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Last Updated: Monday, 31 January, 2005, 13:49 GMT
Record year for West End theatres
Lee Evans in The Producers
The Producers has been a big West End hit
London's West End theatres have enjoyed their best ever revenue figures since records began 25 years ago.

According to the Society of London Theatres, almost 12m people attended a West End show in 2004, generating receipts of 341,758,566.

Chief executive Richard Pulford said the figures showed the West End theatre scene was "thriving".

The arrival of big musicals including Mary Poppins and The Producers is credited with pushing up ticket sales.

Plays including the revival of World War I drama Journey's End and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, starring Christian Slater, have also been West End hits.


Overall attendances rose 3% from 2003, although they were just short of the attendance record of 12,064,100 set in 2002.

The majority of these were for musicals, with over 7m attendances in 2004, while just under 3m people attended a play - a 3% rise on 2003 figures.

The remainder of tickets sold - around 1.6m - were for "other entertainment" - including opera, dance, one-man shows, revues and stand-up comedy.

The figures were compiled directly from independently audited box office returns, for the 52 West End theatres that are members of Solt.

"This is an excellent set of figures underlining the West End's position as the vibrant entertainment hub of London," Mr Pulford said.

"The figures confound speculative press stories about declining audiences that appeared duting the year. With a 3% rise in audiences and a 6% rise in income, they also indicate that ticket prices on average rose no more than inflation."

Mr Pulford said the figures conflicted with reports that West End ticket sales were in decline.

"In the nature of things there will always been individual shows that fare less well than others," he said.

"But taken all in all, London theatre production is in good health."

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