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    Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, the joint chief executives of the Ambassador Theatre Group, have retained their top spot in The Stage 100 - The Stage’s annual guide to the 100 most influential people in UK theatre.

    Sharing second place are Dominic Cooke, Michael Grandage and Nicholas Hytner, artistic directors of the Royal Court, Donmar Warehouse and National Theatre respectively.

    Significantly, Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber - the two most successful figures in the history of The Stage 100 - have slipped down to fifth and sixth place.

    Quoted in The Stage, Alistair Smith, deputy editor, said: “This is the first time in the 15-year history of the Stage 100 that neither Andrew Lloyd Webber nor Cameron Mackintosh has placed in the top two… The shift in power to the Ambassador Theatre Group, which operates more theatres in both London and the regions than anyone else, represents a new world order for the theatre industry. No longer is it led by two powerful and personally wealthy individuals, but by a company run on finance, with shareholders to answer to.

    “The placing of Cooke, Grandage and Hytner in second also reflects the increased influence and importance of the subsidised sector, especially in terms of quality play production. This triumvirate will be crucial in sustaining UK theatre through the tough funding conditions ahead.”

    Entering the top 20 of The Stage 100 for the first time include Ruth Mackenzie, director of the Cultural Olympiad, Louise Jeffreys, director of programming at the Barbican Centre, David Lan, artistic director of the Young Vic and Sheridan Smith, star of West End musical Legally Blonde.

    The full Stage 100 appears in the January 6, 2011 issue of The Stage newspaper. Available at all good newsagents now.

    The Stage, the UK’s theatre bible has ranked the importance of individuals involved in theatre. The full top twenty is [last year’s position]:

    1. Howard Panter/Rosemary Squire (Ambassador Theatre Group) [1]
    2= Dominic Cooke (Royal Court, London) [7]
    2= Michael Grandage (Donmar Warehouse) [4]
    2= Nicholas Hytner (National Theatre) [5]
    5. Cameron Mackintosh (Cameron Mackintosh Ltd) [2]
    6. Andrew Lloyd Webber (Really Useful Group) [3]
    7. Nica Burns / Max Weitzenhoffer (Nimax) [6]
    8. Michael Boyd (Royal Shakespeare Company) [7]
    9. Bill Kenwright (Bill Kenwright Ltd) [8]
    10. Kevin Spacey / Sally Greene [10]
    11. Nick Thomas (Qdos) [11]
    12. Sonia Friedman (Sonia Friedman Productions) [12]
    13. David Babani (Menier Chocolate Factory) [14]
    14. Ruth Mackenzie (Director, Cultural Olympiad) [New Entry]
    15. Mark Rylance (Actor) [20]
    16. Jonathan Church (Chichester Festival Theatre) [15]
    17. Louise Jeffreys (Barbican Centre) [New Entry]
    18. Rupert Goold (Headlong Theatre / director) [17]
    19. David Lan (Young Vic Theatre) [New Entry]
    20. Sheridan Smith (Actor) [New Entry]

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