Today the Society of London Theatre announced that for the eighth year in a row box office sales in the West End were at record levels with revenues up 3.1% year-on-year and average attendance up 1.3%.

With total ticket sales worth over half a billion pounds and just under 14 million people attending in 2011, the news has been warmly welcomed by the industry. Richard Howle, aka’s Head of Box Office and Ticketing said:

“The West End remains a real success story for the UK.  These figures are a testament to the strength, quality and talent of London theatre and show that even in difficult financial times millions of people are prepared to spend their hard earned money on world class entertainment.  The increase in average attendance is a reflection not only of the calibre of productions such as War Horse, Jerusalem and Matilda the Musical but also the effort that the industry invests in attracting new audiences through accessible pricing policies and promotions.

There has been much talk recently of the challenges posed to West End Theatre by the Olympics but it also represents a real opportunity to showcase the Best of British to the rest of the world and I look forward to another record breaking, world-beating year.”

Plays saw the biggest increase with revenues up 10% thanks to the sell-out success of productions such as The National Theatre’s War Horse, One Man Two Guvnors and Frankenstein, the return to the West End of Jerusalem, Much Ado about Nothing and Richard III.  Added to this were strong returns from blockbuster musicals Shrek the Musical, Rock of Ages and Matilda the Musical and long established musicals including Jersey Boys and Billy Elliot the Musical.

At £37.70, the average ticket price paid by audiences was at its highest level to date, dispelling fears that an increase in discounts is damaging the industry. This still compares favourably to other ticketed sporting and music events. Due to an increase in VAT, tickets sales in 2011 alone contributed over £88 million to the Exchequer.

For more information please see some of the news coverage that appeared today.


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