West End unveils new 2012 campaign

Natalie Woolman

The West End has launched a promotions drive to generate interest in Theatreland during the Olympics and the rest of 2012.

The Society of London Theatre has unveiled a new campaign – Don’t Miss The Real Show in 2012 – to promote shows and special offers.

It follows a warning from the European Tour Operators Association that a slump in group reservations for UK visits during the games could have a negative effect on theatre bookings and a Radio 4 Today programme interview with Andrew Lloyd Webber over Christmas, during which the composer predicted that the Olympics would cause “a bloodbath of a summer” for London venues.

In a statement, SOLT said that it hoped to “maximise opportunities arising from extra visitors” by working with partners including the Mayor’s Office, LOCOG and Transport for London.

As part of the campaign, 2,012 volunteers selected for the Mayor of London’s Games Ambassador Programme are to be given free theatre tickets in January and February so they can experience London theatre, in the hope that they will champion it later in 2012.

SOLT also plans a number of events and promotions, including expanding its annual West End Live and Kids Week events and “early bird” offers during the summer.

Mark Rubinstein, SOLT president, said: “London’s Theatreland enters 2012 in excellent health, with our current Get Into London Theatre promotion already taking more than £1million. However, we are conscious that the year ahead will be uniquely different and present a new set of challenges, which means it may not be an easy year for many of our members. We are working hard to deliver the campaigns, information and infrastructure required to encourage and enable millions to enjoy a night out at one of London’s outstanding shows alongside the excitement of the games and beyond.”

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