London plays on Shaftesbury Avenue

London theatre attendances top 15 million in 2017

By Robin Johnson, Published February 27, 2018

Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has today announced that 2017 was a record year for the capital’s theatre industry, with attendances topping 15,000,000 for the first time since the organisation began collecting audience data in 1986. Box office revenues also exceeded £700,000,000.

The record year for London theatre was driven by a strong performance in the first two quarters, but also saw a fall in both attendance and revenue in the final quarter of 2017.

There were more theatregoers in attendance last year – 15,094,573, up 5.35% compared to 2016 – with a minor increase in percentage of available seats filled (77.5%, up 0.8% compared to 2016).

The gross revenue across attendances was £705,006,928 (up 9.35% on 2016), generating VAT receipts for the Treasury of £117,501,155. The average ticket price paid was £46.71.

Kenny Wax, President of the Society of London Theatre, said: “The box office figures are a testament to the creative strength of London theatre and cements the city’s status as the world’s theatre capital.

“The industry has many reasons to celebrate but must remain cautious as we look ahead to the rest of 2018. It is heartening to have seen growth in audiences for both plays and musicals, however, the year is a tale of two halves with the industry operating in a tougher climate in the final two quarters.”

Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is a not-for-profit organisation representing the London theatre industry.

SOLT runs the Olivier Awards – British theatre’s most prestigious awards ceremony – which this year takes place on Sunday 8 April at the Royal Albert Hall, with nominations announced next Tuesday (6 March), 12pm on Facebook Live.

SOLT also runs West End LIVE, TKTS, Theatre Tokens, Kids Week and Official London Theatre.

You can book London theatre tickets through us, the official body representing London’s theatrical industry, here.

box office figures society of london theatre