Theatre News

West End 2019 attendance figures beat Broadway by nearly one million

The Society of London Theatre has published its annual box office figures

Sondheim Theatre in Theatreland
Sondheim Theatre in Theatreland

Attendance in the West End in 2019 was higher than on Broadway by almost one million theatregoers, it was announced today.

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has released 2019 ticket sales data for its member venues, which include all of the commercial West End and London's major subsidised theatres.

The figures also reveal that the 2019 London theatre audience of over 15.3 million was down from over 15.5 million in 2018 – the highest in over 30 years since records began, with hit shows including Hamilton having a major impact on overall ticket sales.

Plays in 2019 saw a nearly 3% rise in attendees while musicals fell by just under 2%, which reflects the fact that some of London's largest musical houses – the Dominion Theatre, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the newly renamed Sondheim Theatre – were dark for a significant proportion of 2019. There were 371 dark weeks in 2019 compared to 207 in 2018, with several venues undertaking extensive refurbishment and renovation projects.

Despite the drop in audience attendance, the gross revenue of almost £800 million for 2019 is the highest on record, with an average ticket price going above £50 for the first time. The number of available seats filled is also higher than 2018, exceeding 80% for the first time.

Kenny Wax, president of SOLT, commented: "These figures demonstrate the buoyancy of London's theatre industry and the city's status as the world's leading theatre destination. Our major theatre owners and producers continue to present world class work, while investing in their historic venues to give audiences the best possible experience."

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