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Dark theatres to lose West End £3,000,000 in a week

An influx of shows closing has caused an unusual quiet to fall on theatreland

The Palace Theatre which will remain closed for three months until Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens
© Ben Hewis

With shows including Miss Saigon, Bend it Like Beckham and War Horse all closing within a week of each other, producers are set to lose up to £400,000 a day in ticket revenues alone as theatres across the capital go dark.

In the week commencing 13 March, six major West End theatres will be empty: The Palace, Prince Edward, Phoenix, Criterion, New London and the Savoy. This leaves approximately 8,000 seats unsold - almost 20 per cent of all seats in the West End - at an average ticket price of £50, producers will have a shortfall of £3,000,000 over a typical eight-performance week.

Several venues won't see shows opening until the middle of April, with an estimated 43,000 seats going unfilled in the typically busy Spring period.

Ryan Woods Head of Sales & Marketing at London Theatre Bookings said: "I don't think there has ever been a point where 20 per cent of the West End has been completely inaccessible.

"Spring can always be a time for change but even looking further ahead, large houses remain empty, the Victoria Palace is due to close for refurbishment and Aladdin doesn't open at the Prince Edward until the end of May. It's very unusual to have this amount of seats just not available.

"However, demand is still there so current West End shows should hopefully reap the rewards of having less competition."

With recent figures from the Society of London Theatre suggesting that theatregoing audiences increased again last year (gross revenue in 2015 was up 1.6 per cent year-on-year), the reason behind the blip can not be aligned with a lack of interest from the public, but rather it seems a shortage of shows to meet the demand of London's theatregoing audience.