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West End attendance up on pre-lockdown levels

New figures released by the Society of London Theatre saw some big changes

The Sondheim Theatre
© Martino Battista

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT), who oversee the West End, has unveiled some significant post-lockdown statistics for 2022.

Across the year, the first full year of reopening since the lockdowns began in 2020, audience attendance levels were up by 7.21 per cent compared by 2019 – to 16,420,068 from 15,315,773. Capacity during the same period (meaning the number of available seats across the year) was up by 7.9 per cent.

This meant there were fewer "dark weeks" (ie weeks where venues were empty and not welcoming patrons) in 2022 compared to 2019.

Adjusted for inflation, West End revenue was down by 1.1 per cent – though given the turbulence of inflation over the last year there was a nominal revenue increase of 11.6 per cent.

An important point raised by SOLT was that the average ticket price has only risen by £2.21 since 2019 and, adjusted for inflation, this means that there was actually a real-terms fall in average ticket price – from £52.17 to £48.11.

SOLT said the figures were "encouraging" given the long-term impacts from the pandemic, though warned that the same pattern was not being seen across the UK.

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