 'London's 1000 most influential people 2010'.[5]
  • In January 2011 ATG selected AudienceView Ticketing as its ticketing technology provider.
  • In February 2011 ATG announced that it had successfully secured a new five year management contract for Churchill Theatre Bromley, beginning in April 2011.
  • 2011 - Following the hugely successful run of Ghost The Musical at the Opera House, Squire and Panter/The Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG) launched its Manchester Gets it First (MGiF) initiative – the company's commitment to bringing the biggest new musicals to Manchester before London and other major cities.[13][14]
  • In July 2011 ATG became the first theatre company in the world to install the new innovative ProBax seating at the Fortune Theatre in London.
  • In August 2011 ATG announced its first full year results since its £90 million purchase of Live Nation's UK theatres, revealing [a 5% increase in turnover and a 3% increase in profit on the combined company] steady growth.
  • In September 2011 ATG announced that London's Comedy Theatre will be renamed The Harold Pinter Theatre, after the distinguished playwright, screen writer, director, political activist and actor.
  • In November 2011 ATG launched ATG Theatre Card – the UK's biggest theatre membership scheme with 100,000 members and growing.
  • In November 2011 ATG launched new website – the UK's Most Visited Theatre Website (Hitwise).
  • In December 2011 ATG announced it had partnered with Tony Award®-winner Jerry Mitchell, the acclaimed director and choreographer, to form Jerry Mitchell Productions.
  • In January 2012 ATG announced a co-producing partnership with West End and Broadway Producer, Tali Pelman, with the objective of developing and producing productions for presentation within ATG venues.
  • 2012 - Theatre's power couple, husband and wife team Panter and Squire, Joint Chief Executives and co-founders of Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), topped The Stage 100 list for the third consecutive year - the industry bible's annual guide to the 100 most influential people in UK theatre, now in its 16th year.
  • In February 2012 ATG was announced as the UK's second fastest growing privately backed company in The Sunday Times Buyout Track 100, sponsored by Deloitte. The annual league table ranks companies by growth in profits.[15]
  • In May 2012 ATG officially launched Theatre Royal Brighton Productions’ inaugural production, Pinero's classic comedy, Dandy Dick at Brighton Race Course. Theatre Royal Brighton Productions was launched to create new play productions in Brighton, regionally and in London, with Artistic Director, Christopher Luscombe and Associate Directors, Maria Aitken and Philip Franks.
  • 2012 - ATG announced The Ripple Effect: a vibrant piece of new writing being premiered in different regions of the UK. The aim of the project is to connect with young people from diverse backgrounds with limited experience of arts engagement.
  • In August 2012 ATG announced that it has partnered with acclaimed Director, Jamie Lloyd, to form Jamie Lloyd Productions.
  • In September 2012 ATG announced details of how it is investing £15 million into capital projects which includes a major overhaul of the company's Front of House areas, bars and toilets, in order to improve facilities for customers.
  • 2012 - ATG announced details of a relaxed performance pilot scheme for the 2012/2013 pantomime season with Churchill Theatre Bromley, Grimsby Auditorium and Richmond Theatre taking part. The scheme is supported by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), the Theatrical Management Association (TMA) and The National Autistic Society (NAS) who have been collaborating with ATG on the delivery of these performances.
  • In November 2012 ATG announced the appointment of Tim McFarlane as CEO for ATG Asia/Pacific.
  • 2012 - ATG announced that it had successfully bid to continue operating the Regent Theatre and Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent for the next ten years following a comprehensive tender process.
  • In April 2013, ATG is ranked at no. 6 on The Sunday Times PwC Profit Track 100 list, published today in the Business section of The Sunday Times. The 100 firms are ranked by their profit growth over a three-year period.
  • In May 2013, ATG announces that it has appointed Conrad Lynch to join its producing team.
  • In May 2013, ATG, through its subsidiary, Lyric Theatre LLC, acquired The Foxwoods Theatre from Live Nation Entertainment. The Foxwoods Theatre, the largest theatre on Broadway, is situated in a prime 42nd Street location, opened in 1997 and seats nearly 2000 people. It is home to Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, the most talked about show on Broadway and becomes ATG's 40th venue.
  • In October 2013, Providence Equity became the majority shareholder of ATG.
  • In December 2013, ATG acquired 100% ownership of the Savoy Theatre and the Playhouse Theatre.
  • In December 2013, ATG purchased the Ticket Machine Group LTd (TMG).

