Our sector has many reasons to be cheerful, says UK Theatre boss

Cumulative box office income increased by 18% from 2013 to 2016.


The UK’s theatre industry has continued to show growth in the last few years despite the challenging financial climate, new figures have revealed.

The report from UK Theatre shows that cumulative box office income increased by 18% from 2013 to 2016 – the total box office income was £396,912,018 in 2013 and £469,991,837 in 2016.

The growth was thanks to the combination of 4% more tickets being available, 1.3% fuller houses and a 10% increase in the average price paid for a ticket.

Musicals are also going strong, with annual income from the shows increasing by more than £32 million.

Last year, 39p in every £1 taken at the box office was for a musical.

Income for family theatre has also increased significantly, rising by 42%.

Pantomime overtook comedy as the genre that fills the most seats. In 2016, 75% of the available tickets for panto were sold.

However, following growth in both 2014 and 2015, in 2016 plays saw a decrease in total box office income of over £10 million.

UK Theatre president Fiona Allan said: “Our sector has many reasons to be cheerful. This report is a vote of confidence for the industry in challenging times.

“We’re continuing to attract audiences, and as an industry we’re showing remarkable resilience during a time of unprecedented financial pressure.

“These figures demonstrate the vital importance of the arts to the national economy, and show that theatre remains a popular and important part of our cultural life in the UK.”

The report was based on data supplied by UK Theatre member venues, with analysis and commentary from TRG Arts.

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