Entertainment and theatre production company The Really Useful Group, owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber, has announced new plans to produce, license and promote his global hit shows and music, including The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and latest musical Cinderella.
Really Useful Group has appointed a new CEO and Non-Executive Chairman, with ambitions to increase the global reach and impact of Lloyd Webber’s work, especially through TV, film and other platforms.
The former Executive Vice President of MGM International Television Productions, Charles Farmer, is joining RUG in the newly created role as CEO, working closely with RUG’s President, Jessica Koravos, who already leads global theatrical licensing.
Also David Chance will become the Non-Executive Chairman, taking over from Mark Wordsworth, who will focus on his Executive Chair role at Lloyd Webber’s theatre chain, LW Theatres. Chance is already part of the Lloyd Webber fold, having joined the RUG board in April 2021.
Charles Farmer worked at MGM from 1999 until 2021, serving as Senior Vice President and Managing Director and finally as Executive Vice President. He worked in a variety of roles across MGM’s operations in Europe and Asia, including oversight of TV distribution in EMEA, India and China, launching Fargo, The Vikings and The Handmaid’s Tale. He was recently developing scripted drama projects with writers such as Julian Fellowes and Tom Edge, and recently was consulting for Sky Cinema on their Original features strategy.
David Chance has primarily worked in Pay TV, serving as a Non-Executive Director on the boards of BSkyB Group plc, O2 plc, ITV plc and Intertrust Inc., Non-Executive Chairman of MTG (AB) and NENT (AB). He continues to serve as a Non-Executive Director of PCCW Limited (HK), and was formerly Deputy CEO of BSkyB Group plc.
Andrew Lloyd Webber told the press that: “The Covid-19 pandemic forced us all to look for new ways to develop, produce and share our work. While I am thrilled to see live theatre firmly back on its feet, we also have major ambitions in the worlds of TV, film, the metaverse and beyond. I am delighted to have Charlie and David on board to help us achieve new and exciting things. As he steps down as our Chairman, I also want to acknowledge the immeasurable contribution of Mark Wordsworth, the Chair of our board for 15 years.”
Charles Farmer said: “I am delighted to be joining Andrew, David and Jessica and the wider RUG team, a diverse group of very talented individuals, at such an interesting time in the business’ growth. Working closely with Andrew and his truly unique body of work, I share his excitement for the major ambitions we have for RUG to expand into more projects for broadcast, streaming and film and TV platforms as well as other areas of growth.”
David Chance said: ““I am very excited about the opportunities to further develop and grow RUG’s business and believe Charlie’s addition will add tremendous strength and breadth to the excellent management team already in place.”
Jessica Koravos said: “After such a tumultuous period, the global theatre industry is rebounding fast. The early shoots are blossoming, and the opportunities ahead for RUG’s theatrical and production work across the world are endless. After nearly 10 years at RUG, this feels like an exciting time to be joined by Charlie as, with our brilliant wider team, we take RUG to the next stage of its growth, broadening our ability to share Andrew’s work with millions of people across the world.”
Current shows produced by The Really Useful Group include Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, productions of The Phantom of the Opera in partnership with Cameron Mackintosh in London and on Broadway, and touring productions of Phantom, Joseph, Jesus Christ Superstar, School of Rock – The Musical, Starlight Express, Evita and more,