Theatre shines at Creative Summit

Published July 31, 2012

Delegates at The Global Business Summit on Creative Content today heard how theatre attracts the same number of visitors each year as football matches in the entire Premiership and Football League combined.

Highlighting the incredible contribution the industry makes to the UK economy, Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre, and theatre impresario Nick Allott spoke to delegates from around the world at the event held at the British Business Embassy. The audience were also treated to a performance from the multi Olivier Award-winning hit Matilda The Musical.

Coinciding with the Olympic Games, delegates heard how London boasts the biggest commercial theatre scene in the world with 14 million visitors and £528 million in ticket sales recorded in 2011. Bird highlighted the impressive statistics in his speech, adding: “Perhaps most importantly, in the relatively small area of the West End in London where the heart of the theatre-world still resides, the overall economic impact is estimated to be in excess of £2.5 billion annually.”

Bird also paid tribute to the subsidised sector, highlighting its impact on this summer’s Games, saying: “The main people involved [in] the Olympics opening ceremony cut their teeth in major subsidised theatre – Danny Boyle at the RSC and the Royal Court, Stephen Daldry at Sheffield theatres and the Royal Court.” Bird concluded his speech saying, “Truly, we can claim in the UK to have the largest, most diverse and most successful theatre scene.  Successful not just in pure economic terms, but also successful in the large volume of jobs that its offers, and successful in the contribution that it continues to offer to our cultural landscape.”

Allott, who is Managing Director of Cameron Mackintosh, the producer behinds hits including Les Misérables, Olivier! and Mary Poppins, echoed Bird’s sentiments, telling the audience the single highest grossing piece of entertainment was not a film, but “the musical play of The Phantom Of The Opera with over $5 billion grossed at the box office, followed closely by the musical play of Les Misérables with $3 billion, and which in its turn will soon be a major movie.”

International visitors to the capital this summer can take advantage of the much-loved British pastime with the West End packed with a huge variety of shows. Visit our Theatre 2012 section for a list of show’s playing and details of our half price and discount TKTS booth in Leicester Square.