Olympic challenge for theatre ticket sales

I’d heard anecdotally that theatre ticket sales could be hit because of the Olympics in London. West End sales were down on this time last year, I was told darkly. After all, the thinking goes, people have come to watch sport, not take part in the sport of getting on the Tube in rush hour.

And if usually busy streets look like this:

I’ve never seen Southwark Bridge Road look like this…even when the snow brought London to a standstill

then any potential theatre goers (or, in fact, anything-goers) are obviously staying away, which would seem to back up the fears earlier in the year when some theatres were predicting they would close for the Olympics.

So perhaps we had made the right decision in choosing the dates of our Martini Bond show to avoid the Olympics – yes we are on the week inbetween the Olympics and the Paralympics. I believed the transport chaos theory: that a butterfly would flap its wings half way round the globe and all Londoners would be either stuck on a train, in a car or generally feeling the rage of gridlock.

But when I say globe, I mean The Globe:

And never did the Cyclops’ hammers fall: A handy prop for Shakespeare’s Hamlet outside The Globe in London

If yesterday was anything to go by, The Globe seemed busy to me even if people were definitely not driving into the city…but it didn’t stop me wondering what Shakespeare would have thought of it all, particularly if there was a threat to his takings.

Camden Fringe, meanwhile, issued an email recently to participants, saying that ticket sales are up on last year. That’s right, UP! Mmmmm, perhaps we should have gone for an Olympic week after all? I had been feeling rather smug with myself – our ticket sales had been going well too.

But then a friend helpfully pointed out that with tens of thousands of people descending on the capital, I was missing a business opportunity to boost sales. Maybe we can mop up anyone who is thinking of staying a bit longer in the city once the Men’s 100m final is over. That remains our Olympic challenge.

July 26, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Blogging, Comedy, Comedy writing, Fiction, Humour, Publishing, Theatre, Writing.


  1. Gina replied:

    Love your chaos theory! Yes, good idea to avoid Olympics. Exactly where is the room on our pubic transport system for all our extra visitors…? Mind you, as it seems most mere mortals didn’t get near a ticket the chances are those that did will be helicoptered or limousined in anyway. I think your play is well timed. Besides, Martini Bond doesn’t look like it’s aimed at athletics fans…different audience, darling.

  2. jmmcdowell replied:

    A flood of visitors for an event can mean great numbers for restaurants and hotels, but I don’t think other venues can always “piggyback” themselves. I think you made a good call.

  3. kateshrewsday replied:

    Great post, keeping us bang up-to-date with the situation in London. I particularly enjoyed the Southwark Bridge pic.

    I have no idea how the whole thing will turn out: it’s the eclipse all over again. That was meant to be a huge global event for Cornwall but extortionate prices for accommodation kept the roads clear and handed the whole thing on a plate to Devon. Let us hope the theatres benefit from Olympic tourists who suddenly find they fancy something completely different during their stay here.

  4. 4amWriter replied:

    Definitely a smart move. I agree with JM, that people will think Olympics first and will need food and lodging to go along with it. They won’t feel the need to seek other modes of entertainment.

    • WomanBitesDog replied:

      Yes, I’m beginning to hear that that is the case. Ticket sales are down for shows (I’ve heard this weekend). Shops have shut. People are not going into town! Unless they have Olympics tickets! Still, come on Team GB – hurry up and win the medals so we can go back to normal life!

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