Who owns the West End?
It’s a good question, and the reality is that a number of large groups own the majority of the key West End theatres, plus there’s non-commercial venues, which are usually registered charities and some of which are subsidised, and a few West End Theatres that are individually owned.
There are four main groups who own the West End (see below for a breakdown of their venues): Delfont Macktintosh Theatres, controlled by producer impresario Cameron Mackintosh; LW Theatres, controlled by musicals composer Andrew Lloyd Webber; ATG, or Ambassador Theatre Group, which is the largest theatre owner by number of venues; Nimax Theatres, which is controlled by Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer; and The Nederlander Organization, an American entertainment company which also has a part share of the Adelphi Theatre.
The outliers are the independently run venues, including the Shaftesbury Theatre, which is owned by DLT Entertainment; the Theatre Royal Haymarket, which is owned by Access Entertainment; St Martin’s Theatre, which is still owned by the same family who built it, Lord Willoughby de Broke and his family; the Trafalgar Theatre, owned by Trafalgar Entertainment which owns other theatres in the UK and worldwide, but currently only one main West End venue; and the Bridge Theatre, run by Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr.
In terms of theatres run as non-profit charities but that do not get a subsidy, these include The Old Vic and Shakespeare’s Globe.
Subsidised venues include the National Theatre, the Royal Court, Sadler’s Wells and the Peacock Theatre, the Barbican Centre, South Bank Centre, the London Coliseum (via English National Opera), and the Royal Opera House.