By Mark Shenton
29 Nov 2012
McFarlane is currently the managing director of The Really Useful Company Asia where he has worked for the last 18 years, and he has overseen the Really Useful Group's activities in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. He has produced Cats, The Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and most recently Love Never Dies. Prior to joining RUG, he was general manager of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust from 1986 to 1994.
ATG is already an active theatre producer in Australia, where it has brought productions of The Rocky Horror Show, Guys and Dolls and West Side Story. It recently opened Legally Blonde in Sydney.
According to press materials, the company now intends to replicate in Australia and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region the integrated business model that ATG has successfully followed in the U.K. – combining theatre ownership/management with producing activity and ticketing/marketing operations. This is part of a wider plan to create an international touring circuit, with increased activity also in North America (where ATG already has a New York office) and Europe.
In a press statement, McFarlane commented, "To work with Howard [Panter] and Rosemary [Squire, joint CEO's of ATG] to take their vision for the theatre and entertainment industry into the most dynamic and exciting region in the world is an opportunity I was not going to miss. China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Australia and Singapore have become major entertainment markets and continue to grow. For nearly 20 years I have been part of developing the entertainment industry in these markets. Audiences in Australia, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo and other major Asian cities are sophisticated and discerning. I look forward to working with ATG and the many partners I have worked with in Asia to build on this success."