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 206.

    Isn't the Olympics only on for two weeks? I'm sure they'll manage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    Did he actually say, "a bloodbath of a summer". If so get a grip Webber. Vist Syria/Libya and find out what a bloodbath of a summer is really like.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    Its not just the Olympics that will take away trade. In 2012 there will generally be less disposable income available and people will e be taking greater care with their money. Business including the arts need to take a long hard luck at their charges to secure bookings. Tough times are ahead and the days of sold out venues are numbered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    Perhaps one or two of these shows might wish to tour during the Olympics - not everyone can get to London for a night out.
    Mr Lloyd Webber and others might be surprised that there are venues outside of London which could actually stage them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    Wonder if the 'bloodbath' will be caused by low flying javelins or ground to air missiles.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    I found this article quite uplifting, actually. When I saw the headline "bloodbath" I thought, crikey, better see what that's about.

    Then I read it was about the theatre, realised it was a typical overexaggeration, and got on with my day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    198.jon_griffey 'what are the attendees going to do for the rest of the day'

    Probably retire to their hotel rooms with a beer or several and watch it on the TV. They are a very particular type of tourist and are likely to stay amongst their 'own'. Those in the know seem to think that it is unlikely they will swell the coffers of other attractions or locations.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    If anyone has not noticed there is a world-wide recession on. The economists predict that 2012 will be worse than 2011. Consequently, the anticipated healthy stream of visitors to London for the games might turn out to be nothing of the sort. This has the potential to be another Montreal 1976. The games they are still paying for!! The blame games will commence shortly after.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    This is complete nonsense. It should be a bonanza for the West End. Don't forget that Olympics tickets are only for a couple of hours - its not as though you have a ticket for the whole day. Once over what are the attendees going to do for the rest of the day? The West End is a world famous attraction and surely a magnet for visitors.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    It is a dog eat dog world

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    It is an elitist form of entertainment for the privileged few. Same with the Olympics - I, like the vast majority of the nation, have to make do with the 'telly' and my cat! Sadly this "Lord's genius" shall have to continue to be denied to the poor and the underprivileged!

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    @174.SalopBaggie - and what will Webber blame it on next year?

    Truth is even stage hands jobs are not secure, and as much as many of us don't like it, it's tough.

    We should be protecting the services we need, the West End is not a service we need.

    But if Webber does have to make cuts he should be investigated - as there is no reason why he should need to given his vast wealth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    July 27 to August 12 - not exactly a long time Mr Weber BUT if one lives on Eaton Sq, one must pay one's bills

    PS just like the HYS on the economy, ALW knows nothing about what it will be really like in 7 months time

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    Perhaps if the extremely wealthy, sycophantic Andrew Lloyd Webber, owning 7 West End theatres wants to mention blood .... perhaps he should front a blood donor campaign that the BBC reported recently, but fail to promote.

    That said, all UK media should promote, free of charge, blood donation and bone marrow ads. I donate blood, but too old for small window of bone marrow donation. Google both.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    theatre audiance and sports audiance are two different beasts.
    cant expect a sports fan to appreciate the insight of theatre, but i can see theatre people visiting the o's, just to be there.
    everyone have fun please. its only an amature sports event. nothing else.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.


    True as I've been told it. I think most of the recent hosts are still in hock for what the games cost them too. Oh joy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    179 brt101
    Ever heard of London Weighting? That 10-20% extra that you get paid over what the rest of us get? That has to come from somewhere. The rest of us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    The theatres will be fine. Not everyone likes lycra.

  • 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 187.

    Every silver lining has a cloud and congratulations to Mr Lloyd-Webber for finding it. But don't you think that the term "bloodbath" is a little, erm, over-dramatic..? Maybe a little selfish, as well?

    Reduce your prices and take the hit for the period of what will undoubtedly be to the benefit of the 99.995% of Britons not raking in the cash in the West End.


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