West End attendance tops 15 million in 2017
London's West End has delivered a record breaking year at the box office for 2017. New figures released by the Society Of London Theatre (SOLT) revealed that total attendance for the year surpassed 15 million for the first time since the organisation began collecting audience data in 1986. Box office revenues also exceeded £700,000,000.
Jonathan Mountford, Managing Director and co-founder of made, said "Despite what was a challenging year, it is extremely positive to see the growth of inbound tourism to the UK mirror the increases at the box office for the West End. The calibre of what London theatre has to offer visitors both domestically and internationally has never been better, and continues to be a key attraction for holiday makers when planning their visit to Great Britain".
Ticket sales were up 5.35% compared to the previous year, no doubt in part thanks to blockbuster shows such as Harry Potter and The Cursed Child currently in its second year at the Palace Theatre and the arrival of the Broadway smash hit Hamilton, now playing at Delfont Mackintosh's newly refurbished Victoria Palace.
The gross revenue across attendances was £705,006,928 (up 9.35% on 2016), generating VAT receipts for the Treasury of £117,501,155. The average ticket price paid was £46.71.
Kenny Wax, President of the Society of London Theatre, said: “The box office figures are a testament to the creative strength of London theatre and cements the city’s status as the world’s theatre capital.
“The industry has many reasons to celebrate but must remain cautious as we look ahead to the rest of 2018. It is heartening to have seen growth in audiences for both plays and musicals, however, the year is a tale of two halves with the industry operating in a tougher climate in the final two quarters.”
Attendance on London's West End continues be stronger compared to Broadway where 13.3 million admissions were reported for the 2016-17 season, Broadway's revenue continues to dominate however, generating total sales of $1.4b (£1.04b).
Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is a not-for-profit organisation representing the London theatre industry.