A Bright Future ends a Long West End Blackout

Feb 2nd, 2012 | By | Category: London News

London may be in the thrall of a crippling recession, but its West End lights are shining brighter than ever according to recent ticket sales for West End plays. The arts have suffered some of the blood thirstiest cuts of the recession, with between 25 – 40% cuts in government funding and grants, a devastating blow to museums, theatres, orchestras and many other arts organisations. Many feared that London, so renowned for its progressive approach to the arts, would suffer a cultural blackout, with only big-ticket shows receiving backing. Some smaller galleries have been hit hard and have had to rely on the philanthropy of private investors, and after a dip in revenue and 146 dark weeks (when the theatres close for installation) in 2011 instead of the usual 85, it seemed London’s theatres could be floundering too.


This dip has now been contributed to the arrival of mega-musicals such as Shrek, The Wizard of Oz, Ghost and Matilda, to the UK with lavish sets, costumes and stage technology, which have taken longer to set up than the West End’s previous shows. It would appear that this gamble, which caused theatre-going numbers to drop from 14,152,230 to 13,915,185, has paid off and the theatres have emerged with triumphant numbers and revenues rising 3.1% to gross £528,375,87. This number is significant because it heralds the importance of the subsidised sector in promoting and improving London arts as an important contributor to the economy and it highlights how popular London theatres still are, which will hopefully encourage new shows and playwrights to receive backing.


The focus of London tourism may have shifted to the Olympics this year, but it is important to provide ongoing support to London’s cultural sector and maintain our reputation as a fantastic destination to view the arts. The arts are an important factor in the £20 billion tourism brings in to the UK and three of London’s museums are in the top-ten of the most visited worldwide. Perhaps with these encouraging numbers, the government and investors will be encouraged to shift their focus back to our well-reputed arts organisations.

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • bodytext
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • NewsVine
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
Tags: ,

Leave Comment