Record-breaking 2013 for London theatre

Published January 28, 2014

More people attended the theatre in 2013 than ever before with a record-breaking 14,587,276 audience members enjoying the wealth of entertainment on offer in London’s Theatreland.

While 2013 boasted fewer performances overall than 2012, an unprecedented 600,000 more people attended a show, each paying an average of £40.14 per ticket leading to record-breaking gross sales of £585,506,455.

With numerous high-profile musicals playing in the West End, including the premiere of Broadway imports The Book Of Mormon and Once, Sam Mendes’ Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and the stage adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s popular The Commitments, musicals once again proved a popular draw with more than eight million people choosing to enjoy the genre.

Plays also had a strong year, with attendance numbers surpassing four million and a rise of 3% from 2012. Undoubtedly adding to the genre’s success, London continued to attract a stellar line-up of performers to its stages in 2013 including stars of the screen Helen Mirren, Judi Dench and Daniel Radcliffe.

As well as successful West End transfers from London’s acclaimed subsidised theatre venues with the likes of the Almeida’s Chimerica sweeping award ceremonies, plays also benefited from the addition of two high-profile seasons with innovative pricing structures from acclaimed directors. Michael Grandage attracted the crowds to his season at the Noël Coward Theatre with tickets from just £10, while Jamie Lloyd enjoyed huge success with his Trafalgar Transformed offering where Monday £15 tickets sold out each week.

The annual figures were revealed today by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), the not-for-profit organisation behind this website.

SOLT’s President Mark Rubinstein described the record-breaking results as paying testament to “the quality, vibrancy and enduring popularity of the London stage which, despite a difficult economic climate, continues to pull in the crowds thanks to the world-class entertainment on offer and inclusive pricing structures.”

The announcement comes in the build-up to this year’s Olivier Awards with MasterCard, which will celebrate 2013’s incredible year of theatre. Public voting is now open for the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award that recognises the many long-running shows that continue to pull in crowds across Theatreland.