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West End theatres report attendance dip in 2019, revenues up

West End theatres have reported a fall in attendances in 2019 despite seeing an increase in gross revenue for the 16th consecutive year.

The Society of London Theatres (SOLT) has reported takings of £799m, which was boosted due to hikes in ticket prices, which now sit at an average of more than £50.

The dip in attendances has been attributed to major renovations taking place at the like of Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the newly renamed Sondheim Theatre.

Musicals took a rare attendance hit in 2019 with a fall of 1.8% to £9.3m. However, the genre saw an increase in revenue with takings up by 3.7 % to £522.7m.

SOLT president Kenny Wax told The Stage: “Our major theatre owners and producers continue to present world-class work, while investing in their historic venues to give audiences the best possible experience.

“Audiences remain hungry for a quality live experience, evidenced by the unprecedented percentage of seats filled in 2019.”

He added that the industry continues to offer, “a wide range of affordable tickets”, claiming that more than five million tickets were available in the commercial West End at £40 or less in 2019 and just 1.1% were sold at £150 and above.

SOLT also reported the average price paid increased again in 2019, rising by 5.8% to £52.17.

Image: Andrew Dupont

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