The director of the Glasgow Pavilion believes the theater can bring big shows to the venue

That’s the plan announced by Helen Enright, CEO of Trafalgar Entertainment (TE), the new owner of the theater recently sold by Tim and Nick Martin.

Ms Enright, a former University of Glasgow graduate, said a wide range of options are being considered for the pavilion.

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“Jersey Boys, for example, is a very big production and access to the Pavilion theater isn’t great,” she said. “But we would see how we adapt the show to the stage. We’ll try to get it working. And the Rocky Horror Show is another show we’d like to host at the Pavilion. These are the types of production Glasgow loves.”

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However, the CEO added that TE, an international live entertainment company, will not only focus on major national productions.

HeraldScotland: Spectators line up outside the Glasgow PavilionThe audience is queuing in front of the Glasgow Pavilion (Image: Newsquest)

She added: “The 1500-seat pavilion is a very special place. It offers a great atmosphere and a really intimate space. And the theater has always been a variety house and we plan to continue with that theme. It’s also a fabulous place for comedy.

“We know exactly what audiences wanted and love, and our goal is to build on that. If we can bring in great productions like Jersey Boys and add some really great local content to that, then we’re really hopeful.”

Opened in 1904, the pavilion has been largely a huge success story over the years, spotting talent like Brendan O’Carroll’s Mrs Brown’s Boys and producing local hits like Des Dillon’s I’m No a Billly – He’s a Tim. And panto seasons have generated huge revenue.

However, Trafalgar Entertainment believes the theater has untapped potential. For example, Ms Enright suggests she would consider partnerships with the likes of the Tron Theatre, which could see David Ireland’s hugely successful play Cyprus Avenue being moved to Renfield Street.

“It may well be,” she said. “We plan to hold talks with local producers and directors. We want to try a lot of different ideas and see what resonates with the audience.

The challenge, the CEO acknowledges, is maintaining the traditional pavilion audience while still evolving the output.

“We generally want more content. The theater is generally open Thursday through Saturday, but we would like to do more week-long shows.

“The pavilion currently hosts around 140 performances a year and we would see more than 200.”

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There’s no question that TE doesn’t know Glasgow and its audience. Company leaders Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire once ran the Ambassador Theater Group (ATG), which controls the city’s King’s Theater and Theater Royal, while Ms Enbright worked for ATG for 17 years.

HeraldScotland: Singer Frankie Vaughan was one of the greats to play at the PavilionSinger Frankie Vaughan was one of the greats to play at the Pavilion (Image: Newsquest)

There is an additional Frisson with the sale of the Pavilion to TE. At first it looked like ATG would take over the pavilion. However, when that deal fell through, TE was raring to go, eager to take over.

“We’ve been keen to buy the theater for months,” admits Ms. Enright. “And while it’s going to take a while to develop and get it right, we have a really strong programming team that can take on the challenge of programming weekly runs and one-night shows.”

The CEO added: “We have many ideas, one of which is to hold a comedy festival in the pavilion.”

Trafalgar Entertainment is expanding its theater portfolio which includes the Trafalgar Theater in London’s West End, the Theater Royal Sydney in Australia and 12 regional theaters in the UK.

The company also has a performing arts unit.

“We also work with the likes of Lincoln Center in New York and the National Theater. We’re all about creating good quality,” added Ms. Enright.

The London-based boss is confident that Trafalgar Entertainment can continue the success story of the Pavilion Theatre.

“When we took over the Kings as ATG (by Glasgow Council) we doubled viewership in a very short space of time by doing things the local authority couldn’t do.”

When asked about the rivalry with theater giant ATG, she smiled.

“It’s (taking over the pavilion) exciting for me personally. It will bring me back to Glasgow more regularly. As for ATG, it’s good to have competition.”

Former manager Iain Gordon, who also produced, wrote and directed Pavilion shows, is accepting his time to move on.

“I’ve been an employee of the Pavilion since 1977 and am proud to have helped get the theater to where it is now,” he said.

The Pavilion also boasts an entertainment legacy stretching back to the era of Harry Lauder and Charlie Chaplin, and has hosted comedy legend Sir Billy Connolly, pop group Wet Wet Wet and panto stars The Krankies. The director of the Glasgow Pavilion believes the theater can bring big shows to the venue

Grace Reader

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