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London Theater Ticket Revenue Rises 11 Percent in 2013

The Book of Mormon - Theater - Pantages - H 2012
"The Book of Mormon"

The Society of London Theaters reports another strong year, as stars like Helen Mirren and top musicals including "The Book Of Mormon" pulled in crowds.

LONDON – Ticket revenue and attendance numbers posted by London's leading theaters boomed in 2013, buoyed by star-studded plays and the arrival of high-profile musicals, such as The Book Of Mormon and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, according to official figures on Wednesday.

The Society of London Theater’s 2013 box office figures show overall attendance up 4 percent to 14.6 million, while gross sales of $971 million (£585.5 million) rose 11 percent compared to 2012, generating VAT receipts for the U.K. government treasury department of $162 million (£97.6 million).

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The boost in revenue is largely attributed to a markedly improved 72.7 percent rate of seat capacity achieved across the year, up from the 69.2 percent in 2012, and strong advance sales, which were up by an average of 21 percent, and peaked at over $116 million (£70 million) in December, the Society said.

Despite slightly fewer performances than the previous year, almost 600,000 more people attended the theater in 2013, at an average ticket price of $67 (£40.14).

Greater parity between price asked and price paid also suggests increased demand and a reduction in discounting, both evidence of the growing popularity of London stage fare.

New musicals in 2013 cited as boosting demand include The Book of Mormon at Prince of Wales Theatre, Sam Mendes' production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, The Commitments at Palace Theatre and Once at Phoenix Theatre, which along with other productions helped push attendance at musicals up 3 percent to just north of 8 million.

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Plays also had another strong year, with Helen Mirren treading the boards playing the Queen in The Audience at the Gielgud, while Adrian Lester’s Othello vied with Rory Kinnear’s Iago at the National Theatre.

The Society of London Theater president Mark Rubinstein said: "These figures pay testament to the quality, vibrancy and enduring popularity of the London stage, which, despite a difficult economic climate, continues to pull in the crowds thanks to the world-class entertainment on offer and inclusive pricing structures. With the combined box office advance sales also reaching new heights in December, we are looking forward to another year of success stories for our theaters in 2014."