In this new year gorgefest of lists, The Stage‘s annually compiled Stage 100 of the top influencers in theatre takes the cake. Launched in January 1997, The Stage 100 is now in its 19th year and always makes for fascinating reading – and, I’m sure, lots of behind the scenes disagreements on risers, fallers, inclusions and omissions. (Why on earth aren’t I on it – I mean, really, how very dare they! 🙂 )
This year, husband-and-wife Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, joint chief executives and co-founders of the ever-expanding Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) top the list for the sixth consecutive – record-breaking – year.
They aren’t alone in being together. There are 23 pairs (or even teams) of influencers in this year’s lists, bringing the total number of influential individuals recognised by the industry newspaper to 127.
Most commonly, these are combinations of artistic director and executive director at flagship institutions – the National Theatre ranks for both its outgoing and incoming artistic and executive director pairings: Nicholas Hytner and Nicholas Starr, and Rufus Norris and Tessa Ross, respectively.
Overall, 23% of Stage 100 entries are joint influencers; within the Top 20, where partnerships account for 60%, the phenomenon is even more notable. Which just goes to show how important collaboration is to theatre-making success.
Charting the Stage 100
With its emphasis on the leading movers and shakers, The Stage 100 also fans the flames around the comparative lack of women and ethnic minorities in our industry’s key positions. Women account for only 26% of influencers on the list. BME representation is even scarcer with only four individuals listed: Tricycle Theatre artistic director (and the only BME woman) Indhu Rubasingham, Bush Theatre artistic director Madani Younis, actor Lenny Henry and journalist Baz Bamigboye.
Regardless of gender or ethnicity, The Stage 100 also provides plenty of proof that, if you want to wield true power, you shouldn’t become an actor – or a designer, designer or journalist for that matter. (But well done to the Guardian‘s Michael Billington and Lyn Gardner, deemed to be the country’s most respected critics, and, again, Daily Mail columnist Baz Bamigboye for having his finger on the pulse and breaking theatre news stories.)
Top 20 in this year’s Stage 100
- Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, Ambassador Theatre Group
- Cameron Mackintosh
- Sonia Friedman
- Nicholas Hytner and Nicholas Starr, National Theatre
- Andrew Lloyd Webber
- David Lan and Lucy Woollatt, Young Vic
- Dominic Dromgoole and Neil Constable, Shakespeare’s Globe
- Jonathan Church and Alan Finch, Chichester Festival Theatre
- Gregory Doran and Catherine Mallyon, Royal Shakespeare Company
- Steve Tompkins and Graham Haworth, Haworth Tompkins (architects)
- Bill Kenwright
- Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer, Nimax Theatres
- Rupert Goold, Almeida Theatre
- Josie Rourke and Kate Pakenham, Donmar Warehouse
- Nick Thomas, Qdos Entertainment
- Daniel Evans and Dan Bates, Sheffield Theatres
- David Sabel, NT Live
- Jamie Lloyd
- Gemma Bodinetz and Deborah Aydon, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse
- Toni Racklin, Barbican Centre