Following some recent research we undertook on behalf of MATILDA THE MUSICAL, the RSC has taken the decision to move to an earlier (7pm) weekday start time from September 2018. 

We sent an online survey to our Culture Insights panel, asking West End theatre attenders how they would feel about an earlier start time for a West End show.  71% of all respondents said they would find this option ‘attractive’.  When asked what time they would prefer, 72% selected the earlier 7pm option, whilst only 5% selected 7.30pm, the start time adopted by most West End shows. 

The main reason theatregoers would like an earlier performance time is to ‘enable them to get home earlier’ (56% of respondents). Other reasons cited included ‘preferring not to use public transport too late’ (22%), ‘preferring not to be in central London too late’ (18%), and ‘allowing time to go out after the show’ (14%).  In addition, the research highlighted that many people living out of London are put off attending weekday performances as it can be a struggle to make their last train home; and that many people working in London don’t like having to hang around so long between work ending and the show starting.  Also, parents would be more likely to take their children to a weekday performance if the start/ end time is earlier (68% of parents surveyed).

The research also highlighted an appetite for more matinee performances in the West End, especially during school holidays; and also more shows to offer Sunday performances.

The above results are based on 1,041 responses from West End theatregoers across the UK, via AKA’s Culture Insights survey panel.