Audiences and box office takings in London's theatreland were up in 2012, despite competing with 'Olympics-mania' throughout the summer.

Although the results were only marginally higher than the previous year, they still defied expectations after many had painted a gloomy picture, with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber predicting a "bloodbath of a summer".

But the Society of London Theatre today said that even though London 2012 had a "dampening" effect on sales, figures for the year as a whole were up.

theatre


Box offices sales set a new record at almost £530 million - up 0.27% on 2011 - and attendances increased to nearly 14 million, an increase of 0.56%.

The Society said new productions such as Top Hat, Sweeney Todd and The Bodyguard, plus ongoing hits like One Man, Two Guvnors and Matilda The Musical had helped.

Although the Olympics had some impact, with venues closing on the night of the opening ceremony and fewer performances being staged in August, the society said more tickets were sold for the first week of the Games than during the 2011 Royal Wedding week.

Audiences for plays - in a year which saw hits such as Constellations and Mark Rylance's Richard III and Twelfth Night - increased by 9% last year, although musicals dropped by 2%.

Society of London Theatre president Mark Rubinstein said: "I am delighted that for the ninth year running we are able to report year-on-year growth in ticket income for London Theatres.

"It is particularly astonishing that we are able to report increasing sales - of over half a billion pounds - for a year that we always knew would have exceptional challenges.

"Against the background of a tough economic climate, London theatre continues to buck the trend, offering dazzling, world-class entertainment, which has audiences from both home and abroad flocking to the West End to catch exciting new productions as well as much-loved long running favourites."

The highest ever attendances were in 2009 when 14.3 million visited London theatres.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson welcomed the figures today and the contribution of the Society Of London Theatre (SOLT) to the Olympic cultural programme.

He said: "The Olympic and Paralympic Games provided a massive boost for London. They attracted visitors from across the globe and raised our city's profile internationally - not only for sport, but also for our cultural attractions, helping to create jobs and increase growth in the cultural sector.

"We were also pleased to be able to work so productively with London's theatres and SOLT on the Olympic cultural programme."

Last year's theatre highlights:

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  • ‘Leaving Planet Earth' And ‘Long Distance Affair', Edinburgh Festival

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/01/edinburgh-festival-review_n_3852176.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Tragedy of Coriolanus, Beijing People's Art Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/08/23/the-tragedy-of-coriolanus_n_3806736.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/matthew-tucker/charlie-chocolate-factory_b_3502220.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW</strong></a>

  • The Cripple of Inishmaan, Noel Coward Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/26/the-cripple-of-inishmaan_n_3465766.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW</strong></a>

  • Sweet Bird of Youth, The Old Vic

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/17/sweet-bird-of-youth_n_3455786.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW</strong></a>

  • Passion Play, Duke of York's Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/09/passion-play-review_n_3412558.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Fallen In Love, The Tower of London

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05/18/fallen-in-love-review-anne-boleyn_n_3298805.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Proof, The Menier Chocolate Factory

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/30/proof-review_n_2955940.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Peter And Alice, Noel Coward Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/26/peter-and-alice-review_n_2956014.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Winslow Boy, The Old Vic

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/22/the-winslow-boy-review_n_2908079.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Audience, Gielgud Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/07/the-audience-review_n_2828362.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Macbeth, Trafalgar Studios

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/26/macbeth-review-james-mcavoy_n_2768388.html"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Desolate Heaven, Theatre503

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/10/desolate-heaven-review_n_2658709.html"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Showstoppers, Royal Albert Hall

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/06/the-showstoppers-review_n_2616047.html"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Old Times, Harold Pinter Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/31/old-times-review-kristin-scott-thomas_n_2594377.html"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Cirque Du Soleil's Kooza, Royal Albert Hall

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/21/cirque-du-soleils-kooza-review_n_2521495.html"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Bodyguard, Adelphi Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/06/the-bodyguard-review_n_2250701.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • We Are Most Amused, Royal Albert Hall

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/28/blackadder-return-review_n_2207930.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Kiss Me Kate, Old Vic

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/27/kiss-me-kate-old-vic-review_n_2201155.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Unleashed, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/24/unleashed-review_n_2184691.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Upstairs Room, King's Head Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/20/the-upstairs-room-review_n_2167940.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Dark Earth And Light Sky, Almeida Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/19/the-dark-earth-and-the-light-sky_n_2161070.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Where The Mangrove Grows, Theatre503

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/12/where-the-mangrove-grows_n_2118923.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Forests, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/07/naked-shakespeare-forests-review_n_2087315.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Uncle Vanya, Vaudeville Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/05/uncle-vanya-review-anna-friel_n_2076358.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Forever Crazy Starring Kelly Brook, Crazy Horse Cabaret

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/02/kelly-brook-cabaret-show-forever-crazy-review_n_2063878.html#slide=1712838"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW</strong></a>

  • Nosferatu, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/31/nosferatu-review_n_2053085.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The River, Royal Court Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/28/the-river-review_n_2036119.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Michael Clark's Company - New Work, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/19/michael-clark-company-new-work-2012-review_n_1984549.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Ding Dong The Wicked, Royal Court Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/10/ding-dong-the-wicked-review_n_1956042.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Second Mrs Tanqueray, Rose Theatre Kingston

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/08/the-second-mrs-tanqueray-review_n_1949503.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Timeless Tales, Christ Church Spitalfields

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/07/timeless-tales-review_n_1946667.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Our Boys, Duchess Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/04/our-boys-review_n_1938732.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Charley's Aunt, Menier Chocolate Factory

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/01/charleys-aunt-review_n_1930941.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • A Chorus of Disapproval, Harold Pinter Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/30/a-chorus-of-disapproval-review_n_1927155.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Let It Be, Prince of Wales Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/24/let-it-be-review-beatlemania-hits-the-west-end_n_1911281.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Mademoiselle Julie, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/20/mademoiselle-julie-review_n_1902105.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Three Sisters, Young Vic

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/13/three-sisters-review-young-vic_n_1882599.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Donmar Warehouse

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/01/philadelphia-here-i-come-review_n_1726879.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Ten Billion, Royal Court Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/18/countdown-to-ten-billion_n_1684762.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • A Doll's House, young Vic

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/10/a-dolls-house-the-young-vic-review_n_1661048.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Land of Giants, Titanic Causeway, Belfast

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/01/land-of-giants-belfast-2012-art-show_n_1641600.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Last of the Haussmans, National Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/20/julie-walters-returns-to-_n_1611164.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Posh, Royal Court Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/17/laura-wade-posh-review_n_1603638.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Gross und Klein, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/14/cate-blanchett-on-stage-gross-und-klein_n_1514595.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>