A report published by the Society of London Theatre today has revealed that, in 2012/13, London theatre made more money than cinema, and was more popular than Premier League Football.
The London Theatre Report, which is "the first quantitative analysis of the capital's multi-faceted theatre ecology", found that a total of £618.5m was taken at London theatre box offices in 2012/13, and more than 22 million people attended London Theatre performances, 40% more than the 13 million who attended Premier League football matches.
The report has been commissioned by the National Theatre and SOLT and is authored by The Stage editor, Alistair Smith. It analysed data from all 241 professional theatres in London, which have a total capacity of more than 110,000. They range in size from the 30-seater Lord Stanley Pub in Camden to the Hammersmith Apollo, which has a capacity of 3,600.
Looking at ticket prices, the team found that the average price paid for a London theatre ticket in 2012/13 was £27.76, down by more than £1 on a year before. It also found that tickets for Inner London theatres were, on average, more than twice as expensive as Outer London venues.
Commercial West End tickets were on average £36.05, whereas Arts Council NPOs had an average price of £21.24.
The report also looked at employment in London theatres, and found that on average more than 3,000 performers are engaged by London theatres at any one time. A further 6,500 full-time non-performance staff are employed with more than 10,000 part-time and freelance staff on top of that.
It also found that only one in five actors working on the London Fringe are being paid National Minimum Wage or above, from the 22 responses that it got from fringe venues. All full-time staff and performers in the commercial sector were paid over the NMW, with a number of volunteers being employed in the non-commercial sector.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson says of the findings: "London is without doubt the theatre capital of the world. From the bright lights of the West End and our thriving fringe, to the rise of immersive theatre in the unlikeliest of places, the quality, variety and breadth on offer here is unrivalled. Employing thousands and bringing in almost £620 million a year, theatre is also hugely important to our economy."