Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Price of top West End show tickets trebles in 10 years

A scene from The Book of Mormon, tickets for which are now £152.25. Photo: Joan Marcus
by -

The West End’s most expensive tickets have reached a new high of £152.25 after The Book of Mormon increased its premium seat prices by 20% from last year’s £127, The Stage’s annual ticketing survey has revealed.

This is more than triple the amount it cost to buy a top-price seat in the West End only 10 years ago, when a record high was reached with a £49 ticket to see The Producers in 2004. Over the same period, house prices in London have increased by around 90%.

The Book of Mormon’s top-price seats (second highest price after premium) have also risen, to £127.25 – almost doubling from when the show opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre just over a year ago.

This corresponds with a 14% decrease in the cheapest musical ticket – this year priced at £12.50 for The Commitments, leading to an overall increase in the average price for the best seat at a West End musical rising 5% to £99.78 compared with last year’s £95.09.

The survey also showed that the average price for the best seat at a commercial West End play has increased from £78.24 in 2013 to £80.45.

However, the most expensive play to see this year – Bring Up the Bodies – was priced at £115, including fees. This was less than last year’s record high price of £127 to see The Audience, starring Helen Mirren.

Producers of Bring up the Bodies – listed as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis, Nick Salmon and Georgia Gatti for Playful Productions, and Tulchin/Bartner Productions – said the show’s premium ticket prices helped to subsidise the lower-priced seats. They added that the show’s most expensive £112.50 ticket was part of a two-tier premium seat system, in which a normal premium ticket cost £92.50. They said it had been introduced for late bookers who wanted to secure a premium ticket when availability on those seats was “very limited”.

Overall, the survey shows that the average price for the most expensive seat at a West End show across the subsidised and commercial sectors – including musicals, plays, opera and dance – has also increased marginally, from £81.05 last year to £81.68.

Although there has been an increase in the average price of the commercial sector’s most expensive seats (£89.72 this year including fees, compared with £87.49 in 2013), the subsidised sector’s most expensive seat including fees is now £55.52 – a drop from £58.18 in 2013. This means that, when the commercial and subsidised sectors in London are looked at together, there has been only a marginal increase in the average price of the most expensive seat (including fees).

At the other end of the scale, the lowest-priced tickets have become cheaper on average in both the subsidised and commercial sectors.

In the commercial West End, the average lowest-price ticket for a show was £21.94. In 2013, it was £22.57 and in 2012 it was £23.85.

Subsidised productions have, on average, seen cheapest tickets come down in price – from £15.75 in 2012 to £15.73 in 2013 and now £15.23 this year.

This has created a trend over the past three years of the average cost for the least expensive ticket across the whole of the West End gradually reducing in cost, by 3% per annum from £21.91 in 2012, to £21.07 in 2013 and £20.36 this year.

Full results can be found in our Ticketing Special 2014 in this week’s edition of The Stage. Get access to the digital edition here

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.