Industry News

West End shows make a scene with expensive tickets

London’s West End shows are becoming increasingly expensive, with the majority of the best seats in the house now costing more than £100.

That’s according to new figures reported by entertainment news publication The Stage in its annual ticketing survey.

While in 2012, not a single seat reached that price, there are now 20 out of 37 commercial shows that mark their top tickets at £100 or more. Exceeding that price tag in the past year were shows The Phantom of the Opera and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – with the priciest seats for both sitting at £125.

In the subsidised and not-for-profit sector, the most expensive ticket average is only £59.80, almost half of its equivalent in commercial theatre at £112.76. Meanwhile, the average top-price ticket across the West End is £98.99, a figure The Stage expects to surpass £100 for the first time in 2018.

Two Sonia Friedman Productions, The Ferryman and The Book of Mormon, notched the most expensive play and musical shows in The Stage’s 2017 survey.

A spokesman told The Stage: “Sonia Friedman Productions continues to be firmly committed to ensuring that, along with higher-priced tickets, there is always a meaningful number of accessibly priced tickets available in advance and on the day for all its productions. To ignore that is to not acknowledge the full picture.

“Each of its productions has its own appropriate position in the market and is constantly responding to changes and demands to ensure it remains both competitive and accessible.”

On the flip side, the cheapest ticket at a West End show now costs an average of £21.38, with 27 productions offering seats at £20 or less.

Mark Guymer, managing director for ticketing at Really Useful Theatre Group, said: “It’s important to note that it is still a very small percentage of tickets that sell at the top prices.

“We should recognise there is a market for those tickets, there are customers that will pay for them if the show is in demand or if they are the best seats in the theatre. By selling those top-end tickets, it allows the producer to maintain those lower price points, which is important for widening theatre audiences.”

Image: Steve Collis