2006 was a record year for the West End Theatre industry in London on three fronts: number of attendances, ticket revenue, and advance booking revenue.The six months to December saw several high-profile shows open which continue to attract many first time attenders to the West End, vital to theatre’s future health and prosperity.
The record-breaking performance was largely due to an unprecedented period of box office success in the second half of the year.
Figures released by The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) show that total attendances in the major commercial and grant-aided theatres of Central London for 2006 stood at 12,357,153, an increase of 0.48% on the previous record year of 2005.
Total ticket revenues broke through the £400 million mark for the first time, with the final figure of £400,802,809 being 4.78% up on 2005.
The year ended with Advance Ticket Bookings at an unheard-of £57 million, more than double that at the end of 2005.
Among those welcoming the figures will be HM Treasury who last year received record VAT receipts of over £59 million from ticket sales alone. Related industries such as the travel, hotel and restaurant sectors have also benefited from the reinvigorated West End theatre scene.
SOLT President Rosemary Squire said, “At the six month mark, the industry was braced for a very tough 2006 with audience numbers – and in particular visitor numbers to London - still depressed from the difficult days of the previous year.
“That the industry has bounced back so spectacularly gives us great hope for the future – and a great boost to the London economy.”
SOLT Chief Executive Richard Pulford added, “These figures – and in particular those for the last six months – show that there is still an incredible public demand for quality theatre in the West End.”
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