Panter starts U.K. tour troupe

Venture capitalizes on regional sales growth

Brit comedy classics “Dandy Dick” and “The Happiest Days of Your Life” plus a revival of “The Elephant Man” make up the first season of Theater Royal Brighton Prods., a new touring company led by a.d. Christopher Luscombe and producing partner Howard Panter of Ambassador Theater Group.

According to Panter, topper of the largest theater-owning company in the U.K., the venture was formed to take advantage of booming legit biz in the U.K. regions. “There is a renaissance happening in regional theater, and we have undoubtedly seen a shift from the center of the theatrical landscape being London,” he said. “We recently saw play box office records smashed in both Manchester and Glasgow with Zach Braff’s ‘All New People,’ and the National Theater’s hit ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ saw a flood of new bookers in Birmingham and Aylesbury, proving that playgoing audiences are out there.”

Written in Brighton in 1887, “Dandy Dick” is Arthur Wing Pinero’s comedy about an upstanding vicar who goes AWOL at the races. The production, adapted and helmed by Luscombe and starring Nicholas Le Prevost and Patricia Hodge, begins previews June 28 with a July 3 opening, prior to an eight-week U.K. tour and provisional West End berth. Designed by Janet Bird and lit by Paul Pyant, the show is produced by Panter, Adam Speers and Evanna White for ATG.

Full casting and creative teams for the other two productions have yet to be announced.

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