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Regional theatre audiences drop, report says

Performance numbers and ticket prices rose during 2017

Audience numbers and takings were down across UK theatres in 2017

UK Theatre, the country's leading theatre and performing arts membership organisation, has released sales figures for 2017, showing that while performance numbers were up, there was a significant decline in audience figures.

The report, which details the figures for over 200 theatres across the UK, shows that while the number of performances was up three per cent on the previous year to 44,135, the actual number of tickets sold was down by 1.9 per cent to 18,732,475.

The average ticket price paid by theatregoers increased last year to £25.08, with a total gross take of £469,770,500, down by nearly £2,000,000 on 2016 takings.

Fiona Allan, president of UK Theatre, said: "The overall consistency of these latest figures is testament to the continuing strength and resilience of the UK theatre industry, despite the economic climate.

"While it is fantastic to see more performances around the country, however, it is notable that revenue and attendances haven't also risen. It is too soon to say whether these figures are an anomaly, or whether they may signal a growing disparity between what theatre audiences are able to pay, and the amount theatres now charge.

"If a trend does appear over the next few years, the theatre industry will need to explore ways of operating ever more creatively to retain and grow audiences in a landscape of reduced funding and tough operating costs."

The news comes just days after producers announced the cancellation of a UK tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie, citing lower than expected ticket sales as the reason they were pulling the show.