Contrary to recent high-profile predictions, this summer's Olympic Games will have a positive impact on London's West End, according to those who actually buy theatre tickets – the audience.
In a survey of more than 32,000 theatregoers conducted by Whatsonstage.com, two-thirds of respondents predicted that the Olympics will help to increase London theatre attendances in 2012.
What's more, they mean to do their personal bit to ensure a positive impact on Theatreland, with 70% planning to attend theatre productions as much or more than they usually do during the Olympic and Paralympic period.
And theatre won't be the only beneficiary. Of those respondents who have secured Games tickets, in addition to catching a play or musical, they also have plans during their time in London to: visit museums and galleries (38%), visit other tourist attractions such as the London Eye (37%), attend a music concert (24%) and catch a comedy gig (14%).
As for the respondents who currently believe the Olympics may cause them to reduce their theatregoing, their minds could well still be changed in the run up to the Games through reduced prices on theatre tickets (which would persuade 65% of skeptics), assurance of smooth-running transport (41%), good availability of seats (31%) and celebrity-led casts (18%). Team GB take note: 3% of fair-weather sports fans also said they'd take in more theatre if the country does badly in the Olympics medals board.
Managing and editorial director of Whatsonstage.com Terri Paddock said: "There's been a lot of doom and gloom predicted about what impact the Olympics will have on the West End.
"The results of this Whatsonstage.com survey demonstrate that audiences themselves are much more optimistic and plan to vote with their wallets at the box office. To borrow a line from the Society of London Theatre, theatregoers are telling us they definitely don't want to ‘miss the real show' in London this summer, even while they enjoy the sporting spectacle."
The 12th annual Whatsonstage.com Awards, which culminated in February, also provided the theatre industry with a positive outlook, as a record 70,000 people took part in voting for their favourite productions and performances.
In addition to a wealth of editorial content, features include a transport guide for theatregoers and ticketing (with myriad discounts) for all major London theatre productions booking through the summer 2012 period.
DEDICATED SUMMER 2012 MICROSITE