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Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009
Nottingham woman is 'queen' of West End theatre

Rosemary Squire brought Madonna and Nicole Kidman to the West End

Rosemary Squire, from Nottingham, started out as a stand-in house manager but has since been labelled the queen of British theatre.

Rosemary's company became the biggest theatre operator in the country after it purchased venues from Live Nation for £90 million.

The Ambassador Theatre Group's bid saw their number of venues increase to 39 and now own the Lyceum Theatre.

Since the move Rosemary is responsible for The Lion King and Calendar Girls.

My very first trip to the theatre was to see the panto at the Theatre Royal [in Nottingham].
Rosemary Squire

The Ambassador Theatre Group was founded in 1992 by Rosemary Squire and husband, West End producer Howard Panter.

Since then the group have purchased and run large commercial theatres which are broad in appeal.

Most of the group's new venues are outside London with a total workforce of 3,500 people.

Rosemary said: "We're fortunate [to own] lots of theatres and none of them are in the same city, apart from Glasgow and Stoke, so it means there's a real range and diversity on offer for people up and down the country."

Theatre roots

Portrait of Rosemary Squire
Rosemary Squire once sold tickets for Nottingham's former Odeon cinema

Rosemary, 53, grew up in Gedling and admitted Nottingham's theatres set her on her career path. She said:

"My very first trip to the theatre was to see the panto at the Theatre Royal [in Nottingham]."

During her teens Rosemary watched plays at the Nottingham Playhouse by Sir Richard Eyre, who was artistic director at the theatre from 1973-78. She said:

"It was an absolutely fabulous time there was so much exciting theatre and new writing... I remember seeing Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Jonathan Pryce... just one treat after another."

Some of the theatres Rosemary is responsible for include the Piccadilly Theatre, which is showing the Grease musical, and the Noël Coward Theatre where you can see Calendar Girls starring Kelly Brook and Julie Goodyear.

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06 Oct 09 |  Entertainment
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15 Apr 08 |  In Pictures
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