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ATG announces casting department changes

Approved by ATG's PR & Communications Officer, David Bradbury

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) today announced changes within its Casting Department, based at the company’s Charing Cross Road offices.

Current Head of Casting for ATG Productions, Neil Rutherford, will leave the company on 15 June after ten years to pursue a freelance casting career both in the UK and working with Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House as Casting Director and Associate Director, as well as pursuing his own writing projects. However, Neil will return in October to provide support to ATG as Casting and Creative Consultant.

Stuart Burt has been appointed as the new Head of Casting for ATG Productions and joining him in the department from 28 May is Ellie Collyer-Bristow as Casting Associate.

'Getting the casting right is absolutely crucial to the success of a musical or play. We’re extremely fortunate to be gifted with such a talented and experienced casting team at ATG and one that is so highly regarded within the industry,' said Howard Panter, ATG’s Joint CEO & Creative Director. 'I’d like to congratulate all three on their respective new positions and look forward to working with them in the future.'

Neil Rutherford was a professional actor for 15 years with leading West End work including Fiddler on the Roof at the London Palladium, City of Angels at the Prince of Wales, Annie at the Victoria Palace, Aspects of Love and Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre.

He then worked in production at the English National Opera before joining ATG as Production Associate. As Head of Casting for ATG, Neil has cast numerous productions in the West End, regionally and internationally with highlights including Three Sisters with Kristin Scott Thomas and Guys and Dolls, casting Patrick Swayze in the role of Nathan Detroit.

Stuart Burt joined ATG as Casting Assistant in 2007, after working as a Production Assistant on Billy Elliot.

Neil and Stuart have worked together casting musicals such as the 50th Anniversary production of West Side Story, The Rocky Horror Show in the UK and Europe, Legally Blonde the Musical, Monty Python’s Spamalot and the Lincoln Center’s production of South Pacific. They were also responsible for casting plays such as The Misanthrope starring Keira Knightley and Damian Lewis, Neil LaBute's Fat Pig and Zach Braff's All New People.

In addition, Neil is also a published composer and author, with his new book on Musical Theatre Auditions and Casting published by Methuen Drama in June 2012 and Stuart is a member of the Casting Director's Guild of Great Britain and Ireland.

Ellie Collyer-Bristow is a graduate of Goldsmith’s University of London and has worked in Film, TV and theatre productions at The Union, Southwark Playhouse, Gatehouse, Wilton's Music Hall and Kings Head Theatres. Ellie is also a Producer and founding member of Mokitagrit Productions and was part of the Stage One Apprenticeship Scheme working at ACT and Headlong.

Co-founded by Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire in 1992, the Ambassador Theatre Group Ltd (ATG) is the largest owner/operator of theatres in the UK with 39 venues, an internationally recognised theatre producer and a leader in theatre ticketing services through ATG Tickets.

Current and recent ATG co-productions include South Pacific, Ghost the Musical, All New People, Matthew Bourne’s The Nutcracker!, Legally Blonde the Musical, Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Misanthrope, West Side Story, Elling, Guys and Dolls, Sweeney Todd, Company, Exit the King and The Rocky Horror Show.