The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) today announced that London theatre bucked the trend of economic gloom with excellent box office performance in 2010. Strong ticket sales led to record revenues and near-record attendances for the capital’s plays, musicals, opera and dance.

For the seventh year running, total Box Office Revenues posted a new record level at £512,331,808, up 1.46% on a like-for-like basis on 2009 and topping £500 million for the second time ever.

Attendances totaled 14,152,230, 0.79% down on 2009 levels, topping the 14 million mark for only the second time. Like other industries, London theatre was inevitably hit by the poor weather towards the end of the year.

London theatre ticket sales generated VAT receipts for the Treasury of £76,304,737. The year also saw a record number of performances (18,615), and continued success for Plays which saw audiences grow by 2%.

Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty – with an estimated 0.5% contraction in the UK economy in the final quarter of 2010 recently announced – the results reflect the vibrancy of London’s unique mix of commercial and subsidized theatre, as well as ongoing industry investment in new people and product.

Commenting on the figures, Nica Burns, President of the Society of London Theatre said: “Another great year for London theatre. Despite economic woes, volcanic ash, and huge transport disruption notably during our busiest time of the year at Christmas, we have managed our seventh successive year of growth at the box office. A huge range of superb productions ensured that a visit to the theatre was a must-do for large numbers of the public. London theatre is something for everyone to be proud of and is a great ambassador for UK plc.”

Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre, added: “People have voted with their feet again by flocking to London’s theatres. Our customers experience the huge variety of shows that we stage each year, and in these difficult economic times are enjoying the theatre just as much. 2011 promises to be another exciting year for theatre and we look forward to entertaining people again.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Box Office figures are compiled on behalf of the industry by the Society of London Theatre, and relate to the 52 major theatres, both commercial and grant-aided, in Central London.

2010 Key Results (with percentage comparisons to 2009):
Total attendances: 14,152,230 (-0.79%). Previous best year was 2009’s 14,257,922.
Total revenues: £504,765,690 (+1.46%). Previous best year was 2009’s £504,765,690.

2010 attendances and revenue by genre (with percentage comparisons to 2009):
Musicals: Attendances 8,423,430 (-3%) Revenue £324,357,255 (-1%)
Plays: Attendances 3,702,031 (+2%) Revenue £107,099,335 (+10%)
Other (Opera, Dance, Performance pieces, Entertainments): Attendances 2,026,769 (+3%) Revenue £80,875,218 (+3%)

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is the trade association which represents the producers, theatre owners and managers of the 52 major commercial and grant-aided theatres in central London. The organisation exists in order to promote theatregoing, develop audiences, and to serve, protect and promote the interests of those engaged in theatre across London, through activities including The Laurence Olivier Awards, tkts ticket booth, the Official London Theatre guide, Theatre Tokens and the annual promotions Kids Week in the West End and Get Into London Theatre.

The Laurence Olivier Awards: the Society of London Theatre will present the 2011 Olivier Awards on Sunday 13 March at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Release issued by: SOLT press office