West End Ticket Sales Hit New High in 2013
The Society of London Theatre's 2013 Box Office figures, published today (29 January 2014), show record ticket revenue and attendances. Overall attendances increased 4% to 14,587,276 and gross sales of £585,506,455 were up 11% compared to 2012, generating VAT receipts for the Treasury of £97,584,409.
The increase in revenue can be largely attributed to a markedly improved 72.7% seat capacity achieved across the year (increased from 69.21% in 2012) and strong advance sales up by an average of 21%, peaking at over £70 million in December. Despite slightly fewer performances than the previous year, almost 600,000 more people attended theatre in 2013 at an average ticket price of £40.14. Greater parity between price asked and price paid also suggests increased demand and a reduction in discounting, both evidence of the growing popularity of London theatre.
Sales were boosted by several London theatres welcoming major new musicals in 2013 such as The Book of Mormon at Prince of Wales Theatre, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, The Commitments at Palace Theatre and Once at Phoenix Theatre, which along with other productions helped push attendances at musicals up 3% to 8,198,290.
Plays also had another strong year as the star-studded Michael Grandage Company Season pulled in the crowds at the Noël Coward, Helen Mirren proved a big draw playing the Queen in the Audience at the Gielgud, and Adrian Lester's Othello vied with Rory Kinnear's Iago in front of packed houses at the National Theatre. The Almeida's acclaimed productions of Ghosts and Chimerica both enjoyed West End runs, and there was continued success for long-running transfers such as One Man, Two Guvnors and Matilda The Musical.
Mark Rubinstein, President of the Society of London Theatre, said: "I am delighted that we can announce a record year for London theatre attendances as well as a tenth year running of year-on-year growth in ticket income. These figures pay testament to the quality, vibrancy and enduring popularity of the London stage, which, despite a difficult economic climate, continues to pull in the crowds thanks to the world-class entertainment on offer and inclusive pricing structures. With The Combined Box Office advance sales also reaching new heights in December, we are looking forward to another year of success stories for our theatres in 2014."