London Theatre attendances top 15,000,000 for the first time



Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has 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 noticeable for a fall in both attendance and revenue in the final quarter of 2017.

2017 highlights:

  • Attendances of 15,094,573 (up 5.35% compared to 2016)
  • Gross revenue of £705,006,928, (up 9.35% compared to 2016)
  • Average ticket price paid £46.71
  • Sales generated VAT receipts for the Treasury of £117,501,155
  • 77.5% of available seats filled (up 0.8% compared to 2016)

Kenny WaxPresident 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.”

Comparative table of London theatre attendances and revenues 1986–2017:

Data compiled from all theatres in full membership of the Society of London Theatre

Available to download below:

theatre att and rev 1986-2017

2017: Attendances and Revenue by Genre (with percentage comparisons to 2016):

Musicals: Attendance 8,744,590 (+8%). Revenue £436,611,108 (+9%)

Plays: Attendance 4,468,105 (+7%). Revenue £176,436,089 (+16%)

Other (Opera, Dance, Performance, Entertainment): Attendance 1,881,878 (-7%). Revenue £91,959,731 (+1%)

SOLT will announce the nominees for The Olivier Awards 2018 with Mastercard, on Tuesday 6 March.  For more information visit