The future of Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre has been secured after the historic venue was bought over by a global theatre company.
Trafalgar Entertainment has acquired the 119-year-old Renfield Street site – which has played host to the likes of Sir Billy Connolly, Wet Wet Wet and The Krankies – months after a proposed sale to the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) fell through.
The firm already owns the Trafalgar and Olympia theatres in London, as well as the Theatre Royal Sydney in Australia.
Thousands signed a petition against the sale of the 1,449-seater venue to ATG before the deal fell apart in January.
General manager Iain Gordon, who has run the theatre since 1984, will be stepping down as part of the sale.
Dame Rosemary Squire, joint co-founder and CEO of, said: “We are thrilled and delighted to have the opportunity to be the future operators of The Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow.
“Over the past five-decades the current owners, the general manager Iain Gordon, and his team have done a fantastic job.
“We pay tribute to their tenacity, commitment and hard-work – and the legacy they leave.”
The theatre has twice been forced into a mass renovation; once in the 1980’s, when a fire at the nearby Victoria’s nightclub destroyed parts of the interior, and once in the following decade when a water tank burst, flooding the main hall.
It began life as a music hall in 1904, but was reborn as the “home of Scottish variety” when Gordon took over its operation 80 years later.
He said it was “the right time” to step away, but added he would not be a stranger in his retirement.
“I feel enormously lucky to have worked, throughout my time, with such a dedicated staff and professional performers who have all worked hard to provide good all-round affordable entertainment,” he said.
“I would like to thank our audience who have all supported me and the Pavilion over
the years and I am confident they will continue to do so.
“I wish them all well for the future and hope the Grand Old Lady of Renfield Street continues
to live on and prosper well into the future.”
Trafalgar was formed in 2017 by Dame Rosemary and husband Sir Howard Panter, who previously founded ATG.
Over 2,000 signatories put their names to a petition against the sale to the firm – who own the King’s and Theatre Royal in Glasgow – amid concerns over rising ticket costs.
Trafalgar CEO, Helen Enright, said the firm was “committed” to preserving the Pavilion’s reputation for affordable live entertainment, adding: “Glasgow is a vibrant, energetic city and The Pavilion Theatre has earned its place in the city’s entertainment landscape.
“We are committed to building on that success – continuing to do what the Pavilion does best, maintaining the legacy of one of Glasgow’s best-loved and best-supported pantomimes, increasing the number of shows presented, investing in the building, growing audiences and ensuring a successful future for this beautiful, iconic theatre.”
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