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Bumper Year For West End

Report from BBC London News:

Hit shows like The Sound of Music and Dirty Dancing have helped boost theatre attendance in London's West End.
Ticket revenues in 2006 broke through the £400m barrier for the first time - up nearly 5% from 2005.

Advance ticket sales also reached an unprecedented £57m, more than double that of the previous year.

The Society of London Theatre supplied the figures. President Rosemary Squire said it gave the capital's theatres "great hope" for the future.

Theatre attendances enjoyed an upsurge in the last six months of the year, which saw the opening of Dirty Dancing, Spamalot, Wicked and The Sound of Music.

In total, theatres filled 12,347,153 seats during the year.

Dirty Dancing took £11m in advance ticket sales before it opened in September, while Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Sound of Music was given a boost by the BBC talent show How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? which saw Connie Fisher win the lead role.

Ms Squire said: "At the six month mark, the industry was braced for a very tough 2006 with audience numbers and visitor numbers to London still depressed.

"That the industry has bounced back so spectacularly gives us great hope for the future and a great boost to the London economy."

SOURCE: BBC News
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