Andrew Lloyd Webber predicts 2012 theatre 'bloodbath'

Andrew Lloyd Webber Lord Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Group owns seven theatres in London

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The Olympics will cause "a bloodbath of a summer" for London theatres in 2012, Andrew Lloyd Webber has predicted.

"Nobody's going to go to the theatre at all," the composer told Radio 4's Today programme, predicting that "most of the theatres in London will shut".

"It's going to be very tough," he said, revealing advance bookings were "about 10%" of their normal level.

Three major musicals, he added, "are not going to play over the Olympics" - but he would not name them.

Lord Lloyd-Webber's Really Useful Group owns seven London theatres which are currently hosting shows including War Horse, Matilda and The Wizard of Oz.

The impresario said "big, big, big hits" like his own The Phantom of the Opera would continue during the Olympics period.

But he said some of his other theatres "will have to" close because of a drop-off in the "ordinary West End tourist audience".

On a brighter note, the 63-year-old said a host of new musicals would arrive in the West End after the conclusion of the 2012 games.

Shows heading into London include a Spice Girls musical, a Bridget Jones stage show and the Tony award-winning The Book of Mormon.

"They've never been so commercially popular," he told BBC arts correspondent Rebecca Jones. "The appetite for musicals is insatiable in a way.

"I don't think I've ever had so many musicals being offered to our theatres in London as there are for the end of next year."

The capital's promotional organisation London and Partners added that 29 shows would be running next summer, with an "unprecedented" number booking through to the autumn.

A spokeswoman said that a whole series of experiences would be on offer next year, including London's "world-beating theatre".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    History has shown repeatedly that tourist attractions in Olympic host cities suffer a decline in business during the Games. Olympic visitors spend all their time either at the venues or at their hotels, and locals are afraid to get out and face the perceived chaos. I doubt that London theaters will get much business from Olympic visitors at all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Strikes me the man is completely London-centric,
    Take a fish out of water, it will suffocate and die. Take the musicals out of London, and the same thing will happen. Perhaps then the whole scene will move on to something newer, and possibly entertaining to the unwashed masses like myself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    Don't quite see this somehow. A trip to the theatre is usually a major part of a trip to London. Perhaps they should try dropping their prices and get more people in. The theatre is now a 'luxury' for many people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    ALW, please don't be too pessimistic! Just reduce your highly inflated ticket prices, booking fees, hidden fees and people, specially overseas visitors, would drop by. Just because there is a good entertainment alternative for Londoners, it should not mean the end of the world to you and your enterprise. Be humble and everything will be alright!

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    There will be a hugh influx of visitors for the Olympics and they will want entertaining in the evening so a massive opportunity for theatres to put EXTRA bums on seats. The only thing keeping them away will be the ridiculous prices charged by West End theatres plus excessive "booking fees". Think outside the box - REDUCE prices for the Olympic period and slash hidden costs.


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