Other roles[edit]

Sir Howard is a Member of the LAMDA Development Board,[16] Chairman of Rambert Dance Company[17] and Director of the Rocky Horror Company Limited.[18]


Note: Produced by Panter unless otherwise noted

Honours and awards[edit]

2006 Outstanding Revival of a Musical - Sweeney Todd
2007 Outstanding Revival of a MusicalCompany
2008 Entrepreneur of the Year - Regional Finalist (with Rosemary Squire)[19]
1991 Best Musical - Carmen Jones[20]
2010 No1 London's 1000 Most Influential People: Theatre - Panter and wife Rosemary Squire[5]
2012 Best PlayConstellations[21]
1992 Musical of the Year - Carmen Jones[22]
1998 Best Entertainment - Slava's Snow Show[23]
1999 Best New Play - The Weir
2002 Best Entertainment - Shockheaded Peter[24]
2003 Best New Play - Vincent In Brixton
2006 Outstanding Musical Production - Guys and Dolls
2009 Best Musical Revival - La Cage Aux Folles[25]
2002 Workforce Development Award for Innovation (Private Sector)[26]
2005 Excellence in Workforce Development Award[27]
2008 Best Musical - West Side Story
2012 Best Musical - Ghost
2012 One of the 250 of the most influential people in Greater Manchester (shared with Rosemary Squire)[28]
2006 Best Magazine Award (for the company's Ambassador Magazine)[29]
2009 UK Independent Cinema of the Year (for Ambassadors Cinema, Woking)[29]
2010 No.1 (Shared With Rosemary Squire)[2]
2011 No.1 (Shared With Rosemary Squire)[30]
2012 No.1 (Shared With Rosemary Squire)[2]
2013 No.1 (Shared With Rosemary Squire)[2]
2014 No.1 (Shared With Rosemary Squire)[2]
2003 Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 League Table One of the UK's fastest growing private companies[26]
2010 PricewaterhouseCoopers Profit Track 100 One to Recognise[31]
2012 Deloitte Buyout Track 100 Second Fastest Growing Privately backed Company[32]

In April 2013, ATG is ranked at no. 6 on The Sunday Times PwC Profit Track 100 list, published today in the Business section of The Sunday Times. The 100 firms are ranked by their profit growth over a three-year period.

2007 Best Revival of a MusicalCompany
2006 Best Production - Guys And Dolls
  • Whatsonstage Theatregoers Choice Awards (UK)
2009 The Ticketmaster Best Musical RevivalWest Side Story[33]
2008 Best New Comedy- Elling[34]
2006 Best Musical RevivalGuys And Dolls

In June 2013, Panter received a Knighthood in The Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to theatre.[35][36]

Personal life[edit]


Born in Middlesex, England he emigrated to Australia in 1951 with his parents Hugh and Hilary, returning to England in 1959 to be educated at Clayesmore School, Dorset before studying Production at Lamda.[37]

Marriage and family[edit]

Sir Howard is married to his business partner Lady Panter (Rosemary Squire), OBE). The couple met in 1979[37] at the Queen's Theatre, London where Squire was working in the box office during Panter's production of Patricia Routledge in And a Nightingale Sang.[38] They married in 1994;[37] Panter's best man was Simon Callow.[38] They had their first child Kate in 2002. Sir Howard is the step-father to Squire's two children from her first marriage Jenny (born 1986) and Dan (born 1987).

Other information[edit]

Since 1990, Sir Howard has been a member of The Garrick, London and a member of The Ivy Club.


  1. ^ a b ATG's Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire placed first in The Stage 100, The Stage, 29/12/2009 by Alistair Smith
  2. ^ a b c d e f
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  7. ^ "News for 23rd December, 2001", The British Theatre Guide, 23 December 2001. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
  8. ^ "Playhouse Theatre London - Official Tickets For London's Playhouse", Ambassador Theatre Group. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
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  26. ^ a b Awaiting reference
  27. ^ Hayley Chivers, "ATG recognised for in-house training courses", The Stage, 17 May 2005. Retrieved 2012-12-02.
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b
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  35. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60534. p. 2. 15 June 2013.
  36. ^ "Birthday Honours List 2013" (PDF). HM Government. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  37. ^ a b c
  38. ^ a b

External links[edit]