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London plays on Shaftesbury Avenue

London plays on Shaftesbury Avenue

London theatre attendances top 15 million in 2017

Robin Johnson

By Robin Johnson Published 27 February 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.


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Due to the current pandemic various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows. Please bear with us as we try to keep this page as up to date as possible. If you find a mistake, please let us know by emailing enquiries@soltukt.co.uk. If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

For more than 40 years, TKTS was our on-the-day theatre ticket box office in Leicester Square. Currently closed due to the current situation, we are now selling our great last minute seats and prices online. Click here to learn more.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.