Shaper: Dame Rosemary Squire OBE

Dame Rosemary Squire OBE is one of the most prominent women in British theatre of the modern era. Since she co-founded the Ambassador Theatre Group in 1992, it has gone onto become the world’s number one live-theatre company.

In 2016, Squire stepped down from her post as CEO to move into a new creative phase.  Her latest venture with Sir Howard Panter is Trafalgar Entertainment, an innovative live entertainment business and home to Trafalgar Studios, Trafalgar Theatre Productions, Stagecoach Performing Arts and Trafalgar Releasing.

In 2014, she made history as the first woman to be named EY UK Entrepreneur of the Year. She was a National Member of the Arts Council England Board for almost 10 years and Joint Chair of The Hall for Cornwall.  As Chair of Great Ormond Street’s Theatres for Theatres Appeal she raised over £5m and now Chairs another major appeal to raise £10m for the hospital.

Rosemary and her husband/business partner, Sir Howard Panter, have topped The Stage 100 for seven consecutive record-breaking years.

In 2007 Rosemary was awarded an OBE for Services to Theatre and in the 2018 New Year Honours she was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for Services to Theatre and Philanthropy.

“We are very fortunate in the UK that there’s brilliant theatre up and down the country. I saw cutting edge work with wonderful actors in my formative years and by the time I was late teens I already knew that I responded to those stories.”


“I wanted to be part of it. I think theatre is a way of life, it’s certainly not a nine to five job.”


“It’s a massive challenge in this country that performing arts, creative arts are being taught less and less in schools. I got a lot of exposure through school and through home life as well, and many, many kids don’t have that opportunity.”


“Nobody is saying that all the kids who go to Stagecoach are going to become actors, but an hour of singing, dancing and acting a week gives great skills for life. It’s about learning how to be part of a team, to present yourself, to look somebody in the eye.”


“Working with your husband has its plusses and minuses. You certainly can’t leave work at the front door, but you get a great shorthand, you can work together as a team and, in our case, it’s worked professionally because we have very different skills.”


“If you are going to work in a call centre, try and work in a call centre that’s related to something you are interested in. Work in a bar in a theatre because you will probably get to see the shows.”


“I am very proud that we have a young, brand new production team that were all put together since we started Trafalgar, but we actually got twelve Olivier nominations last year – that was very encouraging and very heartening.”


“I’ve really tried to make a difference as a boss. I’ve been banging on for more years than I care to remember, decades, about equality and representation and equal rights.”


“You have to create conditions where it’s okay to balance your family life and your working life. And I have to say I think that’s true for everybody. I have always felt that we should have generous maternity and paternity provisions, that it’s okay to have a family.”


“Girls and young women should aim high, should want to get to the top, because it’s when you are at the top that you can actually make a difference.”


“Think of your education as being tools in your toolkit and really study something that you love, and you need networks – even if it’s a bit artificial. If you’ve got a vision, you need to invest in that vision and give yourself time and space to give it texture and colour and, you know, fill in the blanks, and go for it.”


“You’ve got to put money back haven’t you? You’ve got to reinvest back into things. I feel that very strongly.”