Year-on-year gains in both B.O. and attendance
Two Guvnors,” the Royal Court had a notably successful season transferring three plays to the West End’s Duke of York’s theater, including Nick Payne’s award-winning “Constellations.” Shakespeare’s Globe transferred its productions of “Richard III” and “Twelfth Night” starring Mark Rylance that together did boffo biz and are still playing at the Apollo theater. Tuners, by contrast, saw a 3% attendance drop to 7,970,042, largely attributable to the relative scarcity of new product. That situation is likely to be reversed in 2013 with the arrivals of the hotly anticipated “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” plus Broadway transfers of “The Book of Mormon,” “Once” and the first London revival of “A Chorus Line” since the original production closed here in 1979 after just three years. Speaking to Variety, SOLT prexy Mark Rubinstein commented, “Ending the year up, with nine continuous years of revenue growth against a background of economic downturn with major high street names closing almost weekly, is wonderful.” Rubinstein is also buoyant about the revenue figures because the average ticket price was reduced this year due to major promotions during the Olympic weeks. Attendance was further boosted by the record success of SOLT’s summer initiative KidsWeek. Thirty-two shows, notably long-runners, took part in a program in which adults take kids free to specific shows. A week long in previous years, it ran for the entire month of August in 2012 and will do so in the future, having sold 129,160 tickets this year. Analyzing trends made plain by the figures, Rubinstein pointed to a significant rise in box office advances, not least for Michael Grandage’s West End season. Looking ahead, he argues that the middle ground is likely to continue to suffer the most. “Strong shows are doing ever stronger business,” he said. “Shows that traditionally have expected to do good but not stellar business are finding it harder to survive. If audiences are going to go to two rather than three shows a year because of the finances, their choices are liable to be more conservative.”
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