UK theatregoing wins against football

Published November 2, 2015

More people saw a show at the theatre in the UK last year than watched a live football match in the English Premier League, English Football League and Scottish Premiership combined, a new report shows.

The report, published by UK Theatre, found that 18,029,453 tickets were sold for shows at its member venues around the UK. Combined with a London theatregoing total of 14,744,887 audience members in 2014, British theatres entertained 32.7 million theatregoers, exceeding football’s 32.1million attendees.

The report, which drew its findings from more than 200 venues around the UK, also exposed the impact of touring large-scale family musicals, with productions such as Disney’s The Lion King, Wicked and Shrek The Musical accounting for nearly £1 in every £4 taken at the box office.

Speaking about the report, Rachel Tackley, President of UK Theatre, commented: “The good news from this report is that theatres throughout the UK continue to thrive despite the challenging financial climate. As the 2015 UK Theatre Awards demonstrated, regional theatres continue to produce some of the country’s most exciting theatre despite unprecedented cuts to national and local funding.

“It is great to see the growing popularity of family musicals, which are a fantastic way to reach new audiences, but if we are to maintain our position as world leader in the performing arts we must continue to invest in the companies producing innovative drama, dance and opera. Theatre plays a more crucial role in our communities than ever before and the small investment from national and local government is repaid many times over by the economic, cultural, social and educational benefits it returns.”