RUG vet to run theater company's Asia/Pacific arm
Longtime Really Useful Group exec Tim McFarlane has jumped over to Ambassador Theater Group, where he’ll serve as the Sydney-based CEO of ATG Asia/Pacific.The hire is part of an effort by ATG, the major U.K. legit company, to expand its global operations based on the full-spectrum model the company follows in Blighty. In the U.K., ATG is not only a theater owner and operator (the largest in that country, with 39 venues), it’s also a ticketing organization as well as a production company that generates shows to play in its theaters and beyond. McFarlane has been with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s RUG, also a theater owner and producing org, for 18 years. To join ATG, he will next year exit his position as managing director of RUG’s Asia arm, the Really Useful Company Asia Pacific, where he heads up the company’s activities Down Under as well as in Asia and South Africa. RUG’s recent Aussie staging of “The Phantom of the Opera” sequel “Love Never Dies” attracted buzz last year as a notable improvement on the show’s London premiere. McFarlane joins ATG at a time that has seen the Australian legit industry harbor increasingly global ambitions, with shows including “The Boy from Oz” and “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” sparking international incarnations on Broadway and Melbourne’s upcoming spectacle-tuner “King Kong” already making its Rialto aims plain. Asia, too, has gained increasing prominence for American legiters as markets in China, Hong Kong, Korea and other nations continue to develop. McFarlane said that in his new gig, he’ll keep an eye toward expanding the physical infrastructure to accommodate new stage offerings, since many towns in China and other markets have only one state-owned theater suitable for a large-scale stage production. He added that Australia, benefitting by being both on the radar but still off the beaten path between London and New York, reps an excellent homebase for orgs looking to expand into Asia. Aside from its outpost in Sydney, ATG has offices in London and Gotham. Org also is the umbrella for a handful of production companies including Sonia Friedman Prods., Jerry Mitchell Prods. and Jamie Lloyd Prods., among others. McFarlane will begin in his new post at ATG in April 2013.