National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner has said it is “not surprising” that box office figures showing London theatres’ overall sales in 2012 were higher than the year before, despite the Olympics.
The Society of London Theatre revealed this week that Theatreland enjoyed gross sales of £529.8 million – up 0.27% on 2011. Attendances reached 13,992,773 – also up (0.56%) on 2011, but still below levels in 2010 and 2009.
Hytner said: “I think that it’s not surprising that the SOLT figures are up because there was a lot of exciting work [last year]. I think in the end the Olympics was neither here nor there.”
“I was never in the gloom and doom party. I’ve always said it wouldn’t bother us [at the National] and we were looking on it as an opportunity,” he added.
As part of announcing his forthcoming season for 2013, Hytner referred to SOLT’s findings that the National represented 35% of all play going in London last year. He added that the venue’s audiences reached 3.2 million worldwide in 2012.
Hytner also noted the prominence of the subsidised sector in the SOLT report.
Speaking to the press, he said: “It won’t have escaped your notice that a big chunk [of the figures] came from the subsidised sector.”