The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has announced that last year was a record breaker for the capital’s theatre industry with attendances topping 15 million. 

This is a number reached for the first time since the organisation began collecting audience data in 1986. Box office revenues also exceeded £700 million.

Productions including Wicked, 42nd Street, Les Miserables and The Book of Mormon (and in the latter part of the year, Hamilton), helped boost box office revenues to £705 million, up from the previous year as audiences increased by 5%.

The average ticket price paid came in at £46.71, with more than a third of available seats filled.

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.”

Major openings in 2017 including musicals 42nd Street, Hamilton and Bat Out of Hell. SOLT said a combination of strong performances and a high level of tourism, especially in the first half of the year, contributed to the record figures.

The collected data shows that musicals were attended by almost nine million people, with plays attended by more than four million. Opera, dance, performance and other entertainment saw a slight drop, with almost two million people attending throughout the course of the year.

For further information visit www.solt.co.uk.

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(Photo credit: Matt Crockett).