BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in:  Entertainment
Front Page 
UK Politics 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 28 February, 2001, 19:32 GMT
West End crisis 'near'
Lloyd Webber (left) and Mackintosh on stage with the cast of musical Cats
Andrew Lloyd Webber (left) and Cameron Mackintosh on stage with the cast of musical Cats
Two of the biggest names in British theatre have said that London's West End is "rapidly approaching a crisis" because the area is run down, with too many transport and crime problems.

Sir Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber - who produce some of the city's biggest shows - said that ticket sales are already down 10-15% compared to last year.

The pair say traffic congestion, poor public transport and fear of street crime are putting people off visiting the West End.

British theatre could be at "crisis point" in three years if their concerns are not addressed, Sir Cameron said.

London is a run-down, exhausted version of what we had in the 20th century

Sir Cameron Mackintosh
"At the moment it is a run-down version of what we had in the 20th century," he said.

"It is exhausted."

People are increasingly looking elsewhere for their entertainment, he added, with theatre not the only sector affected.

"The theatre is just one very visible public element. They are the problems of a city, not of an industry," he told London's Evening Standard newspaper.

The pair said London should follow the lead of New York, whose theatre industry almost collapsed in the 1970s, but is flourishing now thanks to improved transport and a cut in crime levels.

"While New York has got better and better over the last five years, London has gone in the opposite direction," Sir Cameron said.

See also:

12 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Theatres woo young
10 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Jerry's West End curtain call
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Cats eye Chinese stage
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood lends West End its stars
05 Nov 00 | Scotland
Mackintosh blaze cause sought
27 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Spacey backs British theatre
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Entertainment stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Entertainment stories