25 July 2018


After six successful years with Encore Capital LLP (Encore), Stagecoach Theatre Arts (Stagecoach) has been acquired by Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire’s Trafalgar Entertainment Group (TEG), a fast-growing live entertainment business specialising in venues, production and live-screening.  TEG’s partnership with Stagecoach will bring new opportunities to the performing arts school business and ground it in an association with leading theatre practitioners.

TEG is the latest venture from Sir Howard Panter and Dame Rosemary Squire – two of the most influential entertainment entrepreneurs of the last 20 years – and was established following their successful exit from the world’s largest live-theatre company, the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG).

Stagecoach, with more than 30 years heritage, operates the largest network of part time performing arts schools for under 18’s with 45,000 students attending classes each week across the UK and internationally.

Encore is a London-based investment firm focussed on backing entrepreneurial growth businesses.  It invested in Stagecoach in 2012. Under Encore’s ownership the business doubled in size and expanded its international footprint into Germany, Canada and China. This transaction was completed on 1st July 2018.

Commenting on the transaction, Shirin Gandhi, Partner at Encore, said: “When we acquired Stagecoach we recognised that parents are looking for new solutions to bridge the gap between what children are learning in school, and the real-world obstacles and demands that they will face as they progress through life. Stagecoach, through performing arts, provides this solution. We are delighted that Stagecoach will continue to have the opportunity to grow and exploit even greater opportunities as part of Trafalgar Entertainment Group.”

Sarah Kelly who has led Stagecoach Performing Arts since 2013, will continue as CEO.  She commented: “Encore have been extremely proactive and supportive. Their network, commercial approach and experience has been instrumental in building strong foundations on which the business has been able to scale. Helping children accomplish on the stage of life is something every parent wants, regardless of where they are in the world and we are excited at the prospect of becoming part of the Trafalgar Entertainment Group family and the opportunities this will create.”

Dame Rosemary Squire, Joint CEO for TEG, said: “Howard and I have always been strong believers in building creative skills for the future. This is becoming increasingly important as mainstream schools struggle to offer creative arts specialisms and parents are looking for alternatives to digital entertainment for their children. We introduced the award-winning Creative Learning programme at ATG and see the acquisition of Stagecoach as a natural progression. We hope that our professional expertise and the access we have to performing arts networks will add value to Stagecoach going forward. Between us we have a scalable offer with the potential to grow regionally in the UK and roll-out internationally.”