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 86.

    Times are hard everywere mr webber answere look to the retailers and compete in the same manner discounts and special offers I have not heared the boss of tesco or sainsburys say we are going to close major store as we predict poor sales figures get up off the floor man

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    I work for a large subsidised arts organisation and we intend to offer far more events during the Olympics. Surely Andrew could use funds from his foundation (or even his own very deep pockets) to ensure his commerical product remains available. The subsidised sector has bred some very talented artists and creatives, without whom he would possibly not be enjoying the success he luxuriates in now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    If it means fewer musicals then bring it on

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    BBC masters of spin with this headline. Obviously trained by Alistair Campbell

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    This is nonsense. Life in London will go on for most of us that aren't going to the Olympics. They only last 2 weeks! Theatre bookings tail off EVERY summer from locals (we're away) and pick up from tourists (they're in town). So with lots more tourists in town, there will be a large captive market for theatres, surely.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    Dear Mr Webber

    Write decent musicals like Sondheim or Bernstein and then I and many others with grace your theatres.


  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    He should stop overpricing his tickets and whinging. He has a massive opportunity to sell more tickets, but would sooner line his own pockets instead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    This story is probably the first one that hasn't resulted in a slamming of the Games in 2012! Can't the theatres either (a) go on the road with a "minimal set" or (b) charge cost price for tickets - at least you're open - and that'll be a good advert for theatre-land.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

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

    A bloodbath of the luvvie's Oh my god!
    Get over yourself this is insignificant by comparison with what could happen.
    It looks as if normal business activity is going to be gridlocked for the duration of the Olympic's.
    Getting around London even in normal circumstances is a nightmare

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    This is the best headline I have ever read. I was hoping for a minute that we were taking security advice from sir Andrew...

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    Maybe he could put on some shows outside of London for once. There are plenty of theatres in other cities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    Misleading Article title of the year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    When I saw "Lloyd Webber predicts bloodbath" I thought he was talking of more riots in London. I was disgusted to find the man whining about losing a few quid when he has many millions. Andrew Lloyds Bank is showing a lack of understanding of the real world. Some people are starving, and homeless - that's the real tragedy, not theatre-goer numbers maybe possibly perhaps declining for a few weeks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    London will be full, so full that hotels will be able to charge what they want. So there will be a captive audience of people with money and nothing to do while not watching the Olympics - so surely something to capitalise on?. Advance bookings are down because prices are too high. People are biding their time in the hope prices come down and this so-called "news" will reinforce that view.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Most of the monied foreigners will know quality theatre and that it isn't ever going to be found in London. Since most of the normal visitors are unmonied they will not be able to afford the over-inflated tickets in the frst place. You must admit Webber knows his market, even if he doesn't know how to breath life into it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    What's the difference between athletics and theatre?

    -One has participants who are entirely narsissistic, self-worshipping idiots and the other...oh, wait...

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    What a drama queen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    Even more revolutionary - how about dropping theatre ticket prices permanently, not just for the Olympics! I'm sure there are lots of people like me who live outside London and would welcome the opportunity to go to see a West End show. Could also reduce train and hotel prices and watch people flood in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    This is headline news purely because of the title. ALW describes a reduction in demand for threatre as a "blood bath" and people click on the story.
    It should be renamed - Lloyd Webber is upset that he wont make as much money for a few months during 2012. Cry me a river and BBC please find some stories worth publishing.

  • 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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