Olympics could boost London theatres: survey

London: Musical impresario and theatre owner Andrew Lloyd Webber predicted a "bloodbath" for West End stages during this summer`s Olympic Games in London, but a new survey published on Monday suggested the opposite may be true.

Website Whatsonstage.com surveyed more than 32,000 theatre goers and found that two thirds of respondents predicted that the Olympics would help increase London theatre attendances in 2012.

And 70 percent said they planned to attend theatre productions as much or more than they usually did during the Olympics and Paralympics Games which run between July 27 and September 9.

"There`s been a lot of doom and gloom predicted about what impact the Olympics will have on the West End," said Terri Paddock, managing director of Whatsonstage.com.

"The results of this ... survey demonstrate that audiences themselves are much more optimistic and plan to vote with their wallets at the box office."

Lloyd Webber, who owns a string of major West End venues, warned in December that the going would be "very tough" for theatres over the summer and said several shows, which he did not name, would temporarily close.

According to the Society of London Theatre, West End ticket sales rose 3.1 percent to a record of 528 million pounds (USD 826 million) in 2011, although attendances slipped nearly two percent to 13.9 million.

Bureau Report

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