By Mark Shenton
29 Jan 2013
Though SOLT previously stated that the Olympics had a dampening effect on sales over the period in which they were held, with attendance down nine percent in that quarter, the combined box offices of its member theatres have seen both ticket revenues and attendance figures slightly up compared to 2011.
London producers, unlike their New York counterparts, do not release weekly figures for each show, but the combined tallies for last year saw gross sales of £529,787,692, up 0.27 percent on the previous year's £528,375,874, with attendances of 13,992,773, up 0.56 percent on the previous year's 13,915,185. Attendance at musicals comprised 7,970,042, whereas plays drew audiences of 4,113,019. The remainder of the audience of 1,909,712 saw opera, dance, performance pieces and events labelled "entertainment."
Plays had a particularly strong year, with the audiences for 2012 up nine percent on the previous year. In a press statement, Mark Rubinstein, President of the Society of London Theatre, said, "I am delighted that for the 9th year running we are able to report year-on-year growth in ticket income for London Theatres. It is particularly astonishing that we are able to report increasing sales – of over half a billion pounds – for a year that we always knew would have exceptional challenges. Against the background of a tough economic climate, London theatre continues to buck the trend, offering dazzling, world-class entertainment, which has audiences from both home and abroad flocking to the West End to catch exciting new productions as well as much-loved long running favorites. With the combined box office advance sales breaking new records we are looking forward to another year of success stories for our theatres."