West End ticket prices have doubled since 1995 – SOLT report

West End ticket prices have more than doubled in the last 15 years, according to new figures released by the Society of London Theatre.

SOLT’s Box Office Data Report for 2009 has revealed the “average ticket price asked” for a theatre ticket in London last year was £43.07 – a rise of more than 100% from its 1995 level of £21.36.

According to the report, in the last three years the face value of tickets has risen “considerably faster than in earlier years”.

The average ticket price paid – the amount that audiences actually pay for their tickets – has gone up at a lower rate. It has risen by 77%, from £20 in 1995 to £35.40 in 1999. This would appear to indicate that discounting of tickets has become more prevalent over the period.

However, both are significantly above the increases in retail prices and average earnings over the same period. These have gone up by 45% and 68% respectively between 1995 and 2009.

Explaining the results, the report suggests that “increases in the costs of mounting and marketing theatrical productions, which have generally risen at a considerably higher rate than the Retail Price Index, will obviously be a significant contributor to rising ticket prices”.

The figures cover all theatres in full SOLT membership – both the commercial West End and subsidised venues such as the National Theatre.

*The SOLT Box Office Data Report 2009, written and researched by Richard Andrews, has just been released. The full report is available for purchase at £45 (plus postage & packing) and copies can be ordered from SOLT by calling 020 7557 6700.

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