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The Autumn Leafs

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
The Autumn Leafs#1
Posted: 8/12/09 at 9:16am
For those of you who like your facts and figures.

Society of London Theatre president Nica Burns has urged for caution despite new West End figures revealing that, for the first six months of 2009, box office takings were 3.5% up on 2008?s already record levels.
Burns said that while the results were 'remarkable', she did not expect 2009?s overall takings to improve on the 480.5 million gross box office from last year.
So far, the period of January 1 to July 18, 2009 is like for like 2.5% up in attendance and 3.5% up in box office receipts on the same period last year. The first quarter of 2009 was, in fact, 5% down on 2008, but the second quarter has seen an 8% rise on the equivalent period 12 months before.
The first two weeks of July were particularly strong.
SOLT said that while foreign visitors to London appear to be falling - especially the American market - the results seem to have been boosted by 'UK theatregoers rediscovering the theatre capital of the world as many choose to stay at home rather than holiday abroad'.
This could explain the increase in play attendance, as non-English speaking visitors will tend to visit musicals, rather than plays. Within the six-month figures, plays have performed particularly well, reporting 1.89 million visits, up 19% on the first six months of 2008.
Meanwhile, all of the West End?s large musical houses have hosted secure long-runners or newly arrived shows - 'Oliver!' opened in January at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, while 'Sister Act' began previews at the London Palladium in May, soon after the closure of 'The Sound of Music'.
Long-runners are also posting record takings.
' Wicked' at the Apollo Victoria is like for like 7% up on its box office for the first six months of 2009.
'The Lion King' has recorded a 2.5% increase on attendances and is 'on track to record its highest grossing year to date' since it opened at the Lyceum Theatre nearly a decade ago.
However, Burns told The Stage: 'I'm really not counting on beating last year by the end of this year. The autumn is an unknown quantity. In the autumn,we are dependent on our domestic audience and the question is going to be how many of them are looking at their budgets and spending less on leisure and other non-vital expenses. Is the domestic audience going to be able to afford to come out in the same numbers as last year?
'We haven't got any of the Lord's [Andrew Lloyd Webber's] TV programmes that help stimulate the excitement of the West End and there's no big musical opening this autumn.'
Indeed, the next major musical opening is 'Legally Blonde', which does not begin its run until December at the Savoy, one of the West End's smaller musical houses. Burns said that the first six months of the year had been helped by a number of major musical openings - 'Oliver!', 'Sister Act' and 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' - and a high hit rate for plays such as Jude Law's 'Hamlet', 'Waiting for Godot' with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, 'Calendar Girls', 'Arcadia', 'War Horse' and the Old Vic's Bridge Project.
She added: 'I do think this year is going to be remembered as the year of the play and it's not something you can predict. We all go into the rehearsal room to make great theatre. Sometimes it only comes out as good or very good and occasionally we fall over flat on our faces. What we do as an industry is an imprecise and very difficult thing, which we're very good at in this country.'
The results cover 52 venues across the capital. As well as West End theatres, they include London's major subsidised operations, including the National Theatre, which itself accounts for around 25% of all attendances to plays in London.

Updated On: 8/12/09 at 09:16 AM
Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: The Autumn Leafs#2
Posted: 8/12/09 at 9:34am
Yeah I think new musicals )are going to be thin on the ground for a while (except Love Never Dies). I just cant see any houses opening up anytime soon.
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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
re: The Autumn Leafs#2
Posted: 8/12/09 at 10:37am
Ye, most theatres are booked up till atleast the end of the year. I think in 2010 some musicals will close (La Cage, Grease, Avenue Q, maybe even Chicago, Hairspray and Jersey Boys).

Next year we are getting Ghost and Love Never Dies, and most likely Shrek and Hair.

I don't see what the articles on about to be honest?!?! Most shows appear to be quite stable at the moment.