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Weak exchange rate has boosted West End box office, says Cameron Mackintosh

Cameron Mackintosh epitomises the typical image of a producer as the commercial entrepreneur. Photo: Chicago Tribune Cameron Mackintosh. Photo: Chicago Tribune
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Cameron Mackintosh has claimed the weak pound has helped West End ticket sales, revealing that last month was the best September he can recall across his seven theatres.

The producer, speaking at the 30th-anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera, said he thought the weak position of sterling, which followed the result of the EU referendum in June, was drawing tourists to the UK.

He highlighted how surprised he was to see so many people in the West End on a Monday night, and added: “It’s the best September I can remember across my theatres.”

September can traditionally be a weak month in the West End, according to annual figures published by the Society of London Theatre.

He continued: “I think there are going to be winners and losers in this, but there is no doubt that the entertainment business and theatre is really benefiting from where the pound is at the moment and visitors saying, ‘We are going to come to London.’ Theatres are really doing well.”

Since the Leave vote in June, many industry figures have expressed concern about the impact Brexit will have on the sector.

MPs have subsequently launched an inquiry into what effect is likely to be on areas such as retaining talent in the industry.

Speaking at the 30th-anniversary celebrations for The Phantom of the Opera, Mackintosh said he felt the show’s success was down to how composer Andrew Lloyd Webber had embellished the work.

“He brought an emotional intensity by his skilful use of all the wonderful themes in the show. He makes the last 30 minutes something that goes beyond its original material. This is a far greater piece than the novella it was based on,” he said.

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