The UK Theatre Industry - Play Fund Win

The UK Theatre Industry

March 25, 2022

The UK Theatre Industry

Our Business Development Manager for Festivals and Events, Kyle Blythe, assesses the impact of COVID on this British institution.

The UK theatre industry is a cultural backbone to the nation’s arts and culture sector, ranging from home grown grassroots productions to London’s West End. The UK has a rich theatrical history and presence which is globally renowned. For hundreds of years, people from all backgrounds, ages and walks of life have been streaming into playhouses across the UK and are transported into other worlds by the strength of the performances and staging. They form opinions and deep love for the work which goes on within those four walls.

So, when theatres across the UK closed without warning on March 16th, 2020, following the government’s advice to avoid gathering in public buildings, the repercussions for society and theatre-lovers were huge. To the theatres which were forced to close their doors, it was catastrophic. Data shared by London Theatre Reviews revealed that:

– Ticket sales fell by 93% between March 17th and April 22nd 2020, resulting in a 91% drop in revenue.

– 5,000 performances were lost in the following months

– 7.8 million people missed out on live performances in that time

The fallout for those working in theatres and the arts was significant too:

– By March 2021, nearly 40% of theatre and arts workers in London had been made redundant

– Nearly 60% considered quitting the industry altogether because of the impact of the pandemic

– In 2022 The Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre estimated losses for the sector at 230million, excluding freelancers (70% of the theatre workforce is estimated to be freelance)

– 16 theatre organisations reported losses of more than £5m in the last year.

However, the picture isn’t all negative. With COVID restrictions fully lifted in England, and largely removed in the other UK nations, the industry is starting to get back to on its feet.

Theatre represents an important part in people’s lives, a force of nature in its own right. It is doubtless because of this that theatre in the UK has shown its resolve. Despite all the challenges bestowed upon it by COVID, it continues to grow, evolve and diversify. Demand is increasing as the industry is finding new ways to attract and engage wider audiences, whilst also looking for new revenue streams since re-opening. Attendance is strengthening, particularly in London, and the majority of attendees are planning to either maintain or increase their theatre going this year and the next, despite an increase in ticket prices for coveted seats.

Whilst public funding is decreasing, theatres are looking to other sources such as membership schemes and sponsorship to diversify their income sources and reach wider audiences. At the same time, it could be said many theatregoers lack awareness of and understanding around the difference between publicly-funded theatre and commercial theatre.

This is where to me, Play Fund Win as a fundraising platform can provide an ideal solution for UK theatres and production events who don’t receive such funding. Utilising the in-person experience route, our platform is the perfect method for venues to harness fundraising from attendees, whilst being able to offer the incentive of enticing, theatre-based prizes.

At Play Fund Win we can support theatres and performance venues of all sizes, from the grassroots community venues who produce the local productions, to the more prominent venues and groups who want to increase revenue for projects. They are also free to instead opt to raise funds for associated good causes. We offer a variety of different draw types and models, one of which is sure to be a good fit.

To find out more, please contact Kyle Blythe via or call 07837 274 269 for a chat around what we can do to support you or your charity partners in what is a huge year for theatre in this Country

All data sourced via: 


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