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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 August, 2005, 05:33 GMT 06:33 UK
West End recovers after attacks
Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe will appear in A Few Good Men later this month
Theatre attendances in London are up on last year despite the recent attacks on the capital, according to experts.

Shows now play to an average of 250,000 people every week, says the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) - up 7% on 2004.

While attendances dropped by 6% on the week of the bombings - largely due to cancelled performances - takings the following week were only 1% down.

"Business has bounced back reasonably well," said David Dobson, managing director of Whatsonstage.com.

"Ticket sales have not been as affected as some people think. The events in the capital do not seem to have been massively impactful."

Increased risk

"Some productions have experienced a downfall in audiences which could be attributed to the bombings," said Richard Pulford, chief executive of SOLT.

The Home Place at the Comedy Theatre has placed early closing notices and will finish two weeks earlier than originally announced.

Tom Courtenay and Derbhle Cotty in The Home Place
Tom Courtenay's The Home Place is closing earlier than planned
"Generally, though, the overall trend is up on last year," Mr Pulford told the BBC News website.

However, security is an issue for theatregoers according to a Whatsonstage.com poll.

72% of respondents say they feel an increased risk in travelling to and from central London.

And 45% believe security measures in most theatres are not tight enough to deal with the current threats.

Actor Rob Lowe told reporters last week that the current situation made him all the more determined to make his London debut in A Few Good Men.

In an interview with Time magazine, the Hollywood star says Prime Minister Tony Blair paid him a visit during rehearsals to thank him for his support.

"I've got my underwear on, and someone says 'You have a visitor'," he is quoted as saying. "Striding toward me I see Tony Blair."

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