West End Breaks Records

Audiences and box office takings in the West End were up in 2012, despite fears of a collapse in business as a result of the Olympics.

Although the results were only marginally higher than the previous year, they still defied expectations. Andrew Lloyd Webber had predicted a "bloodbath of a summer".

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

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.

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