2018 Sales Data released by UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT)

2018 Sales Data released by UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT)

UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre (SOLT) have released data for ticket sales across their member venues in 2018.

This is the first time data has been jointly released for the West End and rest of the UK. 

Revealing the resilience of the UK's theatre industry the data shows strong audience and ticket sales figures from SOLT and UK Theatre members, including several new records.

The figures reveal a combined audience of over 34m and ticket revenue of nearly £1.28bn, from a total of 62,945 performances over the course of the year in the West End and across the UK. 

London’s West End theatres drew in audiences totaling over 15.5m last year, resulting in box office revenue of over £765m – both record figures, generating over £127m in VAT for the Treasury. The year saw an increase in the number of performances to 18,708, up 2.8% from 2017. Hit shows including Hamilton had an impact on overall ticket sales in a very strong year for musicals, while plays experienced a dip in attendances and revenue.

Audiences for theatre across the rest of the country topped 18.8m, with a box office of over £509m. Theatres reported a slight increase in attendances, and also number of performances (44,237, up 0.2% from 2017), as well as a rise in income and average ticket price. This was largely due to increased yield at the biggest presenting houses, which bounced back after a small dip in 2017. Smaller producing theatres saw the largest dip in attendance and revenue, falling back in line with previous years after an unusually strong 2017.

2018 UK Theatre Highlights:        

  • Attendances of 18,806,659 (up 0.3% compared to 2017)      
  • Gross revenue of £509,567,967 (up 8.4% compared to 2017)    
  • Average ticket price paid £27.10 (up 8.0% compared to 2017)   
  • 61% of available seats filled
  • 44,237 performances

2018 SOLT Highlights:

  • Attendances of 15,548,154 (up 3.0% compared to 2017)
  • Gross revenue of £765,800,051, (up 8.6% compared to 2017)
  • Average ticket price paid £49.25 (up 5.5% compared to 2017)
  • 77.5% of available seats filled
  • 18,708 performances

Fiona Allan, President of UK Theatre, said:

"2018 was generally a good year for the UK’s theatre sector, which proved robust in a difficult economic climate. London’s West End enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the rest of London and across the nations, with fantastic new writing and revivals originating all over the country and ending up in West End theatres, and West End productions touring the UK." 

Kenny Wax, President of SOLT, said:

"As these figures show, London’s world-leading theatre industry is attracting larger audiences than ever after another record year. Increasingly, people seem to want to invest in high quality cultural experiences, and the West End is benefiting from this trend. We must be cautious heading into 2019, however, as the combined effects of some theatres going dark for renovations, major musicals closing and an uncertain political climate might have an impact in the coming months."


UK Theatre 2018 attendances and revenue by venue type (with percentage comparisons to 2017):

   Venue type 



Main auditoria of larger producing theatres

1,910,930 (+0.8%)

£47,227,161 (+4.8%)


Principally presenting theatres with capacity of over 1000

9,351,676 (+2.8%)

£302,805,026 (+13.1%)


Concert halls

1,695,522 (-2.0%)

£46,836,672 (+4.4%)

Principally presenting theatres with capacity of 500 – 1000

2,874,216 (+0.3%)

£61,248,831 (+1.2%)


Auditoria of principally producing theatres with capacity of over 160

1,747,367 (-9.4%)

£33,821,256 (-2.9%)

Principally presenting theatres with capacity of 200 – 500

599,807 (+1.0%)

£8,583,046 (+3.0%)



SOLT 2018 attendances and revenue by genre (with percentage comparisons to 2017):





9,460,743 (+8.2%)

£503,950,355 (+15%)


4,177,868 (-6.5%)

£167,267,637 (-5.2%)


Other (opera, dance, performance, entertainment)                

1,909,543 (+1.5%)

£94,582,059 (+2.9%)


All percentages in are rounded to one decimal place.

UK Theatre’s Box Office Data is a collation of figures supplied by UK Theatre member venues across the country and collated by TRG Arts. It does not represent 100% of tickets sales in all UK Theatre venues. UK Theatre encourages its venue members to provide sales information, however a few venues do not take part and some venues do not complete returns every week.

SOLT compiles its Box Office Data on behalf of the industry, and they relate to all the major theatres, both commercial and grant-aided, in central London.

Big box office sign (002)

UK Theatre members can login and view all weekly sales data reports here. 

Date Published: 23 January 2019
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