Tavistock Repertory Guarantors Ltd.

Who, Why, What, When ...?

The formal name of the company that runs the Tower Theatre is Tavistock Repertory Guarantors Ltd. (TRGL) This article explains the background to this arrangement and explains how it came about.

The Tower Theatre Company (TTC) was founded in 1932 in Tavistock Place WC1 and so its original name was the Tavistock Repertory Company (London). In 1952, the leases of two adjacent buildings in Islington were acquired - Canonbury Tower and King Edward's Hall - and the combined premises were christened the Tower Theatre.

The landlords' agents were somewhat sceptical of the ability of any amateur theatrical organisation to meet the obligations that would be imposed on it, and so TRGL was established to stand behind the theatre company, to ensure that the legal obligations of the leases would be met. TRGL was registered as a Limited Company and as a Registered Charity. Each Guarantor committed to contribute up to a maximum of £25 towards these obligations should the company fail as a business operation. So far, no Guarantor has been asked for a penny under these terms. In 1952, £25 was a considerable amount of money for many individuals; a list of around 50 Guarantors was adequate to satisfy the landlords' agents.

This remained the situation until 2015 - the theatre company (TTC) put on all the productions and TRGL negotiated leases and employed staff. But, with no permanent theatre building to look after, the need for two separate organisations had gone away and was an unnecessary administrative complication. So the two were combined. There was already a "Tower Theatre Company" registered at Companies House (it's in Folkestone!) so it was decided to keep TRGL as the formal registered name, but the "trading name" would continue to be the Tower Theatre Company.

Following the new arrangements, all members of TTC are now also members of TRGL. They elect the Board of Trustees at the Annual General Meeting. If the company fails financially, they are still committed to contribute towards any outstanding debts, but the amount of the guarantee has been reduced to £1.

If you would like to see the formal Articles of Association of TRGL, you can download them here.