London's West End theatres posted record-breaking box office figures in 2011 for the eighth consecutive year, with ticket sales of over £528 million.
Ticket sales hit £528.3 million in 2011, up 3.1 percent on the previous year, according to figures released by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT). This is despite lower attendance figures due to some theatres closing while new shows were set up.
2011 saw a wide range of successful productions in London, from long-running blockbusters like Les Miserables, now in its 26th year, to new crowd-pleasers like The Wizard of Oz and Shrek the Musical. Revenue was further boosted by such critical successes as Frankenstein at the National Theatre, Richard III at the Old Vic and Warhorse at the New London Theatre. The latter is currently booking until February 2013.
The higher than usual number of new productions last year meant that some theatres were closed to the public as set installations took place, which had an effect on overall attendance. The BBC reported that 2011 saw 146 dark weeks, while 2010 saw only 85. However, the average attendance at each performance was up on last year.
Mark Rubinstein, President of the Society of London Theatre, said in a statement: “We are extremely proud that our theatres have yet again gone on to achieve another record-breaking year of sales, with many shows announcing record-breaking runs of their own. Despite the prevailing rigours of the economic climate, theatre-goers have acted with their feet and their wallets and shown just how much they value a trip to one of our world-class shows.”