Spectators flock to London theatres in record numbers in 2013
* Total theatre attendance grows 4 percent in 2013 year-on-year
* Musicals, plays attract 3 percent more spectators
By Julia Fioretti
LONDON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - London theatres attracted a record number of spectators in 2013, posting their biggest yearly increase since 2007, thanks to hit musicals such as "The Book of Mormon" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", box office figures showed on Wednesday.
Productions including plays, musicals, opera and dance brought in over 14 million spectators in 2013, topping the previous record hit in 2009.
Ticket sales rose 11 percent to over half a billion pounds ($830 million) despite there being fewer productions than the previous year, said the Society of London Theatre, which released the figures.
A 73 percent increase in seat capacity and strong advance sales helped attract 600,000 more spectators to musicals, plays and opera.
"I am delighted that we can announce a record year for London theatre attendances as well as a tenth year running of year-on-year growth in ticket income," said Mark Rubinstein, President of the Society of London Theatre.
"These figures pay testament to the quality, vibrancy and enduring popularity of the London stage."
The Society of London Theatre is an organisation representing the 52 major theatres in central London.
The Prince of Wales Theatre put on the hugely successful musical "The Book of Mormon", written by the creators of the U.S.-animated comedy series "South Park".
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," a musical based on the novel by children's author Roald Dahl, twice broke the West End record for the highest reported weekly gross sales, bringing in more than a million pounds in December.
Other popular productions included the comedy "One Man, Two Guvnors", based on a play by Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni, and the political drama "Chimerica" which moved from the Almeida to the West End's Harold Pinter.
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